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Tech entrepreneurs graduate from incubation programme

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Tsietsi Maleho, acting CEO of The Innovation Hub.
Tsietsi Maleho, acting CEO of The Innovation Hub.

Twenty South African entrepreneurs have graduated from The Innovation Hub’s (TIH’s) flagship business incubation programmes: Maxum Smart, Climate Innovation Centre South Africa, BioPark@Gauteng and eKasiLabs.

The Innovation Hub’s business incubation programmes empower innovative start-ups with ICT and entrepreneurship skills focusing on the smart industries, green economy and bio economy, to enable them to grow into sustainable enterprises in their respective fields.

The core business of The Innovation Hub Management Company (TIHMC) is to foster and accelerate the growth of technology start-up companies to become sustainable businesses contributing to the Gauteng economy.

TIHMC says its enterprise development programmes, which run from one to eight years, focus on reducing the distance and time to market, to ensure establishment of sustainable and high-growth start-ups that support the competitiveness of and modernisation of the Gauteng economy and creation of jobs.

TIHMC supports entrepreneurs with innovations that address the social and environmental challenges faced by Gauteng-based small businesses, as well as those that enhance the competitiveness of local industries.

Working collaboratively with industry, government, civil society, academic and research institutions, emphasis is placed on identifying and supporting relevant and near-market research and development of innovation projects targeted at local economic and social challenges and service delivery in line with government priorities.

The recent graduation took place digitally and signifies one of the key milestones each entrepreneur that enters the targeted incubators hopes to achieve, says TIHMC.

“An idea, no matter how important, can’t reach its full potential if left alone. We guide our entrepreneurs and help them turn their potential into action so that they can build a better tomorrow,” says Tsietsi Maleho, acting CEO of TIH.

“Previous business incubation graduates have gone on to create numerous jobs for fellow South Africans and have become active participants in the economy of our country. This is made possible thanks to the partnerships we have forged with the private and public sectors.”

In addition to providing business mentorship, the programmes help participants to find seed funding opportunities, market access, commercialisation support and other value-added service.

Dr Nic Duneas, TIH alumni and CEO of Altis Biologics, highlights the importance of being persistent as a technological entrepreneur.

“In the beginning, we established a small laboratory with the help of TIH. We were able to start our first small production line and continue clinical studies into our products to get to market. Altis was incubated for over eight years.”

Smangele Mphahlele, entrepreneur and founding member of Ejoobi, says after achieving third place in TIH’s Gauteng accelerator programme ICT competition, she was able to take her company’s prototype to market.

Ejoobi helps connect job-seekers with employers by using SMS and USSD, to help combat the high cost of looking for a job in communities without Internet access.

“The dedicated mentors assigned by TIH helped us in many facets of the business that we had previously struggled with; namely, pricing the platform and acquiring clients,” notes Mphahlele.

“We started with a two-person team in 2018 and are now a tech team of 11 women. The possibilities are endless; you just need to keep striving.”

List of graduate entrepreneurs:

Owner Company
Andrew Davies HealthCent
Allan Mushabe Lightbulb Education
Kholofelo Winston Mokakabye Mooya Wireless
Wiseman Ndlela NovoSense Intelligence
Keith Bete Ubuntuism Brands
Zithande Mbala Joburger
Phemelo Khutsoane Opical Plus
David Gitonga Wema Software Solutions
Mogale Edward Matlou Eddies Mobile Kitchen
Zacharia Moeletsi PowerHouse Media and Projects
Mafu Sekoto Baetsi Solutions
Rhulani Shibambo Paradise Boutique Cusine
Brian Magwaza NjiNjiCom
Nthabiseng Dibakoane Kea Nthabi African designs
Michael Mathabathe Oluchi Training Solutions
Lindelani Xhanti 12 Ways Trading and Projects
Given Sekhasepe Sekhasimbe Consietious Company
Andre nel Eco-V
Bandile Khepri Innovations
Herbert Ramabulana Royal Mabundu

More information on each business can be found at https://vimeo.com/458484922.

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