We are looking for early-stage startups solving complex green economy challenges through science and engineering-based technology. Apply to join our Build Programme 2024 to receive the credibility backing and support from Savant and USAID Mobilizing Investment.

What is Build Programme 2024?

Build is an intensive 6-month programme designed to meticulously guide ventures in developing a compelling investor business case. Spread across 12 critical themes, the programme offers a comprehensive blend of online learning materials, practical assignments, and interactive webinars. Participants are not just limited to these resources; they also actively engage in the vibrant Savant community and gain invaluable insights from access to expert mentors. This holistic approach ensures each venture is thoroughly prepared and investor-ready by the end of the programme.

Accepted companies will enjoy access to resources worth over R350,000, including masterclasses from industry experts, bespoke business development services, our robust learning management system, and entry into our mentoring and consulting network, among other valuable assets.

As a testament to our commitment to nurturing innovation and driving sustainable impact, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with USAID Mobilizing Investment. Joining the Build Programme 2024 not only positions early-stage startups as trailblazers in solving complex, green economy-focused problems through science and engineering-based technology but also grants them the esteemed credibility backing of both Savant and USAID Mobilizing Investment.

We invest in founders beyond capital

Introducing the Savant Build Programme, a highly competitive investment readiness initiative tailored for visionary founders who are dedicated to tackling Green Economy challenges through cutting-edge deep-tech hardware solutions.

Our Build Programme offers founders a one-of-a-kind blend of engineering resources, robust networks, and access capital. It’s designed to empower African founders in the SADC region to put their innovations to the test locally and propel them to international success. In the ever-evolving startup landscape, achieving significant momentum requires a reimagined approach.

It demands profound insights, unparalleled access, and founders with the resilience to go the extra mile in bringing their pioneering technologies to market. This is precisely why we’ve introduced the Savant Build Programme.

Who we are looking for

To apply for the 2024 Build Programme, we are seeking individuals and teams who meet the following criteria:

General Eligibility

  • Innovative hardware solutions rooted in deep technology
  • Founders actively seeking capital, whether at the pre-seed or seed stage
  • Commitment to addressing decarbonisation, resource efficiency, and conservation management challenges

Stage-Specific Requirements

  • Proven post-market entry with a compelling proof of concept (partial prototype)
  • Demonstrated product-market fit or market validation
  • A dynamic and adaptable team eager to learn and open to mentorship
  • Ambitious local hardware applications with global potential
  • In-house technical co-founder
  • Strong intellectual property foundation

Preferred Sectors

  • Circular Economy
  • CleanTech Development
  • Climate Resilience
  • Conservation Management
  • Decarbonization
  • Eco-friendly Manufacturing
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Pollution Prevention
  • Resource Efficiency
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Sustainable Energy
  • Sustainable Transportation
  • Waste Reduction
  • Water Sustainability

Key dates


Application process


Programme Overview

Accepted companies will enjoy access to resources worth over R350,000, including masterclasses from industry experts, bespoke business development services, our robust learning management system, and entry into our mentoring and consulting network, among other valuable assets.

The Build Programme is an immersive 6-month journey, offering the following:

Build Masterclasses

Engage in competitive masterclass sessions designed to yield tangible outcomes for your business.

Build LMS

Access Thinkroom’s comprehensive Learning Management System, your knowledge hub covering essential topics ranging from sales, product development, and team management to fundraising, legal aspects, and intellectual property.

Build Mentoring

Benefit from targeted one-on-one mentorship sessions with leading experts in science, engineering, and venture entrepreneurship.

Build Advisory

Receive specialised advisory support from Savant’s seasoned investment team.

Business Building Strategy

Throughout the 6 month Savant Build Programme, you will be immersed in our expert curated masterclasses cover a multitude of topics as overviewed below:

Investment Readiness

Elevating your business to peak investor appeal

Hardware Development Crash Course

Accelerating innovation with intensive hardware development training

Growth strategy

Strategising for exponential growth in a competitive marketplace

Go-to-market and Sales Strategy
Mastering market entry with a dynamic sales blueprint
Legal, IP, and Structuring

Fortifying your business with robust legal and IP frameworks

Impact Strategy

Designing strategies for sustained, measurable societal impact

Technology Decision Making Process

Streamlining technology choices for maximum efficiency and impact

Building the Investment Case
Crafting a compelling narrative to secure funding
Financial Management and Financial Modelling
Navigating financial complexities with precision forecasting
Pitch Training
Honing your pitch for unforgettable investor engagement
Valuation, Term Sheets, and Structuring the Deal
Demystifying valuation and deal structuring for optimal outcomes
Post-Investment Support
Continued support to ensure post funding success

Investment Opportunity

Top-performing companies will have the chance to secure an equity investment ranging from R100,000 to R200,000, along with supplementary services including hardware development consulting, access to software developers, one-on-one sales mentorship, and continued access to the Savant team.

Build doesn’t end after 6 months. We continue to help founders for the life of their companies. Founders will have access to the Savant Venture Fund and other network funds to enable follow-on funding to scale the business.

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Mushroom Guru is a specialist mushroom cultivation and extraction company in South Africa with its MG-LZ8 nutraceutical products from the Reishi Mushroom.
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