In partnership with Seda, Cell C is launching an initiative offering small businesses with big ideas the opportunity to accelerate their solutions.

The Cell C Innovation Challenge allows disadvantaged SMMEs with great ideas a partnership opportunity consisting of interest-free loans, mentorship and an opportunity to work with Cell C as a preferred supplier.

Cell C’s chief human capital development and transformation officer, Juliet Mhango, says Cell C is passionate about both entrepreneurship and transformation in the ICT industry and the Innovation Challenge will be the ideal platform to support both.

“We believe in the exponential growth that technology-enabled services can bring to the world of work and play and want to be the catalyst that enables first-stage entrepreneurs to catapult their start up concepts into businesses,” Mhango says. “As one of the big four mobile operators, we have over the past few decades seen how innovation in the ICT industry has led to employment and transformation in SA – we want to enable the next wave of technology upstarts to do the same.”

The Cell C Innovation Challenge opens today (9 October) and the application process is available on Innovators with unique, commercially-viable ideas are invited to the first round of pitches starting from 30 to 31 October at Cell C Headquarters. Business ideas will be assessed for their viability and innovative nature and entrepreneurs will be able to pitch their ideas in person to a select panel of judges.

“This challenge not only provides support for up and coming businesses, but also sets the stage for technological revolution in the ICT sector, while providing a platform for meaningful transformation. There may be more than one successful SMME, so we are hoping that businesses will come out in numbers to provide compelling pitches to us,” says Mhango.