Local venture builder and business incubator Aions Creative Technology has unveiled the first three start-ups that it will be funding through its unique funding model, which will include investments from South African corporates and members of the public alike.

Aions was launched earlier this year by Mitchan Adams, the co-founder of booming instant EFT and online payments fintech Ozow, with R15-million of his own money as seed capital. The company aims to use B-BBEE funding from local businesses to rapidly build local start-ups into scaleable, sustainable businesses that will grow exponentially in value, to the point that where an exit strategy is possible within three years of the initial investment.

It also plans to launch a public venture capital offering by September, in which ordinary South Africans can invest in start-up companies.

The first three incubator companies that Aions will be funding are:

* Level Finance, an earned wage access platform that gives employees access to their earned but unpaid income;

* Green Scooter, which redefines transportation-as-a-service by offering electric scooters for first- and last-mile trips; and

* Tubby’s Kitchen, which manufactures a range of healthy cannabis-based kitchen products for home use, including loose-leaf tea, spices, and pastes.

Adams says the opportunity is to create an approach to enterprise development, supplier development and preferential procurement that will benefit both corporates and small businesses. By directly co-investing in small black-owned companies, which would be specifically selected to best complement the value and supply chain gaps of the corporate, big business will help solve for the issue of access to markets and funding.

By identifying and investing in sound and innovative start-ups which can then scale and grow aggressively to be sustainable, the incubator companies can create permanent and valuable jobs. This addresses the challenge of local economic development and growth.

“And finally, we have the opportunity to create a platform for all South Africans to participate in the investment and growth of start-ups, and ultimately benefit from the wealth created in the process without the barriers and limitations of traditional stock investment options. By overcoming complexity and increasing access, we create true broad-based shared value,” says Adams.