Cape SMEs invited to join incubation programme

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The two-year programme will equip entrepreneurs with the latest ICT skills and tools that will keep them on track.
The two-year programme will equip entrepreneurs with the latest ICT skills and tools that will keep them on track.

Enterprise development organisation The Innovator Trust, in partnership with the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), is calling on Cape Town-based growth-stage tech entrepreneurs to join the latest edition of its ICT skills enterprise development programme.

The intensive two-year accelerator programme, according to the companies, aims to equip ICT SMEs with development support to help increase annual business turnover, the necessary accreditation to remove red tape, as well as increase business profitability.

The course, which will help entrepreneurs implement the latest tools and technologies, was co-developed and run by CiTi at the Woodstock Bandwidth Barn.

CiTi says the local ICT sector is one of the fastest-growing industries on the African continent, yet African entrepreneurs are still finding it a difficult business landscape to navigate, due to lack of adequate skills.

Through exposure, training and mentorship, the programme promises to equip entrepreneurs and businesses in the sector with tools that will keep them on track, assist them to achieve their goals and create tech leaders of the future.

"Participants will gain a basket of entrepreneurial support in the form of tailored content aligned to grow and scale their businesses, one-on-one mentorship to further their knowledge in being able to stand alone and run their own business, and access to market and networking opportunities through the Bandwidth Barn's collaborative ecosystem," says Tashline Jooste, CEO of The Innovator Trust.

"Once the entrepreneurs who take part in our enterprise development programmes become more established, they turn their focus to growth."

To apply, the SME must be registered, with a key focus on ICT; it must be operational and trading for two or more years; should be at least 51% black-owned and be based in Cape Town or surrounding areas, notes Jooste.

Creating competent SMEs

The Innovator Trust was formed to grow small black-owned businesses in the ICT sector and help develop competent SMEs through training, skills sharing and infrastructure support.

The organisation says it has partnered with companies that have experience and knowledge in this field, to help it grow SME entrepreneurship and make a real impact in the ICT SME sector over the next five years.

Celebrating its 20th year of supporting local entrepreneurs, CiTi runs a number of incubation programmes from idea to growth stage.

After a successful first cohort of the programme, completed in 2018, CiTi confirmed a second collaboration with The Innovator Trust to support further Cape Town businesses over the next two years.

"I believe strongly that ICT entrepreneurs are going to be critical to SA's economic growth, which is why we need to focus on equipping these businesses with the skills they need to grow, create jobs and stimulate our economy," adds Jooste.

Jennifer Classen, founder of Ngaphaya Y2K10, and participant in the 2015 to 2018 programme, explains: "We had a fantastic experience on The Innovator Trust programme; perhaps most beneficial was the advice and mentorship on our financial management, up-skilling of our team, and establishing a three-year budget and growth plan for the business. Our advice to entrepreneurs considering the course is: just do it!"

To apply, click here. Applications close on 22 February and the selected candidates will be announced on 4 March.

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