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The continent of Africa is considered one of the most innovative and especially promising regions for start-ups, with a record $4 billion of investment raised in 2021, despite COVID-19. A local programme designed to support start-ups is e-Track, which is run by UCT GSB Solution Space - a specialised centre of the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business focused on high-impact early start-ups, corporate innovation, and entrepreneurship development - and is funded by ayoba.
Celebrating the recent cohort who have completed the e-Track Programme earlier this month, seven of the graduating start-up ventures had the opportunity to pitch their businesses to an audience at a hybrid event hosted on the GSB campus. ‘Demo Day’ marks the culmination of the e-Track journey and serves as an opportunity for participating ventures to evidence learnings, celebrate progress and engage the start-up ecosystem about their future plans.
Winning the ‘Peer Award’ was Strapp, whose idea of a rental marketplace enables people to rent out their unused possessions. Identified as the ‘Most Promising Start-up’ was SuM1 Investments, which collectively invests alongside individual investors and Stokvels in income generating assets. Other businesses featured at Demo Day were: Laduma Analytics, which enables data-driven storytelling and performance analysis for SA professional football; GoShare, a donation-based crowdfunding platform that enables tertiary students to raise funds to settle their outstanding fee debt; Kelo, Africa’s first interactive digital bookstore and library; PageBeats, a simple and privacy-focused analytics suite; and the Beauty Network, which aims to bring affordable, high quality wellness and beauty products to the local market.
Applications for the upcoming e-Track programme have just opened. This three-phase venture acceleration programme was developed by the UCT GSB Solution Space in partnership with ayoba to support start-ups across the continent.
Phase one is the Venture Launch phase which focuses on validating the venture concept – and it is appropriate for participants that have, or want to develop both for-profit and non-profit scale-ups. Phase two is aimed at accelerating the development of the validated venture, and in phase three, the programme focusses on scaling ventures with the support of partners and investors.
Benefits of participating in this programme include access to the following resources:
Co-working space and community of peer founders: Access to the UCT GSB Solution Space Waterfront and Philippi Hubs with Wi-Fi, hot desks, lounge areas, and meeting rooms. This enables start-ups to become part of a growing community and network of passionate founders looking to build the future.
Industry experts: During this programme participants are exposed to and mentored by seasoned entrepreneurs and professionals who have a wide range of experience working with start-ups.
Advisory Services: Start-ups have access to some of the most innovative, creative, and seasoned experts in the venture space, where they can obtain insights and advice from venture capitalists, creative directors, legal guides, and serial entrepreneurs. There are also masterclasses in a range of topics including Legal, Tax and Accounting, Human Resources, Branding and Social Media.
“Ayoba’s vision is to provide a localised experience, supported by engaging services that are relevant to our users. The ayoba platform represents an opportunity for homegrown talent to develop applications that reflect local cultures and values and that address challenges in our markets, while benefiting the broader community. Ayoba is delighted to partner with UCT GSB and the e-Track Programme to help support the entrepreneurial spirit and the scaling up of the teams’ solutions across the continent”, says Eero Tarjanne, Head of Business and Ecosystem Development at ayoba.
We are now accepting applications for Cohort 6 of the e-Track Programme. Apply here or visit the UCT GSB Solution Space website to learn more: https://gsbsolutionspace.uct.ac.za/e-track. The call for applications closes 29 April 2022.