SqwidNet, the licensed Sigfox IoT network operator in South Africa, recently hosted the finale of its first entrepreneurship programme called (IoT)E – IoT to the power of E, where nine entrepreneurs had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of potential investors.
This programme is aimed to empower entrepreneurs who would like to develop their skills and knowledge to become established players in the IoT ecosystem nationally and internationally.
“The success of IoT hinges on the local ecosystem,” says Phathizwe Malinga, acting CEO of SqwidNet. “International products can make implementing IoT unaffordable for many companies, particularly SMMEs, therefore we have to stimulate local innovation to develop local solutions. That is exactly what we aim to achieve through the (IoT)E programme.”
Three key development areas
The programme focused on three key development areas, which was device development, software and analytics, and business skills to enable the entrepreneurs to not only come up with innovative ideas and solutions but also to guide them in the process of taking their products to market.
A workshop and series of webinars gave the entrepreneurs the opportunity of engaging with various IoT industry experts.
The solutions presented included a carbon monoxide measurement tool, smart irrigation device, a personal tracker that acts as a personal safety device and a cashless vending machine to name a few.
“This is just the first step for these entrepreneurs in making their innovative ideas a commercial reality and we believe there will be several follow up discussions based on the reaction of the panel.
“We plan to continue running this programme so that we can enable as many entrepreneurs as possible to enter the exciting world of IoT. In doing so, we believe we can stimulate local innovation, allowing us to find solutions to local problems,” he says.