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The Innotech Fellows programme saw several entrepreneurs pitch their businesses at the Bandwidth Barn in Cape Town.
The programme, which is a partnership between CiTi and the Telkom Future Makers Programme, forms part of the Innotech Fellows initiative. It aims to stimulate the growth of new businesses in software development, design, gaming, web and mobile application development.
The programme selects top entrepreneurs to participate in a six-month developmental phase before the final pitching day at the Bandwidth Barn.
“In terms of the comparison [between] last year and this year, we’ve got a much stronger group so our recruitment, we did a lot more iteration in the first year of the Innotech programme,” said Michal Szymanski, head of entrepreneur and enterprise development at CiTi.
The fellows gathered at the venue on 24 November to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges consisting of the head of innovation and enterprise development at CiTi, Michelle Matthews; head of enterprise and supplier development, preferential procurement, Litha Kutta and chief investments officer, Thabani Nomvalo.
This year’s Innotech Fellows are a diverse group who’ve embarked on a six-month journey to bring their startups to life
Each fellow had a few minutes to pitch their business as well as field questions from the panel. The startups which pitched are as follows:
- Clevr – Created by entrepreneur Adeliah Jacobs, this is a consumer finance education tool for tertiary students
- Minderz – Started by Boitumelo Menyatswe, Minderz is a house/pet sitting platform which allows you to find a reliable sitter to look after your home and furry pets
- Drischool – This is an online booking management system specifically for driving schools. It aims to simplify and automate the booking process for instructors and learners alike, being started by Given Nyauyanga and S’pheshie Lupuwana
- MeQ – A profiling platform which helps job seekers find their strengths and weaknesses and connects them to companies with like-minded organisational cultures. MeQ was started by Ishara Maharaj
- Air Hub – A cloud-based solution for SMEs, Air Hub provides businesses with mobile/landline convergence and business email straight to their mobile phones. The solution was crafted by David Lekgwathi
- Made in Everywhere – This is a marketing/branding agency and e-commerce platform, focusing on giving local SA crafts-people a place to sell their goods. The business was started by sisters Michelle and Natasha Talliard, of which Natasha is an Innotech Fellow.
- Zacio – Founded by Siyasanga Mbiko, Zacio is a mobile app which allows users to purchase and receive tickets instantly for events, also allowing them to view transportation schedules nearest to the event and profiles of the acts.
The pitching event served as a graduation process for these fellows, who will receive post support and mentorship as well as supply chain opportunities through Telkom.
“There are very good ideas, some of them are obviously more advanced than others, but from a funder’s point of view… there’s still a bit of work to do in improving the revenue model for funders like ourselves to be comfortable to put in money,” said Nomvalo.
“Overall, there are very good ideas with clear identification of needs in the market and clear articulation of what they’re offering to solve the problems which they have identified.”
Featured image: Nicolas Raymond via Flickr