Bos­ton of­fers Con­nect In­cu­ba­tor

A space where grad­u­ates from var­i­ous in­dus­tries are men­tored and coached

Inner City Gazette - - News -

In our fast paced and highly com­pet­i­tive world, ev­ery job ap­pli­cant can only ben­e­fit by hav­ing some­thing unique that he can in­clude on his CV in or­der to give added value to the em­ployer. Some­thing more than the next guy has. So says Kamo­gelo Makumba, men­tor at the Bos­ton Con­nect In­cu­ba­tor, sit­u­ated in Bed­ford­view, Jo­han­nes­burg. “This in­cu­ba­tor has been cre­ated for a cou­ple of rea­sons,” says Makumba. “Most im­por­tantly, we be­lieve that stu­dents and grad­u­ates can no longer ap­proach cor­po­rates and ex­pect im­me­di­ate suc­cess in their job hunt­ing. We be­lieve that they need cor­po­rate skills, soft skills that you will not have as part of your aca­demic cur­ricu­lum.

You know in the job ads where it says ‘work ex­pe­ri­ence re­quired’? We are pro­vid­ing that work ex­pe­ri­ence open­ing up so many more po­ten­tial jobs to the grad­u­ates of the in­cu­ba­tor”.

Essen­tially, the Bos­ton Con­nect In­cu­ba­tor is a space where grad­u­ates from var­i­ous in­dus­tries are men­tored and coached, in or­der to cre­ate new busi­nesses and also to gain new skills that can only be gained in an ac­tive work­place.

The grad­u­ates ei­ther brain­storm their own busi­ness ideas, which they then sub­mit as a pro­posal for a team to work on, or they are pro­vided with op­por­tu­ni­ties via cor­po­rates to part­ner them into cre­at­ing new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

This cre­ates a po­ten­tial for ev­ery mem­ber of the in­cu­ba­tor to get an op­por­tu­nity to net­work with cor­po­rates, they have ac­cess to fa­cil­i­ties such as in­ter­net, lap­tops, ad­min, men­tors and an of­fice.

Also, for ex­am­ple, the ex­ist­ing busi­nesses that are be­ing de­vel­oped have ac­cess to me­dia grad­u­ates as men­tors to help them develop their web­site, lo­gos, promo videos, and mar­ket­ing ma­te­rial.

They have a sys­tem­atic en­vi­ron­ment in which they can brain­storm ideas, con­nect the dots with cor­po­rates who are ei­ther spon­sors of the in­cu­ba­tor or with other cor­po­rates, get feed­back on their ideas and then develop them into busi­nesses with a greater chance of suc­cess be­cause of the cor­po­rate feed­back.

Makumba goes on to fur­ther de­scribe what is hap­pen­ing day-to-day in the in­cu­ba­tor. “This in­cu­ba­tor is made up of grad­u­ates from vary­ing in­dus­tries. The par­tic­i­pants are mostly Bos­ton alumni. They come on board and work on dif­fer­ent busi­nesses projects and cour­ses.

For eg, we have an HIV project, a fi­nan­cial team, in­clud­ing a stokvel, a law group that in­cludes a course around law, en­trepreneur­ship, a Bos­ton Con­nect soc­cer league, and all these are un­der the Bos­ton Con­nect in­cu­ba­tor.”

The HIV team in­cludes a cor­po­rate eco sys­tem. The Fi­nance project is un­der the aus­pices of Bokamoso, this is a stokvel for Bos­ton stu­dents and their par­ents to cre­ate fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity.

There is also a cod­ing and app fac­tory where they are work­ing on a world class plat­form called Job­stez, a site where Bos­ton fi­nal year stu­dents and grad­u­ates will be able to source qual­ity free lanc­ing jobs.

The in­cu­ba­tor runs for the aca­demic year, un­til the end of 2018. Par­tic­i­pants are ex­posed to peo­ple from cor­po­rates who men­tor, in­spire and train them. They are en­rolled for the Higher Cer­tifi­cate in ad­ver­tis­ing which has been se­lected as the pre­mium qual­i­fi­ca­tion in line with the aims of the Bos­ton Con­nect di­vi­sion of Bos­ton City Cam­pus.

Stu­dents work Mon­day to Fri­day, and also at­tend class where ap­pro­pri­ate. Some also do field work, meet cor­po­rates and direc­tors, and ne­go­ti­ate new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

They also work on the Bos­ton Con­nect re­ward sys­tem, in which dif­fer­ent cor­po­rates such as re­tail out­lets where stu­dents reg­u­larly shop will pro­vide re­wards to those who par­tic­i­pate in the learn and earn eco-sys­tem.

On this project they will cre­ate ques­tions around HIV aware­ness and fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy. Based on the an­swers pro­vided they will be risk pro­filed and then ed­u­cated ac­cord­ing to their pro­file. Points can re­deemed for a re­ward which will be a coupon or a voucher to­wards any of the part­ner­ing re­tail out­lets.

Makumba ex­plains that the great­est ben­e­fit of the in­cu­ba­tor is the skills they will learn dur­ing the year.

These in­clude busi­ness skills, team work, re­spon­si­bil­ity, ne­go­ti­a­tion, meet­ing dead­lines, dig­i­tal and on­line mar­ket­ing skills, en­trepre- neurial skills, and gen­eral work ethic. And that stu­dents get an op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply these skills in an ac­tual work en­vi­ron­ment.

The in­cu­ba­tor cre­ates amaz­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to develop en­trepreneur­ship. Grad­u­ates should in­quire with Makumba as to when the next in­take is. And cor­po­rates who want to spon­sor stu­dents in the in­cu­ba­tor to ei­ther grow their own busi­ness or for BEE or to grow al­lied busi­nesses should call Makumba and ar­range a visit to see the in­cu­ba­tor and the par­tic­i­pants mak­ing their own work op­por­tu­ni­ties. In­ter­ested par­ties should call Kamo­gelo on 065 883 1749. www.bos­ or call the Bos­ton call cen­tre on 011 551 2000.

This cre­ates a po­ten­tial for ev­ery mem­ber of the in­cu­ba­tor to get an op­por­tu­nity to net­work with cor­po­rates, they have ac­cess to fa­cil­i­ties such as in­ter­net, lap­tops, ad­min, men­tors and an of­fice.

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