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Telkom searches for 15 Soweto-based tech entrepreneurs

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Telkom is looking for 15 budding Soweto-based entrepreneurs who will use technology to solve problems in their community.

The telephony group has launched its Township Innovation Incubator to enable township-based technology and social entrepreneurs to access technology development support, financial and non-financial business support services to scale their ideas.

The 18-month virtual technology business programme, backed by Telkom, offers entrepreneurs assistance with technology development, business development services, digital skills training, office space, access to market and access to funding support.

The incubator is an offshoot of Telkom’s enterprise and supplier development programme, FutureMakers, which was launched in 2015.

The programme has four focus areas of investment, namely: diverse value chain programmes, township economy (Township Innovation Incubator), innovation (Corporate Innovation Accelerator) and venture capital fund (IDF Fund and I’m In Accelerator).

“The project is close to our heart as a business because driving meaningful social impact in and around the communities we operate is imperative; we have to take care of the people who take care of us – there is very clear correlation between our success as a business and the success of our communities,” says Mmathebe Zvobwo, Telkom executive for FutureMakers.

“The devastating rate of unemployment among youth alone is an alarming call to which we need to wake up and actively engage with local businesses and communities in an effort to lessen and ultimately eliminate. The repercussions otherwise are a ripple wave that will stun us all.”

Potential candidates have until 11 December to apply and must have an idea or concept leveraging technology to solve a social challenge.

Founders have to be based and intend to operate their businesses in Soweto, have a technology-driven idea/concept that solves a social challenge and must be a 51%+ black-owned South African entity.

Telkom also says potential candidates for the programme must possess a high-calibre entrepreneurial mindset, be a risk-taker and problem-solver, possess curiosity, leadership, strategic thinking and be an innovator.

To date, the programmes have supported just over 2 500 SMMEs through incubation, investment, connectivity and business development support services.

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