Telkom selects tech entrepreneurs for township hub
Programme aims to boost 11 technology-driven businesses in Soweto
Soweto tech entrepreneurs have been selected by Telkom to be part of its township innovation incubator programme.
The 18-month business programme aims to boost 11 technology-driven entrepreneurs in various areas of business.
The incubator is an offshoot of the Telkom FutureMakers initiative, which was initially launched in 2015. Since its inception, it has supported more than 2,500 small, medium and micro-sized enterprises.
Mmathebe Zvobwo, Telkom’s executive for FutureMakers, says FutureMakers focuses on four areas – incubation, investment, connectivity and business development support services.
“So far, the incubator has approved R100,000 in funding for each of the 11 entrepreneurs. This will help with initial progress activities for the first year. In their second year of operation, the businesses will have to pitch for the second round of funding,” adds Zvobwo.
She says the initiative will have a social impact, because participants were selected on their ability to develop ICT-based solutions to local issues.
One beneficiary of the programme is Soweto-based Lebogang Madiba of Bophelo Mpilo, a company that eases the pressure at public hospital dispensaries. The Central Chronic Medication Dispensing and Distribution system creates a tailor-made, door-to-door chronic medication delivery service for the less privileged.
Zvobwo says Madiba will pilot the system in some of the country’s public hospitals. “This start-up has managed to secure a proof of concept with the national department of health, and we expect the pilot project to be a success.”
Another selected entrepreneur is Katlego Sekete of Baadaye, a digital marketing, media and technology agency. Her company has created a crowdfunding platform that helps public schools raise funds to tackle challenges such as poor sanitation.
Sekete says she is keen to continue building tech-enabled solutions that matter. “The programme has equipped me with tools that have allowed me to better structure and monetise my business. I look forward to growing my business efficiently while addressing social ills within my community.”
Zvobwo confirms that applications for the next round will open in April 2022.
“This will be for the first leg of interviews. It is a vigorous selection criteria process and I advise applicants to prepare extensively.”
– This story first appeared in GCIS's Vukuzenzele
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