Telkom in­cu­bates tech en­trepreneurs

CityPress - - Busi­ness - LUBA­BALO NGCUKANA luba­balo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za Source: Eskom

A new busi­ness in­cu­ba­tion cen­tre has been launched in the Eastern Cape by Telkom through its en­ter­prise devel­op­ment pro­gramme called Fu­tureMak­ers.

Pro­pella Fu­tureMak­ers Hub in Port El­iz­a­beth was un­veiled in a small busi­ness break­fast func­tion this month and prom­ises to open a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity for as­pir­ing tech­nol­ogy en­trepreneurs.

Telkom launched Fu­tureMak­ers in May 2015 with up to R100 mil­lion to spend and since then, the Fu­tureMak­ers Fund, which pro­vides seed cap­i­tal to en­trepreneurs, has in­vested more than R28 mil­lion in seven com­pa­nies.

In ad­di­tion, Fu­tureMak­ers is sup­port­ing and train­ing more than 600 en­trepreneurs through busi­ness in­cu­ba­tion pro­grammes in Cape Town and Port El­iz­a­beth.

Ian Rus­sell, Telkom chief ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cer, said the hub in Port El­iz­a­beth was the third in the coun­try af­ter Jo­han­nes­burg and Cape Town.

The next hub will be launched in Dur­ban, with four or five more in the next few years.

As part of the Pro­pella spon­sor­ship, Telkom has in­stalled a ded­i­cated fi­bre link, which it says is the fastest busi­ness data line avail­able in the Eastern Cape.

The high-speed line will help ac­cel­er­ate the es­tab­lish­ment of suc­cess­ful new busi­nesses in the Eastern Cape.

Also, through the Fu­tureMak­ers in­no­va­tion, 250 in­ter­net cafés will be opened in re­mote ar­eas around the coun­try, in­clud­ing semi-ur­ban town­ships, with at least four peo­ple em­ployed in each of them.

The role of the hubs was to give peo­ple some­where safe to work with good con­nec­tiv­ity.

Ex­perts to coach peo­ple on how to start up a busi­ness will be at the hubs and will be paid by Telkom. Rus­sell said they were look­ing for in­di­vid­u­als who had great busi­ness ideas or ex­ist­ing busi­nesses they want to ex­pand.

About 50 in­ter­net cafés have also been set up around the coun­try and 200 more will be es­tab­lished in a year’s time.

“Th­ese things take time-to get the busi­ness model set up. But once you get it right, it be­comes much eas­ier,” Rus­sell said.

Peo­ple who want to run an in­ter­net café will be funded by Telkom, and given a busi­ness start-up in terms of what prod­ucts to sell and how much they should charge.

They will do brand­ing for them at the in­ter­net café and give them tools, such as com­put­ers.

“We give them a lot of tools. Once they start it up, they run it by them­selves. We are in the back­ground; they come to us for coach­ing and staff, but, broadly, it’s their busi­ness,” he said.

Nel­son Man­dela Bay Mayor Danny Jor­daan, who at­tended the launch, said ini­tia­tives such as Fu­tureMak­ers would play a big role in help­ing small, medium and mi­cro en­ter­prises (SMMEs).

“Th­ese SMMEs are just cry­ing out for us to help them ... be­cause not ev­ery­body can work for Gen­eral Mo­tors or VW,” Jor­daan said.

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