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Countdown Business Builder Lead

Stellenbosch University LaunchLab (“SU LL”) is Africa’s leading University Business Builder focused on transforming seemingly impossible ideas into world shaping businesses. Focusing on the 0 to 1 journey for early stage ventures allows SU LL to build the next generation of high impact, sustainable companies across University Technology Transfer, Climate, Agri and Health. Over 250 companies have come through our programs resulting in over $30M USD of funds raised, $32M of annual revenue and 250+ jobs created. 


Countdown is SU LL’s flagship early stage business building program. Over 50 companies have been selected to complete the intensive 8-week program resulting in increased sales, access to funding and a market tested business plan. SU LL is now scaling this program to include diverse pre-seed and seed stage startups from across Africa. The Countdown Program Lead will work directly with the CEO to create the expansion strategy, locate and select cohorts, strengthen the curriculum and grow the investor network.  The Lead will be responsible for making Countdown Africa’s leading early stage business building program. 


The ideal candidate will have the following characteristics:

  • 10+ years of  entrepreneurial experience in the ideation to pre-Series A segment of business building. 

  • Proven track record of starting, funding, growing and, ideally, exiting African startups.

  • Deep empathy for the unique path of the early stage entrepreneur with a true passion to help that person make creative mistakes in a supportive environment. 

  • Extensive Pan-African network of startups, investors, commercial  partners and other key stakeholders.

  • Ability to facilitate cohort sessions in an inspiring, pragmatic manner.

  • Hunger to work directly with early stage startups assisting them to conduct customer discovery, build financial / pricing models, test hypotheses, close a first sale and begin raising growth equity.

  • Passion to transform seemingly impossible ideas into world shaping startups in Africa by Africa for Africa. 


The candidate will join a 10+ person team of dedicated professionals eager to make positive change across Africa in a scalable manner. They will be expected to not only live but grow our core values: entrepreneur’n ain’t easy, world shaping = world class, make a plan, bold and brave communication, embrace the BOOyah. Lastly, they will become a critical member of a fast growing community that includes universities across Africa, development partners, Pan-African entrepreneurs, global investors and environmental activists the world over. 


Role Specifics

Position: Countdown Program Lead

Role: Full Time Employment 

Reporting: Reports directly to CEO

Fixed Salary: R40-60k per month 

Variable Salary: Incentive Package including quarterly bonus, annual profit sharing & payouts based on liquidity events of portfolio companies 

Location: HQ in Stellenbosch, SA but can live throughout the Western Cape 

Work Setup: 2 days per week in the office 

Work Remote: Up to 30 days per year 

Timing: 1 March 2022 or earlier 


Duties & Responsibilities: 

  • Work directly with the CEO to grow the award winning program to reach a defined audience of high impact, high potential startups from across the continent. 

  • Develop a growth strategy to locate, contact, vet and sign up to 50 startups per year. 

  • Assist in building Africa’s leading early stage business building curriculum.

  • Facilitate cohort, entrepreneurial development, mentoring and expert sessions. 

  • Locate mission aligned investors with appropriate mandates to serve not only as financial capital but also mentor support for startups

  • Work directly with startups to generate a market tested business plan including target market, customer discovery insights, sales pipeline, 12 month budget and funding options. 

  • Assist CEO in selecting cohort companies for investment from the SU LL balance sheet. 


Qualifications & Skill Requirements:

  • Bachelor degree a must; advanced degree holds great value (MBA, CFA, CIMA, Six Sigma, MsC, etc).

  • 10+ years of entrepreneurial experience in idea to pre-series A startups is a must. 

  • Experience teaching and applying startup principles such as Design Thinking, Lean Startup, etc to broad audiences.

  • Experience interacting and managing senior executives, C-Level clients, etc. 

  • Ability to perform research into a market detailing trends, opportunities, challenges, etc. 

  • Comfort in utilising both qualitative and quantitative techniques to collect and report on market research & testing experiments to test hypotheses. 

  • Experience in a startup environment; excited by ambiguity, self-starter, intellectually curious.

  • Proven track record of owning projects from start to finish with minimal oversight.

  • Excellent communication & critical thinking skills. 

  • Creative, out of the box thinker that isn’t afraid to try new things, test, iterate & learn.

  • Proven passion for driving entrepreneurism amongst specific target segments.


In order to apply, please submit the following information:

  • Curriculum Vitae

  • Video of 60 seconds or less discussing your ‘why’ for wanting to work at SU LaunchLab

  • Motivation Letter of 250 words or less discussing your experience and key learnings from working at idea to pre-series A startups. 


Let’s transform seemingly impossible into world shaping together.

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