Venture Incubation Program

A space to call home for lean startups


The Venture Incubation Program (VIP) is a keystone initiative that is designed to help entrepreneurial teams to test and validate their business models. The early stages of a startup are full of questions and unknowns. Who is my customer? What can I do for my customer? How does my customer acquire my product? How do I make money? How do I scale? VIP aims to help founders answer these questions and identify and validate the foundational assumptions of their business model.

The 12-week, mentor-led program combines mentorship, workshops and a community of startups to create a holistic approach to testing and validating a business model.

Run on a bi-annual basis, the program selects 10 startups based on a few key criteria.

  • Stage of idea
  • Market research conducted
  • Team ability and commitment
  • Investment potential

The program is based on lean methodologies of testing and validating the business model. The lean model teaches entrepreneurs to shorten the development cycle, effectively allowing them to minimise the use of resources and maximise their models chances of success.

Additionally, participants have access to a range of resources (co-working space, private workshops, mentor-matching programme, weekly check-ins and staff advisors), and a community of peers who learn and grow together.


We run VIP twice a year, in the summer and winter terms. Key dates for each application process are given below.

VIP Winter School Applications

  • Applications released: 4 May 2017
  • Applications due: 1 June 2017
  • Decisions announced: early July
  • Venture Incubation Program: 1 September - 30 November 2017

Apply here


Once your application has been submitted online, our VIP committee will evaluate your application and produce a shortlist of founders to attend the ½ day pre-selection boot camp, taking place on 23 June 2017.

Based on the bootcamp, the VIP selection committee will produce a shortlist of founders to give a 5 minute pitch to our selection committee, on 30 June 2017.

Communication will be made to those selected for the program in early July 2017.


Startups selected for the program are able to demonstrate the following:

  • Initial concept demonstrates deep and intimate understanding of problem and market need/opportunity
  • A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) ready to conduct early-market testing and further establish product/market fit
  • Team has the right balance of skills/ability to build, test and deliver
  • Founder must be the lead participant and attend on full-time basis (present at the Solution Space 30+hrs/week during the 12 week program)
  • Entrepreneurs are hungry, committed, disciplined, doers, and coachable
  • A desire to help other teams and contribute to the community as a whole


A hybrid between an incubator and an accelerator, VIP provides a select cohort of startups with a wide range of services and expertise at the value of approximately R300k!

  • Advice from seasoned entrepreneur, investor, mentor
  • Mentors, one-on-one support and guidance from seasoned entrepreneurs
  • Co-working space
  • Skills development from best business school in Africa
  • Know-how, networks and new business opportunities
  • Advisory Services Specialist expertise, e.g. Legal, HR, Digital, Venture Capital
  • Access to Funding
  • Networks Introduction to industry contacts, partners and our alumni
  • Exposure and Recognition
  • Company profiles, media releases and association with the GSB


Have further questions? Here's where to look for the answers.

How long is VIP?

  • 3 months

Do I need to participate in the full program?

  • If you are accepted to participate in the VIP, we will ask that you attend the VIP in its entirety.

What does a typical week look like?

  • Monday weekly check in or a masterclass
  • One-on-one sessions with mentors scheduled depending on their availability
  • Lunchtime or early evening events during the month

How much does it cost?

  • There is currently no fee for the program.

Does VIP take equity?

  • The Venture Incubation Program takes no equity, and there are no restrictions on participating in other incubator/accelerator programs.

Who decides the final participants?

  • The competitive process for team selection is done by our selection committee and a panel of expert evaluators.


This program literally saved us hundreds of thousands of Rands we were about to spend on something that we didn't need - Mygrow

Not only did we grow as a company, we also have found new confidence in what we are doing and the direction of Utyre" - Utyre




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