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.
Silulo Business Incubation Centre (SBI) in Mitchells Plain was launched in April last year through a partnership with Silulo Ulutho Technologies and Vodacom Business.
Through the use of technology and the Vodacom Business product suite, Silulo Business Incubation Centre aims to transform and digitise SMEs in South African townships and empower SME owners. The partnership works to help SMEs in Mitchells Plain, and the broader surrounding areas, become fully digitised and thus enhance the productivity of their businesses, this includes a dedicated receptionist, a working desk, wifi access, access to meeting rooms and training and networking events.
Luvuyo Rani who is the co-founder and MD of Silulo Ulutho Technologies, says the incubator has grown leaps and bounds since its beginnings as a tiny information and communication technologies (ICT) business selling refurbished computers from the boot of his car in 2004.
“We now have 15 offices with no shared space. Seventy percent has been taken so far.
“It is quite promising but we are still to reach break-even point – this may take us a year. Thanks to Vodacom for a year’s commitment in taking care of part of our costs.”
Rani shares their plans for continuing their mission to upskill entrepreneurs.
How do you see the Silulo Business Incubator continuing to help entrepreneurs in the coming year?
This year, Silulo will be focused more on training. We have partnerships with UWC Co-Labs and Tsiba.
We have a digital skills for SME course, cyber security and entrepreneurship courses. We believe that there is a huge potential in skilling all SMEs around digital skills.
What are some of your plans for 2019 in this regard?
- We will ensure that the SBI is fully occupied. We are now at 70% capacity.
- We will resume with the networking sessions and workshops.
- We are focused on growing the support for the walk-ins in the centre.
What are some of the developments you are hoping for in the coming year with regards to the ecosystem, the entrepreneurs themselves and support mechanisms available?
- I am hoping for more collaborations and partnerships that can come through. Also, (hoping) that the Western Cape’s eco-system can leverage off each other.
- We would like to be directing and opening more doors for township entrepreneurs in the sense of exposing entrepreneurs to all opportunities coming in or giving them access. When we have knowledge of programs or opportunities that will be beneficial to entrepreneurs, we will be in a position to share with them and direct them.
What is your wish for South Africa’s entrepreneurs for 2019?
I wish growth, prosperity and more opportunities for South Africa’s entrepreneurs.