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Innovator Trust launches Youth Entrepreneurship Programme

Tashline Jooste is the CEO of the Innovator Trust, as well as a member of the board of trustees.

Jooste has spearheaded the conception and realisation of the Innovator Trust and oversees the crucial strategic direction of the organisation and its operations.

Jooste told Fin24 more about the Innovator Trust.

What is the innovator trust?

In 2014, Vodacom made a bold move to make a significant investment to impact on developing SMME businesses in the country.

The result was the formation of the Innovator Trust – an enterprise development programme created specifically for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, delivering quality and results specifically designed business development programmes, aimed at facilitating growth of SMME businesses.

Vodacom granted the Innovator Trust, an independent organisation, a R750m loan facility for investing in YeboYethu shares to finance the enterprise development programme. To date the trust has drawn on R600m of the facility.

The Innovator Trust primarily uses share dividends and interest earned to fund the trust administration and the various projects to support established small businesses in the ICT sector to grow.

The Innovator Trust was established with a clear mandate to: accelerate transformation in the ICT sector through the development of black-owned ICT businesses.

What gap does it fill?

Making a sustainable difference in the operations of small businesses resides at the core of our philosophy.

Innovator Trust provides a tailored development programme for selected, established small businesses in the ICT sector. Through training, mentorship, networking and infrastructure support the Innovator Trust is helping to create ICT leaders of the future.

Through our Enterprise Developmental Programmes, we are able to reinforce the efforts of the beneficiaries in making their vision a reality.

How do you see your role?

As the CEO of the Innovator Trust, as well as a pivotal member of the Board of Trustees, I oversee the crucial strategic direction of the organisation and its operations.

I’m passionate about creating opportunities for SMMEs and, specifically, female-owned businesses and it is a crucial element in the Innovator Trust’s aim of growing and nurturing SMME’s in the ICT sector.

The entrepreneurial world is not an easy one to start out in, but with the right guidance and knowledge, it has the potential to change someone’s life forever.

Any other comments

Vodacom and Innovator Trust recently launched the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP), aimed at equipping local unemployed youth with the requisite set of skills to become cutting-edge entrepreneurs.

The tailor-made youth entrepreneurial programme aims to drive innovations and create job opportunities that could bring significant changes to the local economy.

To kick it off, Vodacom and Innovator Trust are offering 10 unemployed youth, based in Gauteng, who graduated from the Vodacom Academy Programme a spot in the programme.

Khaya Cokoto, co-founder and MD at X Spark and a beneficiary of the Innovator Trust, embraced the benefits of the mentorship and guidance programme such as compelling leadership, as well as support and encouragement with coping in a male dominated industry.

X Spark is an information and communications technology (ICT) business, specialising in graphic design, software development and licensing. X Spark has won the SAB KickStart Programme within their first year of business, taking overall spot in the 2014 Technology for Women in Business Awards.

Not only is Cokoto a part of the Innovator Trust Enterprise Development Programme, but she was also chosen to be part of a 13-month Programme for Management Development, a scholarship opportunity we present at the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

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