InnoTech, the highly successful incubator programme for ICT start-ups in Telkom’s Cape Town FutureHub, is in its second year at the Woodstock Bandwidth Barn and is looking to turbo-charge the next intake of applicants into the market place.
Says Michelle Matthews, Head of ED and Innovation at the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), “This programme is geared towards entrepreneurially minded developers and tech savvy entrepreneurs. What they will find is in-depth business support that will help them reach product viability, backed with a sound business skill-set that will keep them successful after launch. We also provide these entrepreneurs with the infrastructure and connectivity they need to support them while they develop their idea into a market-ready product.”
The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), based in the Woodstock Bandwidth Barn, has a legacy of successful entrepreneurs graduating through its various programmes, and InnoTech is its flagship ‘germinator’ programme, taking businesses ‘from concept to market’.
InnoTech is funded by Telkom FutureMakers, an enterprise development programme that aims to deliver real value by supporting small business development and growth in South Africa, while creating jobs and contributing to technology uptake through increased use of technology solutions by small businesses.
The InnoTech programme takes entrepreneurs at the concept or early prototype stages of their product into an eight-week ‘Pitch Deck Journey’, from which half are selected to continue into a 12-week process receiving business and technical support to launch an MVP into the market.
“Fifteen black-owned businesses came through the programme in 2015,” continues Matthews, “arriving with raw ideas that have become pitchable products. InnoTech contributes to CiTi’s mandate to support tech-based entrepreneurs in Cape Town, foster innovation and create a vibrant, thriving ecosystem in the IT and tech space.”
InnoTech boasts inspiring stories such as Nathier Abrahams’ Tutorfy. Abrahams developed a tutor app due to the rising demand from parents for qualified tutors for their children.
“I knew there was a huge market for parents to source reputable tutors who have been screened and vetted, and who have the right credentials, and for university students who need to supplement their income through tutoring. The website makes all of this possible, and now the input from FutureMakers InnoTech means my business can go to the next level,” says Abrahams.
“Not only is the access to content and mentorship beneficial to growing my business and brand, but the office space creates networking opportunities with other start-ups, and keeps me focused on the task at hand. The brain thinks differently in an office than it does while working at home.”
Says Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi, “We are thrilled at the continued success this incubator programme is showing. We are driven to see tech improve the lives of ordinary people across all walks of life. The need to think out of the box to create tech solutions for the very real challenges facing education, government and healthcare make South Africa a hot house for solutions-driven tech development. I get excited when I see how our support brings these dreams and solutions to life.”
Coders and developers who are developing a B2B solution of any type, an e-commerce platform, gaming and media, or fintech, healthtech, edtech and govtech can apply to join this robust and prestigious programme to take them from ‘concept to market’.
Related: New Ways SMEs Can Find Funding
“It’s not for those who pursue growth half-heartedly,” says Dlova (21) and Mtshokotsha (22), entrepreneurs from Gugulethu who developed MuniWard, an app designed to help ward councillors better track requests and complaints from the community.
“It’s a 10-hour a week commitment that will stretch you to your limits through an MVP boot camp and more, but will see you grow like never before through personal business mentorship and hearing how other successful local entrepreneurs got it right.”
“There’s no other place in Cape Town where you will find a more robust, hard-working programme for entrepreneurs in ICT,” says Matthews, “We can’t wait to see the next intake of entrepreneurs flourish in InnoTech.”
Tech or tech-enabled businesses that are 51% black-owned and based in Cape Town can find out more and apply at: http://www.citi.org.za/innotech/
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Off The Beaten Track
What Tourism Month means in South Africa and how Mango Airlines is focusing on local opportunities.
This September, being Tourism Month, we have so much to talk about in South Africa, and so many people to engage with, both domestically and abroad. We are privileged to be able to leverage a broad range of destinations – arguably world-class in nature, and they expand way beyond a beautiful mountain, and an ecosystem of game.
The vast majority of leisure tourists, however, remain attracted to the Mother City and various Safari destination, while business tourists tend to stick to hub cities for short durations of time before departing again.
“There is a golden opportunity to expand on the same offerings – while not detracting from them in any way. Our responsibility is to drive tourism into new areas, really emphasising the differentiators that are incredibly attractive to local and international tourists,” said Benediction Zubane, Head of Marketing at Mango Airlines.
“Often tourists visit one of the more well-known sites in an area, and are completely unaware of the other features and destinations close by. We’re seeing a lot of success in township tourism which goes to show how diversifying can really drive new tourism opportunities,” explained Zubane.
According to Statistics South Africa survey on Tourism and Migration, nearly 3.5 million international travellers visited South Africa in August 2017. Top numbers were tourists from USA, UK, Germany, France and The Netherlands, with African visitors primarily coming from SADC countries. Zubane added, “This means there is vast opportunity to begin engaging with travellers in new countries across the globe. We need to become our own best ambassador, talking-up our famous and lesser known destinations, proudly showcases our uniqueness. We should also be tourists in our own country and start exploring the wonders of the Rainbow Nation.”
Mango is passionate about helping its SMEs and entrepreneurial community to successfully overcome the unique challenges facing the tourism industry: “There has never been a more opportune time for small businesses and entrepreneurs to benefit positively from tourism in South Africa, and we hope to celebrate alongside our SME community as they fly high – both literally and figuratively,” he concludes.
FNB Receives 50 Million US-Dollars To Accelerate SME Development
First National Bank puts their focus on SME development in South Africa.
First National Bank (FNB) has received 50 million US-dollars from the DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft to deploy towards small and medium enterprise (SME) development in South Africa.
DEG is a development finance institution whose mission is to promote private-sector enterprises in developing and emerging-market countries as a contribution to sustainable growth and improved living conditions.
Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO of FNB Business says: “The new line of funding contributes to our ongoing efforts to accelerate our contribution to SME development in South Africa. We believe that SMEs are key to stimulating sustainable economic growth and job creation. Our intervention in SME development is not only limited to funding, we also invest heavily to improve capacity and supplier development capabilities in small businesses.”
FNB continues to pioneer products and services that have taken the angst out of South Africa’s entrepreneurs, from providing free instant accounting services to online documents reservation services, and forming public-private partnerships to digitise the registration of businesses.
“Our message to entrepreneurs is that we remain committed to providing meaningful solutions to help them grow. We have exciting developments that will take us further in our journey, all aimed at advancing the SME agenda by taking the anguish out of doing business,” concludes Vacy-Lyle.
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