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Tech start-ups get a helping hand

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Five new Western Cape businesses have been created that less than six months ago were little more than great ideas, thanks to support from Telkom FutureMakers and Cape Town’s Bandwidth Barn.
The businesses have been developed by InnoTech, a Telkom-funded 20-week programme focusing on web and mobile applications development, software development and design, and gaming. The initiative, facilitated by the Bandwidth Barn, aims to stimulate new business creation and support the expansion and growth of existing companies through the uptake of technology and innovation capability. FutureMakers is Telkom’s enterprise and supplier development programme.
Fifteen entrepreneurs with concepts or early stage prototypes were included in InnoTech’s initial eight-week phase. The initial intake were progressively whittled down to the final five.
Fellows were able to test assumptions, refine models, and receive feedback on their pitches through the programme. They received weekly seminars on business fundamentals, and were able to access mentorship and a business development grant.
“Through the FutureMakers programme, Telkom is making a significant long-term investment in the future of our nation. By encouraging the uptake of technology within small businesses, with initiatives such as InnoTech, we can build a more innovative economy that drives job creation and sustainable growth,” says Ian Russell, chief administration officer at Telkom.
“We are proud of the InnoTech Fellows and the huge distance they’ve covered from concept to market in this programme,” says the Bandwidth Barn’s innovation programme manager, Michelle Matthews. “We have provided the business owners with the right foundation upon which to grow their businesses and we look forward to watching their successes, in years to come.”
Entries for the next 20-week programme will open on 5 April Information is available on the Bandwidth Barn Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BandwidthBarn) and on the web site (www.citi.org.za). The Bandwidth Barn is a business incubation space, or FutureHub, under the FutureMakers programme.
The Fellows and their businesses are:
• * CareRott: A mentorship app to connect university mentors with students making tertiary study decisions, developed by Makabongwe Mpambani and Lusindiso Qhusheka.
• * Educade: A start-up that re-programs arcade game consuls with educational content, rewarding junior school children for learning through play, headed by Regina Kgatle.
• * Facility Rep: An app and online tool that enables facilities management businesses and their tenants to efficiently log issues and effectively resolve them, developed by Siyabonga Tiwana.
• * Tutorfy: A virtual marketplace enabling on-demand matching of tutors and learners, by Nathier Abrahams.
• * MuniServe: An application that connects ward councilors and home-owners, ensuring transparency in fault logging and status tracking, by Sinethemba Dlova and Siyasanga Mtshokotsha.