Twenty entrepreneurs showcased cutting-edge innovative solutions at ABSA Maxum annual showcase
The Innovation Hub's Maxum Business Incubator, in collaboration with Absa, afforded entrepreneurs who are part of the Maxum to showcase and sell their innovative products to venture capitalists, innovators, entrepreneurs and the public at the Absa Maxum annual showcase, which was held at The Innovation Hub, Pretoria on 28 November 2013.
The Innovation Hub is Africa's first accredited science and technology park and a subsidiary of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, an agency of Gauteng's Department of Economic Development. The Innovation Hub focuses on enterprise development in the ICT, green economy, biosciences and industrials sectors to build knowledge-intensive and technology-based enterprises.
The Head of Enterprise Development at Absa, Sisa Ntshona, said: "The ICT sector is a key enabler in a variety of economic subsectors. Manufacturing, retail, finance, construction and telecommunications businesses, to name a few, all look to derive benefit from implementing IT systems, applications and communication protocols to improve the speed and efficiency with which they supply products and services.
"As Absa, we recognise the vital role of innovation and technology in our country's economy and therefore promote and support the growth of small and medium enterprises in this sector through our enterprise development capability."
The CEO of The Innovation Hub, McLean Sibanda, said: "Our Maxum Business Incubator is very important for addressing South Africa's transition to a knowledge-based economy and it has grown extensively as we have reached maximum capacity in 2013. By connecting entrepreneurs with venture capitalists through the Absa/Maxum annual showcase, we have the potential to accelerate start-up companies' growth. The annual showcase will thereby assist us to advance issues of economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation in Gauteng and the country as a whole."
The Innovation Hub's Maxum Programme is an entrepreneurship intervention designed to accelerate the growth of innovative knowledge and technology-based enterprises in Gauteng. The pre-incubation programme (renamed Maxum Innovation Factory) is between six to nine months' duration and the main incubation programme (Maxum Core) lasts up to three years. In pre-incubation, entrepreneurs are assisted to refine their business cases and finalise their prototypes, whereas in main incubation, the focus is on commercialisation, growth in revenues and sustainability.
The panel consisted of market access investors and specialists who aimed to create real traction through the presentations. From the 20 entrepreneurs, five were selected to pitch and the prize to the value of R50 000 sponsored by Absa was handed over to Anton van Metzinger (Snappcabb) at the end of the pitching session. Snappcab is the smartphone application that gives users the freedom and control to order a cab wherever they want. The application will be available on all four major platforms: iOS, Android, Windows and BlackBerry 10.
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