Search on for aspiring young innovators
A PORT Elizabeth business incubator has launched its search for the Nelson Mandela Bay metro’s brightest innovators to be groomed as tech entrepreneurs.
The Propella Business Incubator, which houses the Telkom Futuremakers hub in the Bay, is welcoming applications with business ideas to the Futuremakers programme for aspiring entrepreneurs.
The online application says only participants based in the Bay are eligible – while participating businesses also need to be more than 51% black-owned.
“[Other than that], the definitions of the programme are quite broad,” Errol Wills, recently appointed as advisor in information and communication technologies (ICT) for Propella, said.
“Essentially, Telkom wants to create future suppliers for the company through the programme, which is why the ideas [should also relate to] business-to-business trade.”
Possible categories for the applications include software, cellphone apps, eCommerce and networking.
Wills said business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs had until October 1 to apply, after which the top 40 applications would be singled out.
Each applicant will then present their idea to a panel.
“About 20 people will then be selected to undergo eight weeks of training, including content around how to structure a business pitch and present their products.
“After the eight weeks, each will make a presentation in mid-December to a panel, which will include representatives from Telkom.”
The list will finally be narrowed down to 10 entrepreneurs, who will become the new incubatees of the Futuremakers programme.
“There are already incubatees in this programme [from previous years] and they have to reapply to be considered for next year’s intake,” Wills said.
“However, that does not necessarily mean they [lose our support] if they are not chosen to continue within the Futuremakers structure.”
Aside from Futuremakers, Propella also aims to improve the relationships between industry and the Nelson Mandela University.
“Propella has just launched a survey of Nelson Mandela Bay’s top 50 companies regarding their [technological] needs,” Wills said.
“The idea is to create projects where businesses need delivery of something specific – with the Nelson Mandela University’s reputable faculty of computer sciences to supply [skilled people].
“In this way, we are potentially kick-starting smaller businesses, starting with industry demand [and creating skills], so graduates can gain and retain specific industry knowledge.”
Aspiring innovators can apply to the Futuremakers programme of Propella at http://propellaincubator.co.za
BUSINESS SAVVY: Propella ICT adviser Errol Wills and administrator Mara Jacobs view the work on the Futuremakers programme website