top of page

Using Design Thinking & Lean Startup frameworks to drive the two outcomes that matter most to early-stage startups: growing sales and raising funding. 
* Lift Off is free for Stellenbosch University technology transfer, students and alumni. Spaces limited. 

Africa's leading early stage startup growth program

Built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, this outcomes-based 8-week program utilises a tested entrepreneurial learning journey to answer the most critical 'How Might We' question for each startup. It is built to get results. Fast. 


Lift Off culminates with a closed door demo day in which teams may receive up to $25,000 of funding from SU LaunchLab or a close knit group of angel and institutional funders.


Select teams may also receive fast-tracked admittance into later stage business builder programs such as ResNova, Ignite or ClimateLab. 

Solving a critical
'How Might We' question
to drive growth & fundraising 

Every startup needs to define, attack and solve the most high priority item keeping them from achieving explosive growth. Design Thinking is the foundation to do so while Lean Startup provides the framework for testing and learning. 

  • How might we determine if this PhD or IP is a commercially viable startup idea?

  • How might we determine the cost necessary to validate or nullify a startup hypothesis? 

  • How might we determine our ideal monopoly customer to make a first sale or grow revenue?

  • How might we go deeper within a defined sales channel to drive sales growth?

  • How might we launch a new product within a tangential customer segment?

  • How might we explore market expansion based on a semi-defined business model?

  • How might we validate a hypothesis in order to bootstrap or raise angel funding? 

  • How might we grow sales in order to raise pre-seed, seed or series A funding?

Pan-African startup with a coachable team and big dreams to change the world

Bootstrapped or pre-seed funded

Ideal Lift Off
startup profile

Full time team committed to learning

Ability to commit 10 hours per week to working on their business

Looking to
grow sales
or raise funding

Focused on breaking through a barrier within the business

Image by Med Badr  Chemmaoui


  • Experiential understanding of the optimal ways to build high impact startups by utilising Design Thinking and Lean Startup methodologies. 

  • Key hypotheses to test in order to move forward in the startup journey as well as the budget to test them. 

  • Market map defining ideal early adopter and monopoly customer segments with accompanying customer discovery pipeline and interview questions.

  • Professional customer discovery & empathy building training helping teams to get out of the building. 

  • Opportunity to build and test products with customers, iterate, re-test and make sales. 

  • Pitch deck professionally updated by a preferred SU LaunchLab branding expert with the information and storytelling necessary to compete in the global marketplace.

  • Pitch training to help teams grow their networks and ambassadors.

  • Demo Day with connections to commercial partners, investors and potential ambassadors.

  • $25,000 of AWS credits for use within the business.

  • Access to curated 1:1 mentors to offer up to 3-months of free post-program support. 

Program Details
Program Cost
Cohort 1 2023
Applications Close

$2,000 USD * 

4 April - 10 June 2023

15 March 2023 

* SU LaunchLab wants to work with the best and most eager entrepreneurs across Africa. We know some teams have more funding than others. We are willing to discuss pricing terms and options with all teams in order to find a win-win solution. 

Lift Off
Business Builder Team 

Josh Romisher

CEO, SU LaunchLab

Serial entrepreneur with successful 0 to 1 ventures across USA & Africa. Former African startup CFO directly responsible for raising over $300M USD of funding on the continent. Mission to create impact at scale at the intersection of social and for-profit.  


Leana Kotze

USL Director, Lift Off support 

Accomplished litigation attorney that pivoted into startup life after business school. A deep passion for empathetically working with early stage founders providing them the skills and safe place to get out of the building and turn customer insights into product sales. 


Daniel Maloba

Early Stage Business Builder Lead

Stellenbosch University engineer with the hustle that comes from being born in the DRC. Passion for early stage business building with deep experience assisting student entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable commercial ventures. 

Ready to build?

bottom of page