The Program


12 Fashion Entrepreneurs

The program will welcome 12 fashion entrepreneurs that have existing businesses operating in South Africa. The program is open to any entrepreneur within the fashion value chain, this can be designers, importers, resellers as well informal traders – and they can be operating within jewellery, accessories, menswear, womenswear, lingerie and footwear.

4 Month Program

The program is part-time program (1.5 days per week) that starts Monday 24th October and lasts until mid-february with a 3-week break for summer. During this time, the entrepreneurs are taken on a 18-week program curated by the Universita Cattolica of Milan, each week tackling a specific area of their business from marketing to logistics and even eCommerce.

Academic Backbone

The program has been specifically designed with a strong academic foundation in collaboration with E4 Impact, an initiative of the University Cattolica of Milan in Italy order to deliver a comprehensive and instructional program, that will equip the students with a global mindset.

Industry Practical Know-How

The program has partnered with some of the country’s top minds and companies as workshop instructors & guest lecturers, merging practicality and industry insights with academic backing.

Key Dates

Phase 1: Call to entry and opening applications

The program has a two-step application process. The first step is the online application which will evaluate the participants on basic business & financial understanding, as well as on the solidity of their business structure. The 2nd step is a day-long boot camp, where the applicants will join in their nearest campus and embark on a day-long activity evaluation centre, designed to test them on key business skills such as financial literacy, sales negotiation, marketing and human interpersonal skills.

  • Monday 11 September 2017 – Opening of applications
  • Wednesday 11 October 2017 – Close of applications
  • Monday 16 – Thursday 19 October 2017 – Bootcamps (Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town)
  • Monday 16 October 2017 – Cape Town Bootcamp
  • Wednesday 18 October 2017 – Port Elizabeth Bootcamp
  • Thursday 19 October 2017 – Johannesburg Bootcamp
  • Friday 20 October 2017 – Durban Bootcamp

Phase 2 : The Accelerator

During this period, the accelerator will take place every week on Mondays (full day) and Tuesdays (evening). 3  field trips are organized in partnership with SA Tourism where all participants from the 4 campuses will unite and explore South Africa to undertake real-life industry activities and discover some of best practices from the country.

25 October 2017 until 3 March 2018 – Accelerator Program  


Phase 3 : Graduation + Announcement of 2017 Edition Winner

At the end of the program, the participants will be required to present a business case in front of the judges and review committee. All participants will graduate officially from the Threads Accelerator program, one participant will be nominated as the winner.

March 2018 – Finale Event

Phase 4: International Trade Trip

During the graduation event, our panel of judges will select the fashion entrepreneur who has demonstrated most business acumen and capabilities to become the first Threads Winner. The winner will be taken on an international trade trip to Europe where he/she will be introduced to fashion industry stakeholders, be enabled to pitch & present his/ her product lines to department store buyers and interested retailers as well as attend the biggest B2B trade fairs.

4 Regional Campuses



 Cape Town

 Port Elizabeth

What will be taught on the program?

The Accelerator program is developed with your best business interest in mind and equip you with all knowledge needed to strengthen your business case. The program will cover the following course material:


Business Model Design
Customer Development
Competition & Positioning
Financial Literacy & Planning
Operations Management
Distribution Strategies

Digital Strategies
Funding Strategies
Business Strategy 

At the end, 1 Designer gets access to international markets

At the end of the Threads course, the entrepreneurs will present a business case in front of a panel of judges. The panel of judges comprised of highly respected individuals coming from the fields of eCommerce, General Business, Retail, Fashion, Branding & Lifestyle.

Each judge will evaluate the winner benchmarked against his/her speciality. The winning entrepreneur is then taken to Milan where (s)he has the unique opportunity to attend trade fairs & pitch his/her products to potential buyers and wholesale departments stores.

What will the best participant receive as a prize?

We consider the real gift of the program, the learning itself. Those already admitted onto the accelerator program will gain a wealth of priceless knowledge, networking and mentoring, that will help in taking their business to the next level. But to make matters even more exciting, at the end of the program, the most outstanding and performant entrepreneur will be awarded as the winner and get access to these incredible prizes.

An Extensive All-Expenses Paid Business Trip to Europe

We believe in leaving a lasting impact.

That’s why the winner gets the unique opportunity to travel to Europe and be introduced to top industry players that can fast-track their business. The winner will be introduced to department store buyers, wholesalers as well top influencers and media players and attend relevant trade and fashion fairs.

A Mercedes-Benz Car Brand Ambassadorship for 12 months

The winner becomes a Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassador and gets to enjoy the benefits of being a friend of the brand. Beyond association with one of the world’s most prestigious car brands, this includes driving a brand new Mercedes-Benz vehicle for a year as well as invites to exciting industry events.

A Standard Bank SME Starter Pack

The winner will receive a Standard Bank SME Starter pack powered by the bank which includes an array of financial products and services that will contribute to the winner’s business success.