An analytics translator software developer, a career guidance technology tool, a gaming studio and a private tutoring agency were just some of the ideas or companies that formed part of the 18 graduates in The Innovation Hub’s (TIH’s) 2018/19 Business Incubation programmes.
The Innovation Hub proactively supports entrepreneurs with innovations that address social and environmental challenges faced by Gauteng, as well as those that enhance the competitiveness of local industries. Through the Business Incubation programmes, TIH provides an enabling environment that supports entrepreneurs by providing mentoring and support to ensure business growth and sustainability of their businesses.
It is these diverse and innovative ideas that will have relevance and global impact for South Africa, TIH non-executive director and Future Africa project manager Dr Xolile Mlonyeni told the graduates at the ceremony held in Lynnwood, Pretoria. He noted that with South Africa ranking second lowest in the 2018 World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, it highlighted the importance of having an ecosystem that fosters innovation capability.
“In both the developed and developing world, entrepreneurship is regarded as an important tool for economic development, because of the positive contribution it makes in creating jobs and [and contributes] to the growth of a country,” he added.
A prerequisite for the graduation from the programme is based on the growth the start-up has enabled in job creation, commercialization, growth in income and overall business management - important requirements for keeping start-ups sustainable once they have exited the incubation programmes. “You are the future, you have dared to dream. Pursue this dream and commit to succeed. I am confident that these graduates have built into their business the characteristics of adaptability, resilience, risk tolerance and social consciousness.
“The opportunity is ripe for the businesses that emerge from The Innovation Hub's business incubation programme to participate and, more importantly, to contribute in addressing the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality facing the country,” Mlonyeni added.
After graduation, the start-ups, incubated at Maxum Smart (ICT, Advanced manufacturing, Media and Digital), Climate Innovation Centre South Africa (Waste, Water and Energy) and BioPark@Gauteng (Health and AgroProcessing) Business incubation programmes, are invited to join The Innovation Hub’s Alumni programme, which would provide for business support services through a 12-month pre-commercial programme or a 36-month post commercialisation programme.
Amongst the list of graduates was Technovera, which through the Maxum Smart hub, has employed seven people and grew its turnover to R2-million. Under the guidance of its founder, Neo Hutiri, Technovera has developed the Pelebox smart lockers, which allows people with chronic conditions to collect their repeat medication quick and efficiently, and removes the need for waiting hours queuing at public clinics, improving service delivery.