Representatives from 4 years of Cascador Cohorts at the recent Alumni Dinner at Radisson Blu Victoria Island in Lagos

·         Founders of Accelerator for mid-stage African entrepreneurs host alumni dinner in Lagos

Cascador, an accelerator program for mid-stage entrepreneurs in Africa who are scaling mission-driven companies, has made a tremendous impact in the lives of dozens of business owners in the last four years of its operations in Nigeria. Cascador has stated that its intervention in Nigeria has touched 45 organisations and they have collectively raised over $23 million USD in funds to grow and scale in different sectors of the economy.

This was revealed by Cascador’s Co-founder, Mr. Dave DeLucia during its Alumni Dinner at the Radisson Blu in Victoria Island, Lagos recently.

DeLucia stated that Cascador was looking at doubling the number of beneficiaries and making a further impact on the country’s economy in the next 6 years. “In the next 4 to 6 years, we should have at least 100 companies in our alumni portfolio, and each of them should be able to employ 100 people with at least 5% of those businesses producing exportable products.”

Speaking on the challenges plaguing Nigerian entrepreneurs, DeLucia said, “There are a number of challenges facing entrepreneurs in Nigeria, one of which is access to capital. Others are issues around recruiting and a dearth of leadership and business development skills.

“At Cascador, we are solving these challenges by providing entrepreneurs access to world class fundraising support and educating them on how to raise investment capital, so that they can take their businesses to the next level. In regards to leadership development, we give them assessment data and coaching to identify their strengths and then we help them build on that strength to develop an effective team.”

On business development skills, DeLucia shared “We closely examine their businesses and run a diagnosis to see where they need improvement, providing customized advisory support to grow their businesses. These are the three key areas we design programmes to help mid-size businesses scale.”

Speaking further on its target organisations, Blessing Mene, Cascador Co-founder, revealed that the accelerator program focuses on organisations that have successfully raised capital, have strong annual revenues, and have a team of 10 or more employees in place who are ready to scale exponentially.

“The type of entrepreneurs we cater to should have $50,000 USD in annual revenue or more. They typically have between 10 to 50 employees and they are mid-stage entrepreneurs – not the typical SMEs (Small & Medium Enterprise startups) that are trying to stabilize or kick start small scale.” Mene added, “Cascador helps more seasoned entrepreneurs who are trying very hard to grow by 10x and make a significant real world impact. We do not directly support startups.”

According to Meme, “Nigeria’s business environment does not have a strong supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurship when compared to America, Europe and other parts of the world. The business challenges and the requirements to be successful are universal. Success is about focusing on the customers, being clear about your value proposition and having sufficient resources to scale. It is much more difficult to grow a thriving company in Nigeria, but Nigerian entrepreneurs have the ability to be stronger, more resilient and persistent to succeed over other places outside Nigeria. The passion for business ownership and the work ethic here is very strong.”

Funto Boroffice, Cascador alumna and CEO of Chanja Datti, a waste recycling firm, stated that the impact of the Cascador programme cannot be overemphasized. “It is a different skill acquisition and fundraising programme. Apart from gaining the basic knowledge to run a successful business, Cascador also provides me with world class mentors and customized advisory support. You will rarely have this in other programmes,” she said.

“My company was struggling to make the necessary impact and grow until Cascador was recommended to me by a friend,” said Cascador alumnus, Omoniyi Salami, CEO of NEAT Microfinance Bank. “I started the business in my living room with my wife. Today, we have scaled to five locations in Nigeria and we have made a tremendous impact in creating value and helping other startups in the country. Cascador is a personalized programme targeted at individuals willing to grow.”

Interested Cascador applicants can apply online for late acceptance through June 30th.