A chance for digital entrepreneurs to level up

26 June 2018 | Story Supplied. Photo Unsplash. Read time 4 min.

The Solution Space at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) is looking for 10 digital ventures to participate in the upcoming Winter School Venture Incubation Programme, which begins in September 2018.

The Venture Incubation Programme (VIP) is a partnership between MTN and the Solution Space that provides an opportunity for innovation-driven entrepreneurs who are working on digital solutions to take their businesses to the next level.

Run over three months, the VIP focuses on the early stage of the development process and provides participants with R300 000 worth of support. This consists of mentorship, advisory services, access to investor and corporate networks, and workshops on business fundamentals, such as marketing strategy and business model development.

The aim is to get a business model validated and to see what is needed to turn it into a start-up that is sustainable and scalable. Over the past two years the VIP has helped more than 30 start-ups.

“The early stages of a start-up are so critical and often the least supported time in the life cycle of a start-up. We aim for maximum impact at this stage and for start-ups to leave our incubator with a thorough understanding of the fundamentals required for a viable solution,” says Sarah-Anne Alman, Manager of the Solution Space.


“There is so much access to a wealth of support and business acumen, as well as legal, financial and marketing help on the programme.”

Current VIP Summer School participant, Rufaro Masiiwa of data analytics platform Mkwereti, says that being challenged to test risky assumptions about business models early on during the five-day design sprint was valuable.

“There is so much access to a wealth of support and business acumen, as well as legal, financial and marketing help on the programme,” she says.

Making connections

Another participant, Kamogelo Kekana, who co-founded Akiba Digital, agrees that the programme helps to set entrepreneurs up for success, adding that a major benefit is how it integrates participants into the Cape Town start-up ecosystem. The programme also offers entrepreneurs an opportunity to connect with other start-ups on the same journey, which serves as a valuable sounding board.

Programme Coordinator at the Solution Space, Shiela Yabo, says, “One of the strongest aspects of the programme is connecting people within the right industry to networks for mutually beneficial relationships and collaborations. In many instances, that in itself has been a major stepping stone to success for these participants.”

MTN’s Stephen Coller says that the programme is a key platform for them to engage with the latest emerging start-ups working on digital solutions which address broad-based needs across Africa.

“At MTN, we are committed to driving the development of a bold new digital world. MTN’s dedicated teams are highly active in this VIP to provide a strong connection between start-ups developing the latest solutions and the expertise and resources existing within MTN.”

To qualify, start-ups must be working towards building a sustainable Africa through digital solutions, be committed to their business full-time, and be a team of at least two members.

Applications close on 1 July 2018.

Check the GSB website for more information.

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