InnoTech, the incubator programme for ICT start-ups in Telkom’s Cape Town FutureHub, is in its second year at the Woodstock Bandwidth Barn and is looking to turbo-charge the next intake of applicants into the market place.
Michelle Matthews, head of ED and innovation at the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), says: “This programme is geared towards entrepreneurially minded developers and tech savvy entrepreneurs. What they will find is in-depth business support that will help them reach product viability, backed with a sound business skill-set that will keep them successful after launch. We also provide these entrepreneurs with the infrastructure and connectivity they need to support them while they develop their idea into a market-ready product.”
CiTi, based in the Woodstock Bandwidth Barn, has a legacy of successful entrepreneurs graduating through its various programmes, and InnoTech is its flagship ‘germinator’ programme, taking businesses ‘from concept to market’.
InnoTech is funded by Telkom FutureMakers, an enterprise development programme that aims to deliver real value by supporting small business development and growth in South Africa, while creating jobs and contributing to technology uptake through increased use of technology solutions by small businesses.
The InnoTech programme takes entrepreneurs at the concept or early prototype stages of their product into an eight-week ‘Pitch Deck Journey’, from which half are selected to continue into a 12-week process receiving business and technical support to launch an MVP into the market.
“Fifteen black-owned businesses came through the programme in 2015, arriving with raw ideas that have become pitchable products,” Matthews says. “InnoTech contributes to CiTi’s mandate to support tech-based entrepreneurs in Cape Town, foster innovation and create a vibrant, thriving ecosystem in the IT and tech space.”
InnoTech boasts inspiring stories such as Nathier Abrahams’ Tutorfy. Abrahams developed a tutor app due to the rising demand from parents for qualified tutors for their children. “I knew there was a huge market for parents to source reputable tutors who have been screened and vetted, and who have the right credentials, and for university students who need to supplement their income through tutoring. The website makes all of this possible, and now the input from FutureMakers InnoTech means my business can go to the next level,” says Abrahams.
“Not only is the access to content and mentorship beneficial to growing my business and brand, but the office space creates networking opportunities with other start-ups, and keeps me focused on the task at hand. The brain thinks differently in an office than it does while working at home.”
Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi, says: “We are thrilled at the continued success this incubator programme is showing. We are driven to see tech improve the lives of ordinary people across all walks of life. The need to think out of the box to create tech solutions for the very real challenges facing education, government and healthcare make South Africa a hot house for solutions-driven tech development. I get excited when I see how our support brings these dreams and solutions to life.”
Applications are now open for the 2016 Telkom FutureMakers InnoTech intake, starting in June 2016. Coders and developers who are developing a B2B solution of any type, an e-commerce platform, gaming and media, or fintech, healthtech, edtech and govtech can apply to join this robust and prestigious programme to take them from ‘concept to market’.