Two entrepreneurs who have been supported by the University of South Wales (USW) to grow their businesses have secured a coveted place on a new accelerator programme funded by the Welsh Government.
The scheme aims to help entrepreneurs overcome the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic while championing diversity across the Welsh business start-up landscape.
Dr Youmna Mouhamad, a Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) Research Fellow at USW, and Ranjit Ghoshal, member of the University’s Startup Stwidio, are two of 23 entrepreneurs to be invited onto the programme.
Youmna is the founder Myana Naturals, a detangling technology for black women with natural afro hair, while Ranjit founded One Million Steps, a web and app package for charities or businesses to launch health and well-being fundraising challenges.
The business founders beat entrepreneurs from across Wales to secure a place on the 12-week immersive Excelerator Programme, which will see people from under-represented groups receive help to launch and grow their business idea or scale an existing business.
The virtual programme will include a series of expert masterclasses for founders, as well as mentorship and professional coaching from business start-up and scaleup experts. It is being delivered as part of the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
The Excelerator Programme will take entrepreneurs on a step-by-step journey from business idea to paying customers and a sustainable business model. It will also support participants to develop their core business skills and a ‘success mindset’.
Youmna said she is looking forward to taking part in the Excelerator Programme:
“I am so honoured to have been chosen to be part of this Programme. I know that having a good idea is one thing while turning that idea into a high-growth business is another challenge altogether. I believe that access to experts in this field will really help me take my company to the next level and I can’t wait to start learning and putting my new skills into action.”
Ranjit added: “Being on the Excelerator is not just about business development, it's about meeting fellow travellers and like-minded souls. I get the chance to fine-tune my business model, but critically The Excelerator Programme helps build a network of collaborators; to drive the business forward with support, now or when the time is right."