As you may have already heard, we were amazed and even slightly overwhelmed to have received over 400+ applications to the Threads accelerator program from all over South Africa. From jewelry designers and luxury shoe brands to modest wear… We were quite frankly astonished to see all the talent our country had to offer and realized by this outstanding number just how relevant our program is within the wider South African fashion context.
In the end, we had to choose 12 finalists to enter the program, and honestly, this was no easy task for our review committee.
Many have asked us how did they stand out from the crowd?
Beyond their entrepreneurial skills, drive and undeniable passion for the fashion business, these entrepreneurs scored the best in both our 4-page online application process and in our day-long bootcamps, within which each section of the bootcamp was graded by 6 individual review committee members.
The competition was terrifically fierce, but we’re thrilled to present our 12 finalists for the Threads Accelerator programme, which kicked off on the 24th of October.
Our entrepreneurs gave us a good feeling for the diversity of the South African fashion aesthetic - from designers of maternity wear, modest wear and luxury women ranges, to belts and handbag design houses and denim wear designers.
What do they all have in common? They are each running fashion businesses with enormous potential to become major industry power players.
Why did we create Threads – Stitched by Standard Bank?
To support up-and-coming fashion entrepreneurs in transforming their growing businesses into powerful, profitable, globally competitive fashion brands.
A word from our co-founder, Tania Habimana: “Selecting the finalists from the deluge of entries we received was thrilling and somewhat overwhelming – we really had our work cut out for us in whittling the list down to the final 12”.
“The creativity in the South African fashion industry is world class - all that these entrepreneurs really need is the vital sales, administrative, financial, and marketing rigor that’ll take their businesses to the next level. We at Threads, alongside with our sponsor Standard Bank, and partner Mercedes-Benz, cannot wait to commence this journey with these very deserving entrepreneurs.”
Meet the 12 entrepreneurs of Threads – Stitched by Standard Bank accelerator programme:
Thabo Makhetha of Thabo Makhetha an African luxury brand, well known for her Basotho blanket “Kobo” creations, the brand’s Classic Starburst piece, was nominated for the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2016(MBOISA) at the Design Indaba.
Jacqueline Munsami of JSE Couture – a Durban based fashion house that has three lines, Jacqui Emmanuel Couture, Jacqui Emmanuel Pret n’ Porter and Emmanuel Sportsluxe. Their prints are exclusive to their label, as are their laser cuts, embroidery and embossing.
Lyndall Moodley of Hannah Grace Maternity, a Durban based maternity wear designed to provide expectant and nursing mothers with comfortable, affordable and versatile clothing.
What’s Threads curriculum about?
For the curriculum we turned to the e4 Impact Foundation, an initiative of the Universita Cattolica of Milan, which focuses on impact entrepreneurship and created together the content for the Threads programme. This covers a wide range of topics from business operations, financing and retaining employees, lean manufacturing, eCommerce and specialized procurement methods to marketing and much more.
What happens after the 12 weeks?
Well, by the end of the programme we our fashion entrepreneurs will be equipped with a solid pack of knowledge, based on which we expect them to present their new business models to our panel of judges: businesswoman Basetsana Kumalo, branding guru Timothy Maurice Webster, creative Jackie Burger, CEO of online retailer Spree, Vincent Hoogduijin, and Maxhosa fashion designer Laduma Ngxokolo.
What’s in it for the WINNER?
The winning entrepreneur, will receive a package of prizes designed to set them up for taking their business to the NEXT LEVEL – a Mercedes-Benz ambassadorship, which means they will be driving a brand new Mercedes for a year-long period, a Standard Bank curated SME start-up pack, and international trade trip to Europe, where they’ll present their businesses to wholesale buyers and retailers and attend industry trade fairs.
THREADS IS ON!