BCX today announced its partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct to create a new innovation centre, enabled by BCX. Wits launched this precinct in 2016 along with its partners in government, business and industry, including the Telkom Group, BCX’s parent company. BCX has now confirmed its support of this project through its Innovation Programme.
The Innovation Programme is a BCX enterprise development initiative aimed at building an end-to-end ecosystem of support for technology-focused small businesses, ultimately driving economic growth. It has been co-created with BCX and leading experts in the SMME development sector. The Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct will be responsible for rolling out this programme.
“BCX is passionate about creating an environment where small businesses can thrive. They create the innovation and disruption we need to move our economy forward. We are offering support which can help take businesses all the way from ideation to commercialisation, both in terms of physical space, as well as a phased digital programme for growth,” says Ian Russell, CEO of BCX.
The programme will provide both financial and non-financial support, in the form of business mentoring, coaching, technology and funding to selected start-ups in order for them to develop, manage and commercialise their technology solutions, and will facilitate market access. Small businesses will be able to crystalise their ideas and solutions, validate their markets, and formalise their enterprises for market penetration. They will be expected to participate in regular pitch sessions as they complete business milestones. BCX and the broader Telkom Group will be looking at the most disruptive solutions for internal consumption but there is also an opportunity for broader market uptake with BCX as their preferred go-to-market partner.
“The very purpose behind Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct is to create a supportive ecosystem for small businesses, one where they continue to learn and grow. This partnership with BCX will enable us to take this programme and the incubation hub to new heights,” says Prof. Barry Dwolatzky, director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits. “Our combined teams and experience will mean that our entrepreneurs will be able to learn new skills that they can build into their own businesses and thereby create an ongoing system of innovation and disruption.”
This is the first phase of the rollout with more developments coming in 2018 as the programme intends to partner with other corporates, service providers and funders to grow the SMME sector. The second phase will kick off with applications to be part of the programme in 2018. More information will be released at a later stage.