South African Telecommunications giants Telkom has launched its R100-million Future Makers fund programme that aims to help entrepreneurs to build successful businesses. FutureMakers will focus on driving innovation in the ICT sector by growing access to technology and by offering long-term support to its beneficiaries.
In South Africa over the years, start-ups and small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) have been on the rise, but many struggled to get funding. This initiative by Telkom aim to tackle the funding challenges that some of these start-ups face.
.“We want to enable, empower and inspire entrepreneurs to stretch their ambitions and make their business visions a reality” Telkom CEO, sipho Maseko said.
The government also applauded this initiative by Telkom which will be a turning point on the success of these SMMs, minister of small, medium and micro-enterprises Lindiwe Zulu said that “We hope other corporates will emulate Telkom’s example of giving practical expression to the national agenda of building strong and sustainable small businesses and co-operatives that will be engines of economic growth and job creation.”
The ICT sector has been recognised in the National Development Plan as a critical enabler, providing opportunities for manufacturing, service provision and job creation. South Africa’s National Broadband Policy calls for mechanisms to share infrastructure, enabling low cost and high quality communication, along with the promotion of research, innovation and entrepreneurship.
More so that one of South Africa’s top technology incubators, Bandwidth Barn is announcing a three-year, multi-million rand partnership with Telkom. The bandwidth barn is Part of the Cape Innovation and Technology (CiTi) group of organisations.
Ian Merrington, the CEO of CiTi, says “One of our core strategic objectives is the fostering of inclusive innovation,” Merrington further added that “This partnership with Telkom enables us to leverage and convert our historical enterprise development success into tech enabled innovation, incubation and acceleration goals which are aligned with Telkom’s innovation and enterprise development objectives. We are committed to taking our long and successful relationship with Telkom, to a new level.”
FutureMakers initiative by Telkom will support small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) with funding, business development and telecommunications services. It will work to identify and grow entrepreneurial opportunities across the ICT industry. FutureMakers will also leverage Telkom’s own national footprint of products and services, resources, and assets, by providing funding, business support, technology and mentoring.