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Telkom FutureMakers, Aions to supercharge SA start-ups
Telkom’s FutureMakers programme has joined forces with venture builder firm Aions Creative Technology to boost local start-ups in South Africa.
Following a competitive pitching process, Aions secured R58 million (about $3.8 million) of funding from Telkom FutureMakers, which will reflect the programme’s commitment to growing and partnering with small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) in the ICT sector.
Telkom FutureMakers, which was founded in 2015, has already invested R250 million in supporting more than 2 500 ICT businesses to date.
“We provide both funding and end-to-end support for start-ups, which is in line with Telkom FutureMakers’ focus on innovation,” said Mmathebe Zvobwo, Telkom executive: enterprise and supplier development. “Part of this focus includes the need for a suitable vehicle to achieve investments in innovation-based digital value propositions.”
The partnership with Aions aims to continue Telkom FutureMakers’ commitment to investing in small businesses in the ICT sector, providing access to market through their supply chains, working with youth and female-owned businesses, as well as promoting inclusive innovation.
“As venture builders, we provide the seed funding the start-ups need, and then work closely with the founders to transform them into a market-ready offering that can scale rapidly and employ more people themselves,” said Mitchan Adams, co-founder and CEO of Aions. “We believe this approach resonated strongly with Telkom’s goal of growing and building businesses, especially in disadvantaged areas.”
Aions is currently mentoring three start-ups: Financial wellness and salary linked benefit platform Level; electric scooter start-up Scooter; and Tubby’s Kitchen, which manufactures a range of healthy cannabis-infused kitchen products for home use. The Telkom funding will see this number grow to at least 10 in the coming 12 months, said Adams.
“ICT is a globally recognised industry with the potential to unlock employment opportunities, particularly for young people. It paves the way towards a brighter and more prosperous future for all, and our partnership with Aions Creative Technology was a natural fit as their mission of changing the current economy to be more robust and sustainable is in line with our purpose of growing the digital economy,” concluded Zvobwo.
The partnership between Telkom FutureMakers and Aions Creative Technology is set to stimulate the growth of the ICT sector in South Africa and bring about job opportunities for the youth and disadvantaged communities.
This innovative partnership will see local start-ups getting the support they need to become market-ready, scale rapidly and create more job opportunities. With the backing of Telkom FutureMakers and v, the ICT SMMEs are set to become an integral part of the digital economy, paving the way towards a brighter future for all.
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