The Innovation Hub (TIH) has worked to support new and innovative digital businesses through their business incubators. Through these incubators, TIH has provided a business mentorship, opportunities for seed funding, commercialisation, and market access for participating startups and SMEs.
TIH principal Business Incubation Programmes include eKasilabs, Climate Innovation Centre South Africa, BioPark@Gauteng, and Maxum Business. These focus on assisting effective and creative startups in Smart Industries.
Tsietsi Maleho, CEO of The Innovation Hub, explained during a recent graduation ceremony that regardless of a business’s growth potential, it will require support to get its feet off the ground.
“We guide our entrepreneurs and help them turn their potential into action so that they can build a better tomorrow,” said Maleho.
Maleho further explained that the business incubators have assisted past graduates to generate much-needed employment opportunities, further contributing to the local economy.
“This is made possible thanks to the partnerships we have forged with the private and public sectors. The industry, government, civil society, and academic and research institutions have been invaluable to TIH and our entrepreneurs.”
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The Business Incubators
Divided into two parts, Maxum Smart and Maxum Digital, Maxum business provide development support to startups in the smart and digital industries
The smart industries include businesses with products or services relating to big data and analytics, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing.
Digital startups such as gaming, animation, and virtual reality tech startups are also eligible for this business incubator programme.
Maxum Digital has collaborated with Wits University to primarily focus on supporting township youth and unemployed graduates.
Both sections of Maxum Business provide entrepreneurs with infrastructure and funding opportunities, networking and marketing opportunities as well as advisory and skills development.
Some Maxum Alumni entrepreneurs include the following; Carbon Reduction Technologies which provides LED lights and Pulego Communications which provides Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions, consulting, and training services.
Climate Innovation Centre South Africa
In partnership with the World Bank’s InfoDev and the Development Bank of Southern Africa green fund, the Climate Innovation Centre South Africa provides development support to startups in South Africa’s green economy sector.
The innovation centre focuses on the energy, water, and waste sectors in the green economy.
The previous entrepreneurs that have graduated from the Climate Innovation Centre include the glass recycling startup, DNF Waste, and Environmental Services and Eco-V that sells hybrid Solar water heaters coupled to a Heat pump and uses a low-pressure storage tank for the water.
This incubator programme provides support to startups in the industrial, health, and agro-processing sectors. Their partnership with the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) and eGoliBio Life Sciences Incubator.
Portia M Skin Solutions was supported by BioPark@Gauteng and sells skincare products made from Marula Oil. Another health startup that benefited from this incubation programme was XS Health which provides complementary medicines to antibiotics, probiotics, African Herbal remedies, and men’s health.
eKasilabs primarily focuses on supporting startups within sectors in townships located in Gauteng. Their primary focus on the creative economy, bio-economy, smart industry, green economy, and multimedia sectors.
Eco Finesse, a healthtech startup, manufactures and supplies hygiene and health products including hand sanitizer, hand and body lotion, and hair products.
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“Entrepreneurs have to learn the power of networking and the value of mentorship, as these are the things that most entrepreneurs take for granted. And also they must know that opportunities will not come to them; they have to go out there and create them by knocking on corporate doors with proposals. Personally, I am where I am because of a business mentor who changed the way I see things.”– Anda Maqanda, founder of AM Group in South Africa