Raizcorp: Planting the Seeds for Entrepreneurial Growth and Prosperity Teaching Note
Dr Thabo Mosala and Claire Beswick
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Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand
Raizcorp was a South African business incubator founded by Allon Raiz in 2000. The company, which was the only privately held, unfunded, profit-making incubator in South Africa, provided a variety of business support programmes aimed at guiding individual entrepreneurs to profitability. By 2012, Raizcorp had established itself as one of Africa’s leading business incubators, supporting around 300 companies throughout South Africa, with an average 86% success rate. Raizcorp had developed a rigorous eight-step selection process through which it chose its entrepreneurs. Successful candidates embarked on one of the company’s Prosperator divisions, the two main ones being Partner Elite (an ongoing partnership with Raizcorp) and Arize (shorter programmes for BEE candidates). According to Raiz, most of those involved in entrepreneurship in South Africa were in the early stages of their business and had no access to any sort of business incubation, with two thirds of them operating as survivalists and only 4% of businesses surviving for longer than 10 years. Raizcorp did not believe in a “one-size-fits-all” scenario for business incubation, but preferred to fit a programme to an entrepreneur, according to their individual needs and experience, and the nature of the business. In addition, personal development was a high priority for Raizcorp, where caring for the individual as well as the importance of networking as a support mechanism were stressed. Raiz constantly tweaked and reworked his company’s systems and processes to find better ways of operating, and to increase his success rate.