The South African government’s National Development Plan outlines that 90% of new jobs will be created through entrepreneurship and the expansion of companies by 2030. Microsoft trying to help drive this vision.
Supporting small business with access to tools and mentorship, Microsoft BizSpark SA programme has around 1 665 SMEs under its wing. Of those, six companies have been chosen to become part of the Big Dream programme, which hopes to inspire a culture of entrepreneurship among the country’s youth.
“The Dream Big campaign is really there to highlight entrepreneurial success stories from all different backgrounds,” explains Alex Fraser, one of the portfolio managers of the BizSpark SA programme.
“The startups were chosen because they can solve real everyday problems unique to South Africa,” explains Fraser. “They are tangible examples that the broader South Africa can understand.”
SweepSouth, for instance, solves the problem of finding reliable cleaners while WhereIsMyTransport (founder Devin de Vries pictured above) tackles the issue of public transportation.
Stimulating a culture of tech startup is crucial for the development of the industry. Not just a corporate level, but a grassroots as well. Fraser explains:
Microsoft is trying to be the bridge between these startups and corporate by providing access to its wider networks. Access to market is becoming the number one factor which is affecting startup growth. Trying to land large corporate clients and hitting critical mass can really affect your business model. Cutting procurement time has a massive positive impact on your working capital.
On a grassroots-level, Microsoft’s Student to Business programme has partnered with the South African government’s Jobs Funds, which has pledged R96-million to provide employment opportunities for the country’s youth.
Below are the chosen Big Dream startups:
WhereIsMyTransport, or just WIMT, is a platform for smart urban transport in the emerging regions of the globe. The app is integrating formal and informal transport by connecting cities, operators, and commuters for a more sustainable, efficient transport system.
2. Cool Touch
Terrance Ntuli and Mush Ntanzi are the co-founders of Cool Touch which has transformed itself from a small cleaning company into a promising tech startup. Cool Touch is responsible for Snap! which is described as an application created with the intent of transforming Facilities Management.
DigiPrax has a full service solution that offers a system — developed by doctors and medical pricing and coding specialists — with the vision to provide one system able to manage all aspects of your entire business at a reduced cost.
4. Digiram Digital Learning
Digiram Digital Learning provide technology-based learning solutions that drive rapid student achievement by diagnosing and automatically adapting curriculum content for learners in R-12, deliverable on broadband enabled mobile devices on a 1:1 basis enabling 24/7 access at an extremely affordable price point.
GenWye has developed a system called GenBox — a smart locker system that improves infrastructure for convenient and efficient parcel delivery. This innovation will allow people to collect and drop-off parcels at predefined locations, a much more convenient offering than your standard delivery.
SweepSouth is described as the most convenient way to find a home cleaner. It’s an online platform for booking experienced, interviewed, vetted and insured domestic cleaning professionals within minutes