Telkom powers Soweto-based tech entrepreneurs

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 02 Feb 2022

Mobile operator Telkom has selected 11 Soweto-based tech entrepreneurs, from over 100 entries, to be part of its incubator programme.

Telkom’s Township Innovation Incubator is an offshoot of the telephony group’s enterprise and supplier development programme, FutureMakers, which was introduced in 2015.

The incubator aims to enable township-based technology and social entrepreneurs to access technology development support, financial and non-financial business support services to scale their ideas.

In addition, the 18-month virtual technology business programme offers digital skills training, office space, access to market and access to funding support.

According to Telkom, support for the selected entrepreneurs includes business ideation and validation support using design thinking methodology, accredited tech skills capacity development training, solution design and development support, social and market access through Telkom and its partners, as well as access to funding.

Telkom FutureMakers approved R100 000 in grant funding for each of the 11 entrepreneurs to help with critical traction-building activities, it adds.

Mmathebe Zvobwo, enterprise and supplier development executive at Telkom, comments: “ICT is globally recognised as one of the industries that can provide tangible opportunities for employment and more importantly, youth employment. We are pleased with the results of the current cohort and excited about what other solutions this programme will enable when we embark on a national rollout of the programme in other townships.”

Zvobwo adds: “Through the programme, Telkom FutureMakers is helping ICT-led township businesses to commercially launch viable businesses. We are confident Telkom is providing critical support to help local businesses move from idea to commercialisation, while they position themselves as attractive and viable assets for investors.”

Among those selected to be part of the incubator programme is Baadaye, which is led by Katlego Sekete.

Baadaye is a social crowd funding platform assisting public schools to create awareness and raise funds to address various social issues affecting the school, like poor sanitation.

“The programme has equipped me with tools that have allowed me to think about different ways in which I can better structure and monetise my business,” says Sekete.

Another selected social entrepreneur is Bophelo Mpilo, who recently signed a contract with the National Department of Health to be part of the Central Chronic Medication Dispensing and Distribution programme to establish pick-up points and offer doorstep delivery of medication.

The business is working closely with BCX to develop a technology solution that will enable this process to be efficient and effective.

“Each entrepreneur is supported based on merit and potential of their businesses,” says Xoliswa Moraka, from the programme management company A-plus Consulting.

“We are building a community of high-growth and sustainable businesses that help solve real problems. These entrepreneurs are developing high-quality, scalable and impactful businesses, demystifying the idea that township entrepreneurs are capable only to build spaza shops, internet cafés and informal vendors.”