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Silicon Durbs — a non-profit company that aims to promote Durban’s tech startup sector — has launched paid membership options and nine new support programmes for startups.
Lindani Mkhize, (pictured above), who founded the organisation in May last year, told Ventureburn in a call yesterday that the paid memberships will allow the organisation to become more sustainable.
He said the organisation had grown to 750 members (all free members), from 250 in March. However, most of the members are university students, he added. He said the struggle has been to bring more entrepreneurs on board.
Silicon Durbs offers three options — one for students at R500 a year, another for startups at R1500 and one for corporates at R20 000.
Silicon Durbs has introduced three membership options in a bid to become a more sustainable organisation
Through the paid membership startups and students can access startup resources, community events and discounted co-working space. The organisation will also help lobby on behalf of those in the tech sector.
Corporates, he added, are able to use the organisation to research and test their solutions and access startups in the city.
No paid members have signed up yet, but Mkhize pointed out that Deloitte Digital SA is keen to sign up, adding that the corporate is 99% there to signing up.
The organisation has also introduced nine startup programmes which all kick off in January and run for four months before concluding in a pitch day. Each is priced at R4000.
Each programme is aimed at a certain vertical — such as fintech or edtech — or technology — such as artificial intelligence or the Internet of Things.
Mkhize pointed out that the focus of each programme on a particular vertical will make it easier for corporates or organisations from a certain sector to get involved in sponsoring each programmes.
However, he said most had indicated that they wanted to see the programmes get going before considering sponsoring any.
Silicon Durbs plans to host an event early next month with Innovate Durban to introduce startups to the city’s tech ecosystem and its players.
Featured image: Silicon Durbs founder Lindani Mkhize (Supplied)