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Forge Academy readies showcase for tech SMEs, start-ups

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Forge Academy, SA’s self-proclaimed ‘Harvard for the fourth industrial revolution’, is offering an opportunity for local tech businesses and start-ups to showcase their businesses to potential investors.

The academy has announced plans to host an SMME Showcase for small and medium tech businesses and tech start-ups on 30 June at The Gantry in Fourways, Johannesburg.

In a statement, Forge says participating SMMEs will present their businesses to a panel of judges at the showcase event, after which six will be selected to exhibit their business and products at the Forge Academy Digital Street Festival, scheduled to take place on 18 November at Montecasino in Fourways.

“We are on a drive to assist small, medium and micro-enterprises operating in the tech sector to gain exposure and to grow their businesses,” says Arthur Wade Anderson, Forge Academy CEO. “The showcase will select some of the most forward-thinking and innovative tech start-ups and secure them a place to exhibit their businesses at the Digital Street Festival later in the year. The festival will offer great exposure to potential investors who may be interested in injecting some capital to accelerate their growth.”

Forge Academy partnered with Nokia and the ICT SMME Chamber to host the showcase, which aims to highlight the development and growth of the SMME tech sector in SA, and provide a platform for tech SMMEs that are creating employment and training opportunities, especially for youth.

The best presentations must offer responses to current national imperatives, including education, connectivity, transport, municipal services and employment.

The judging process will entail presentations and pitches from the entrants. SMMEs will be expected to follow a specific framework when presenting; namely, a three-minute pitch, a question and answer session for seven minutes and then a five-minute reset before the next pitch.

In addition to exhibiting at the Digital Street Festival, winners will receive coaching and incubation sessions hosted at Forge Academy, digital marketing consultations, purchase order funding and an opportunity to network with potential investors.

“The ever-increasing rate of unemployment in South Africa, particularly among the youth, has long been one of the most pressing socio-economic problems and should represent a dire warning to us all. We can ignore this warning at our own peril. More so, some young work-seekers are not sufficiently educated and do not have the skillsets that employers and the marketplace demand,” says Muzi Makhaye, executive chairperson of the ICT SMME Chamber.

“Therefore, if entrepreneurs are encouraged and supported, like with the SMME Showcase opportunity, each tech start-up can then be positioned to become successful and resolve the joblessness problem for a number of young people.”

Forge says its primary goal is to create exposure for small tech companies for investment and growth opportunities, to raise their brand awareness and reputation for recognition and potential investment.

To enter your business into the SMME showcase, click here.

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