Twenty entrepreneurs showcased cutting-edge innovative solutions at ABSA Maxum annual showcase

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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.

Issued by The Innovation Hub Management Company. For more information, please contact Linah Nematandani, Communication and Marketing Manager on lnematandani@theinnovationhub.com. Alternatively call 012 844 0030 or 076 717 9878, follow us on Twitter: @InnovHub, and please like us on Facebook InnovHubZA.

The Innovation Hub

The Innovation Hub, a subsidiary of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), is Africa's first internationally accredited Science Park and a full member of the International Association of Science Parks (IASP). It is strategically located in Tshwane, South Africa's executive capital in the 'smart' province of Gauteng. As the leading knowledge-intensive business cluster in South Africa, The Innovation Hub implements initiatives identified in the Gauteng Innovation and Knowledge Economy Strategy and Green Economy strategy to advance the economic development and growth of the province through innovation. The Innovation Hub has created a unique space for hi-tech entrepreneurs, world-class businesses, academics, researchers and venture capitalists to meet, network and prosper.

For more information, visit www.theinnovationhub.com.

GGDA

The Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), previously known as Blue IQ and GEDA, is a merged entity by the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED). GGDA is the implementation arm of the GDED and assists the department in leading, facilitating and managing sustainable job creation and inclusive economic growth and development in the Gauteng City Region. For more information on GGDA, please contact Stephen Watson, Executive: Group Marketing, Communications and Strategic Promotions on + (27) 83 380 3359.

Absa Group at a glance

Barclays Africa Group (Barclays Africa Group or the group) is 62.3% owned by Barclays Bank (Barclays) and is listed on the JSE. The group is one of Africa's major financial services providers offering personal and business banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management as well as bancassurance. Barclays Africa Group combines its global product knowledge with regional expertise, and has an extensive, well established local presence.

The group was formed through combining Absa Group and Barclays' African operations on 31 July 2013. Reflecting the enlarged group's pan-African focus, its name changed from Absa Group to Barclays Africa Group on 2 August 2013.

At 30 June 2013, Absa Group had 718.2 million shares in issue and a market capitalisation of R103 billion. The group had assets of R841 billion, 9 997 automated teller machines, 962 staffed outlets and 33 879 permanent employees.

Its registered head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it has majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia. It also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria as well as bancassurance operations in Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia. Barclays Bank Kenya and Barclays Bank Botswana continue to be listed on their respective stock exchanges.

Barclays Bank has operations in Egypt and Zimbabwe, which are an integral part of its African business and continues to be run by Barclays Africa Group's management.
www.absa.co.za

Editorial contacts
The Innovation Hub Linah Nematandani (+27) 12 844 0030 lnematandani@theinnovationhub.com
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