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Featured image: Cortex hub programme participants (Supplied)

Eastern Cape’s Cortex Hub in call for 20 tech entrepreneurs to join incubator

Are you a tech entrepreneur based in the Eastern Cape? Cortex Hub, an East London ICT business incubator and accelerator, has launched a call for 20 tech innovators to apply to join its 2018 cohort.

Located at the East London Industrial Development Zone, the hub runs a 12-week long incubator from which participants can graduate into a 12-week accelerator programme. Applicants have until early January to submit applications.

Those that miss the deadline or who don’t get in can always try again when the next cohort opens its call — which will likely fall between May and July next year.

“We are looking for great minds and entrepreneurs in remote areas around East London and the Eastern Cape. Perhaps other provinces as well, depending on the nature of the business,” the hub’s co-founder and board chairman Nico Muka said in an e-mail to Ventureburn.

The business incubator is seeking tech entrepreneurs who need help scaling up. To be selected applicants must have a fully developed business with a minimum viable product (MVP).

Selected candidates will be invited to a panel interview where they will get quizzed on tech as well IT and general business knowledge.

In a phone call with Ventureburn, Muka said the hub’s incubation programme aims to cover topics that include company registration, product development and customer acquisition.

Cortex Hub was launched in 2015 and has worked with 35 entrepreneurs and launched six startups

He added that the acceleration programme focuses particularly on growth while preparing participants to pitch to investors.

Cortex Hub programmes are facilitated by mentors from around the world who are themselves founders, venture capitalists and developers.

Muka said the hub takes between 10% and 25% equity stake from startups who proceed to the accelerator programme. He assured interested candidates that the hub would endeavour to secure funding on behalf of applicants.

“To be honest, being part of the Cortex Hub is the opportunity of a lifetime. If you work really hard and remain focused, together we can get you funding,” he said.

The hub was launched in 2015 by Muka and fellow co-founder Mulasi Gcakasi. The business incubator has since worked with 35 entrepreneurs and helped launch six startups.

The hub has been funded mainly by Convergence Partners Investments founding partner and chairman Andile Ngcaba. Muka said the business incubator has also received financial sponsorship from the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA).

One of the participants of the hub’s programmes, Athini Bashe, told Ventureburn that while at the hub in 2015, he and fellow co-founder Sifiso Meya founded two startups including Sho-fa, a ride-share app aimed at cab drivers and edtech platform Penciltalk.

He said he received about R500 000 in investment funding from the hub in exchange for 20% equity to develop the two startups. The hub also sponsored his trips to a tech summit in Botswana last year in June as well as to last year’s edition of Africacom.

“When Cortex Hub sees potential in a product, they try to connect you with investors,” said Bashe.

Featured image: Cortex Hub programme participants (Supplied)