Silverleaf Investments is looking for high-growth opportunities in the cannabis small and medium enterprise sector and has developed an innovative three month support programme for entrepreneurs that combines financial assistance and skills development.
Silverleaf Investments has launched an “accelerator programme” targeting cannabis start-ups to help them get on their feet.
The company, South Africa’s first dedicated cannabis investment firm, says its High Impact Business Accelerator is designed to “identify, attract, and build a continuous pipeline in which to invest in the cannabis sector”.
Silverleaf’s strategy is to match a new generation of investors with sound investment opportunities in the cannabis industry, and this is where the “Accelerator” comes into play.
Silverleaf has attracted investor interest through an Eco-Equities IPO and recently launched a cannabis crowd-funding platform called GoGetta, but has had something of a dilemma as to where to put the cash raised.
Silverleaf CEO Darryl Weisz has told Cannabiz Africa recently that Silverleaf has had over 200 applications for funding yet few made the grade as potentially sustainable businesses. This is partly why Silverleaf has put in place the programme, which is basically an 'opportunity on steroids' to put together a proper business plan for cannabis start-ups.
Weisz says the programme is designed to “match the realities of the local cannabis entrepreneurial ecosystem through meeting SMEs where they are at, and then cultivating sustainable growth through a focused three month facilitated programme.”
This is significant because it has also created a new partnership between Silverleaf and skills development company Cheeba Africa. The three-month programme will involve weekly sessions at Cheeba’s Cannabis Academy and will focus on business skills, including advice on finance, marketing, legal and compliance awareness.
The company continues to apply stringent criteria as to who it’s going to back. To qualify for funding applicants must:
• be registered;
• have at least six months of revenue generation;
• have a company valuation of at least R2,5 million;
• sign the engagement letter which sets out all the terms and conditions for participation in the ‘Accelerator’;
• have founders who work exclusively within their business with no outside business interests;
• be operating within the Silverleaf Investments targeted focus areas which would include businesses allied to the Cannabis industry
• be legally compliant with relevant certifications
In return, Silverleaf is willing to put up to R500 000 in funding, and wants a stake of 20% equity for its 3 000-plus investors who want to get a foot into “sustainable” cannabis businesses.
Weisz says Silverleaf is looking at all trigger points across the value chain and stresses that cannabis investors should be in it for the long-haul as the regulatory environment may take years to open up.