Riversands Incubation Hub: Provide Access to Supply Chain Opportunities

Updated on 22 January 2019

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To help usher in an exciting New Year, a number of startup founders, accelerator heads and ecosystem stakeholders will be sharing with us their plans for the new year and their biggest wish for the local entrepreneurship ecosystem in 2019.

The Riversands Incubation Hub opened its doors in September 2015 and today it is home to over 160 businesses.

Riversands Incubation Hub’s vision include providing access to a range of entrepreneur development services. The incubation hub, for example, hosts training workshops for entrepreneurs and events like the annual funding conference, FundEX.

Established and startup small businesses are accommodated at Riversands for a period of up to three years in subsidised premises with access to business support services. Since January 2017, Riversands has had an average of 94% occupancy rate.

Jenny Retief, CEO of Riversands Incubation Hub, spoke to SME South Africa about their 2019 plans for the local entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Riversands is plugged into local and international specialists which allow the team to bring the latest thinking in ideation, design thinking and goal setting to support its offerings

How do you see the Riversands Incubation Hub continuing to help entrepreneurs this year?

The new year will see Riversands Incubation Hub facilitating ever-increasing market visibility and supply chain opportunities for its entrepreneurs. This includes a wide range of services (and tough love messages when necessary) to grow their capacity to execute well on the opportunities that arise.

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Jenny Retief is the CEO of Riversands Incubation Hub. (Image supplied)

What are some of your plans for 2019 in this regard?

A new web-based system makes it faster and easier than ever for entrepreneurs to request support while keeping everyone informed as support is delivered on multiple dimensions. Things move fast in the world of small business! These tools help the team move at speed without sacrificing excellence or efficiency.

It isn’t easy to create such systems and Riversands has invested heavily to date and will continue to do so in the year ahead.

What are some of the developments you are hoping for in the coming year, with regard to the ecosystem, the entrepreneurs themselves and support mechanisms available?

The team is excited at the way in which Riversands’ profile is growing both locally and globally. Partnerships that have resulted include local corporations, a Silicon Valley tech giant as well as local and international universities. These strengthen the eco-system and, combined with the imminent development in the surrounding Riversands Commercial Park, will lead to increased market opportunities for Riversands’ entrepreneurs.

Are you able to elaborate on the developments?

Riversands is plugged into local and international specialists which allow the team to bring the latest thinking in ideation, design thinking and goal setting to support its offerings.

SMEs derive direct benefit from the numerous collaborations. For example, the Silicon Valley software startup Koan provides a goal-setting and performance management system which allows the team to track support interventions and is transparent to everyone.

In keeping with Larry Page’s thinking ‘winning organizations need to put more wood behind fewer arrows’, the Riversands team focuses on the substantial number of on-campus SMEs, all the while seeking to help as many entrepreneurs as possible. There are many networking sessions and events such as FundEX which are open to the wider entrepreneurial community.

What can we look forward to from the Riversands Incubation Hub in 2019?

A thriving entrepreneurial hive of activity with talented, motivated entrepreneurs who take advantage of every opportunity presented to them, growing jobs and earning opportunities for themselves and others.

What is your wish for SA entrepreneurs for 2019?

Riversands Incubation Hub’s wish for SA entrepreneurs is a growing economy that plugs into all the entrepreneurial skills available in the country.

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