Rapid Incubator set to boost young entrepreneurs

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Young entrepreneurs and small business owners from Katlehong will now have access to infrastructure, networking and mentoring through the newly launched Ekurhuleni West Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Youth Incubator (CfERI). 

The centre seeks to assist budding entrepreneurs to overcome barriers identified in their entrepreneurial journey.

“Through this centre, we seek to provide students and participants with the theoretical knowledge and entrepreneurial skills that will enable them to start and run successful enterprises.

“This launch is another milestone in our collective efforts to create a nation of entrepreneurs. This is, indeed, a significant milestone towards meeting the objective of pushing back the frontiers of poverty and unemployment in our country,” said Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.

The Minister was speaking at the official launch of the Rapid Incubator centre in Katlehong township in Ekurhuleni on Thursday.

Zulu was flanked by the City of Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina, Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) CEO Mandisa Tshikwatamba and the Ekurhuleni West Centre TVET College Principal Manakedi Ntlatleng, as she cut the ribbon and opened the doors to the centre for the first time.

The centre is a joint partnership between the Small Business Department through Seda and the Ekurhuleni West Centre TVET College. 

Furnished with state-of-the-art equipment, an ideas lab and a co-working space, the centre aims to provide support to youth owned enterprises, who often have little to no capital or funding.

“The model that we launch today have some unique support instruments like idea pitching and polishing and a dedicated seed fund for viable ideas or business models with sound market traction,” said Zulu.

While the Rapid Incubator will focus on universities and colleges, it will also service all sectors and small businesses in the Katlehong catchment to unearth new ideas and business ventures run and owned by the youth.

According to the Minister, it is envisaged that the Rapid Incubators will build a strong link to the schools or faculties of Visual Arts and Design to support enterprise creativity and design support.

The first phase capacity building will also be aligned to the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) creativity and idea generation programme.

The Rapid Incubator is a bid by government to curb the high failure rate of small businesses.

“The high mortality rate of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) is a matter of concern for us as government. Given their sheer numbers and propensity to fail, it is critical to have interventions that seek to ensure that SMMEs are self-sustaining.

“Centres for entrepreneurship are dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship, venture-creation, and economic development through universities and TVETs. It achieves these objectives through its extensive research, teaching, and service activities and drives the creation of early stage youth-owned enterprises” said the Minister.

Incubators are seen by government as both a powerful tool for supporting SMME growth and a variety of socio economic needs such as job creation, technology transfer, reviving economic activities at local and regional level, poverty alleviation and economic integration of previously disadvantaged groups.

CfERI beneficiaries 

Beneficiaries earmarked to benefit from CfERI include businesses such as Cosfire, a charcoal manufacturing company owned by Dephney Uguelo.

The business uses natural raw materials to manufacture coal, which it sells to people residing in Soweto including vendors and hawkers, who in turn use it for their small businesses.

The newly registered Magatammogo Ladies company, which registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in May 2018, is also in line to benefit from the centre.

Owners of Magatammogo Ladies -- Sonto Malinga, Lerato Letau, Glory Mokhele, Dorcas Mabelane and Jeanette Phoshane, who hail from Palmridge -- manufacture and sell blankets, shoes and doeks and provide skills development training. – SAnews.gov.za