In­no­va­tion hub turns dreams into re­al­ity

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Dale Hes

If you have a great busi­ness idea and are liv­ing in Gaut­eng why not ap­proach the In­no­va­tion Hub to start your in­no­va­tive idea.

This or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vides sup­port to aspir­ing en­trepreneurs which in­cludes fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance, train­ing and busi­ness sup­port to peo­ple who don’t have the re­sources to get their busi­nesses off the ground.

The In­no­va­tion Hub was es­tab­lished by the Gaut­eng pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment and has been equipped with a progamme called eKasiLabs which tar­gets in­no­va­tors in town­ships around the prov­ince.

eKasiLabs cur­rently has more than 200 in­cu­bates from 10 sites in the town­ships. Vuk’uzen­zele chats to the In­no­va­tion Hub’s Pro­gramme Man­ager Kgaugelo Tsoko who pro­vided a step by step guide on re­ceiv­ing as­sis­tance from the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Vuk: What do peo­ple need be­fore they ap­proach eKasiLabs?

Tsoko: All you need is an idea which has some as­pect of in­no­va­tion to it. It should be some­thing new and creative that will cater to needs or mar­kets that are un­der­served. Peo­ple do not need to have any for­mal qual­i­fi­ca­tions or pre­vi­ous knowl­edge of busi­ness as we pro­vide the train­ing to suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants.

Vuk: How does the se­lec­tion process work?

Tsoko: Af­ter ap­proach­ing us with their idea, aspir­ing in­cu­bates must pre­pare a pitch which they will present to us. This pitch must ex­plain the prod­uct or ser­vice they are think­ing of of­fer­ing. So it should in­clude a vi­sion for how the idea will serve the mar­ket, and why there is need for it.

If the can­di­date gets a mark of more than 65per­cent for their pitch, then they are ac­cepted into the pro­gramme.

Vuk: What sup­port does eKasiLabs pro­vide to in­cu­bates?

Tsoko: We pro­vide a grant so that the busi­ness can get set up prop­erly with equip­ment, prod­uct devel­op­ment, net­work­ing, ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing. We also sup­port in­cu­bates with things like get­ting their prod­ucts ap­proved by the South African Bu­reau of Stan­dards. We are ready to sup­port the busi­ness with any­thing it might need.

Vuk: What is the im­por­tance of as­sist­ing th­ese busi­nesses?

Ts o k o : The pro­gramme gives emerg­ing en­trepreneurs op­por­tu­ni­ties that they would never have had be­fore, giv­ing them ac­cess to the mar­ket. It also sup­ports the town­ship econ­omy and skills devel­op­ment in the ar­eas which need it most.

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