Written & Interviewed by Sophie Cooper
Enter Nzilani Kaunda:
Manager of our Pre-Accelerator program, who shares her past experiences with start-ups and how that translates into supporting our Pre-Accelerator cohort of June 2020.
So what? If you're currently a part of our Pre-Accelerator community, you're essentially tapping into many opportunities that Nzilani's made possible. She's been working behind the scenes to onboard key speakers and curate noteworthy content; making sure you're in for a learning curve! We think you should get to know her better, so that you can ask better questions and tap into her experiences during your 4 weeks with her.
If you are not a part of the current cohort, we've just opened up registration for our August intake.
"In 2019, I gained a master’s in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship from LSE, where I honed my expertise in understanding and solving social problems through entrepreneurship, creating actionable business models and venture capital investing. Back in Kenya, I also worked with IBM Research to transform government processes and laws to improve the ease of doing business. I also worked in corporate training before deciding to move to the start up world.
On the accelerator side, I worked at Transformation Business Network East Africa, where I helped design and run their flagship accelerator program focused on scaling purpose-driven businesses. Here, I worked with industry experts to support entrepreneurs in developing scalable and investable businesses."
Q1: What’s your role at SeedReady?
Nzilani: I manage our pre-accelerator, including organising the structure and content of the programme, scheduling sessions, communicating with experts who will deliver some sessions and ensuring that it's running smoothly.
Q2: It's interesting seeing your range of work within founder/ entrepreneur communities. Tell us about your experiences.
Nzilani: I did my undergrad dissertation on understanding the gaps between social entrepreneurs and impact investors in Kenya. One of the things that stood out was how much entrepreneurs wanted training and technical support to help them grow their businesses. I decided I wanted to meet this need.
Fast-forward to 2017, I started working at an accelerator in Nairobi which focused on preparing businesses for investment. I loved it and really enjoyed interacting with entrepreneurs, helping them, learning from them and being inspired! They are amazing people! I moved to the UK in 2018 to do my master’s in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and now I'm supporting businesses both in UK and Africa.
Q3: Why did you decide to lead this Pre-Accelerator?
Nzilani: There's an African proverb that says "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
We're building a community of entrepreneurs who we believe will shape the world through their innovations. We want them to succeed and to do that, they need community and guidance. As we share start up fundamentals, founders can get the skills they need to start the journey on the right footing, and they will have a crowd of supporters cheering them on along the way. In Africa, we say it takes a village to raise a child. I think every start up is like a child, and we're creating that supportive village.
Nzilani's a part of the organising team of our Pre-Accelerator. It is a free, 4-week programme for aspiring or new founders, supporting them in building their pitch and strategy to start faster, and better.
We've opened registrations for our August intake, closing 24th July 2020. See you there!