All the blood, sweat and tears that went into the making and developing of 12 ICT businesses in the Western Cape paid off when the Cape IT Initiative (CITI) graduated the companies from their business development programme, VeloCITI, last week.

 The VeloCITI programme, which aims to help ICT entrepreneurs re-assessing their business model in order to position them for growth, was one of three CITI projects that was highlighted during the ceremony that took place. The VIP Graduate programme and the My Business Group programme participants and winners were also honoured.
According to Viola Manuel, CITI's executive director, the VeloCITI programme and its participants have shown significant growth since the launch in 2006. This year's cumulative monthly turnover grew to R1,62-million from R275 000.00 over a period of seven months and the cumulative owner's salaries grew to
R172 000.00 from R21 000.00.
"This continued curve in growth shows a definite need and hunger for sustainable support and mentoring in the market. With the available infrastructure support from the Bandwidth Barn, we are able to address the looming ICT skills shortage combined with the necessary business skills that is required to run a thriving business," Manuel says.
The two finalists in the VeloCITI programme, Breadbin Interactive and Nclose, both secured large deals with major corporate clients, but it was Nclose who walked away with the winning title and prize.  
"The value and input we have received from Cape Venture Partners, PeerPower and CITI has been tremendous. We have seen a marked improvement in the effectiveness of our daily tasks, the way we handle ourselves and our outlook on the future. The lessons we have learnt have assisted in creating strong foundations as well as giving us the tools necessary to sustain the growth we are currently experiencing," says Mclose's Stephen Osler.
The VIP Graduate programme focuses on closing the existing gap between final year ICT students and entering the workspace as a marketable individual.  A maximum number of 12 candidates participated in this year's programme that consisted of ten modules.
The two IT graduate winners were Wayne Neethling and Ncumisa Ndungane.
A further 12 companies participated and completed the the My Business Group programme. This six-month programme creates an add-on opportunity for VeloCITI graduates or anyone who is already in the IT business sector to come together and to grow their strategic thinking process, supply ideas to their businesses and to share experience and information in a group. This creates a sense of belonging amongst entrepreneurs and makes them feel less isolated.