Position Available: Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the LaunchLab

The LaunchLab, an initiative of Innovus: Stellenbosch University’s university-industry interaction platform, is situated on Stellenbosch University’s main campus.


The LaunchLab functions as a business accelerator and boosts entrepreneurship on campus by providing an entrepreneur-friendly environment with an excellent infrastructure, networking opportunities, mentoring and affordable rental rates to aspiring entrepreneurs. The accelerator includes Stellenbosch University spinout companies (formed in conjunction with the University) as well as student-owned enterprises, which function independently of the University but also have access to the services in the business accelerator. In addition, the business accelerator is open to external start-up companies who would like to benefit from the entrepreneurial services on offer, as well as internal or external service providers who are able to provide mentoring, support or guidance to the accelerator tenants. Currently, the majority of the LaunchLab entrepreneurs are from outside the University.


The LaunchLab is currently in the process of appointing a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The job requirements and core functions relevant to this position are indicated below:


Report to: The LaunchLab Board of Directors with a reporting line to Stellenbosch University’s Chief Director: Innovation and Business Development.


Direct Reportees: General Manager/Incubation Manager; Portfolio Manager; Financial Manager (outsourced); Marketing Manager; Operations & Events Coordinator; Receptionist/Financial Assistant and Corporate Engagement and Growth Officer.


Specific Core Functions:


1. Strategy and Leadership
a. Responsible for the LaunchLab’s annual strategy and strategic direction;
b. Responsible for the LaunchLab’s overall leadership and management;
c. Quarterly reporting to theLaunchLab’s Board of Directors;
d. The annual presentation of the draft strategy and budget to the LaunchLab Bboard of Directors.


2. LaunchLab’s Financial Sustainability
a. Bringing new clients and income sources on board;
b. Actively recruiting new partners and clients that will provide funding for LaunchLab activities;
c. Essentially responsible for the financial sustainability of the LaunchLab.


3. Financial Management
a. Oversee financial management function in collaboration with the outsourced accountant;
b. Draft and implement the LaunchLab budget.


4. Business Development
a. Drafting of proposals for new clients and sources of funding;
b. Negotiating with new clients to achieve a successful and favourable outcome for the LaunchLab.


5. Incubation Programmes
a. Oversee the coordination of the incubation programmes as implemented by the Incubation Manager;
b. Actively involved (mentoring and coaching).with the incubation of startups).


6. Operations
a. Oversee the coordination of the LaunchLab operations as implemented by the Operations & Events Coordinator.


7. Marketing
a. Oversee the output from the Marketing Manager to ensure that it aligns with the LaunchLab’s quality standards and corporate identity requirements;
b. Establish measurable marketing targets for the Marketing Manager and to ensure the LaunchLab has significant positive exposure in both online and paper press releases.


8. Ecosystem
a. Set the direction for and pioneer key relationship-building in the LaunchLab;
b. Actively promote LaunchLab in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.


9. Corporate Engagement
a. Set the direction for corporate engagement;
b. Oversee the engagement between start-ups and corporate clients as coordinated by the Corporate Engagement and Growth Officer;
c. Act as the key contact for specific clients.


Job Requirements (Qualification; working experience (nature and duration); competencies:

  1. A relevant business, financial or engineering degree;
  2. Proven experience of successful engagement and working with startups/entrepreneurs and assessing the feasibility of ventures ;
  3. Excellent knowledge of incubation processes and the industry trends both locally and internationally;
  4. An in-depth understanding of the challenges and also the opportunities encountered by entrepreneurs and startups;
  5. Established working relationships with significant enablers, influencers and stakeholders in the start-up industry, both locally and preferably also internationally;
  6. Proven leadership experience;
  7. Proven experience at Board level;
  8. Business development experience in terms of raising significant sponsorship and developing strategic relationships;
  9. Excellent relationship-building and -maintenance abilities;
  10. An established history of project delivery involving the acquisition of clients or funding for projects.


Industry network and experience in working with government (DTI/IDC) is a recommendation.


Specific Skills Required:

  1. Outstanding networking and negotiation skills;
  2. Excellent verbal and written communication skills and proven public speaking skills;
  3. Knowledge of the functioning of a higher education institution but with an entrepreneurial mindset;
  4. Excellent strategic and leadership abilities;
  5. A special aptitude for innovation and entrepreneurship with an ability to motivate and inspire stakeholders.


To apply, please forward a cover letter and your updated CV to Daniell Jacobs – dj@sun.ac.za or 021 808 9065. The closing date is 11 October 2019.