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New class of entrepreneurs make their mark in science and innovation

Seventeen entrepreneurs with innovative start-up businesses graduated from The Innovation Hub’s Business Incubation Programmes at the end of November 2021. With creative solutions to address local needs and challenges, these companies are set to become leaders in diverse fields ranging from ICT and manufacturing, green economy, and township economy, notes The Innovation Hub CEO, Adv Pieter Holl.

As the innovation agency of the Gauteng Province, The Innovation Hub strives to assist start-ups and small businesses grow and flourish into sustainable companies by providing critical skills training, business development support, mentoring, and access to funding opportunities.

To graduate from The Innovation Hubs Business Incubation Programmes, companies are evaluated on the growth of the start-up in relation to job creation, commercialisation, income growth, and overall business management.

“These are vital requirements for ensuring that start-ups remain sustainable once they have exited our incubation programmes. We have been extremely proud to see the progress that these entrepreneurs and their companies have made during their time at the Hub, and we feel privileged to have experienced and played a part in developing this level of innovation within our country,” says Adv Pieter Holl.

Notably, according to the National Development Plan, it is hoped that small, micro, and medium enterprises (SMMEs) will generate 90% of the 11 million new jobs targeted by government’s economic strategy.

Pointing to these figures, Holl adds that The Innovation Hub’s Business Incubation Programmes specifically focus on start-ups with the potential to drive significant positive social impact and positively influence the environment.

“Innovative thinking is key to finding new and exciting solutions to the problems South Africans face with regards to the environment, technology and job creation. In this space, the 2021 pool of graduates stand out as entrepreneurs to watch.”, Mr Siyabulela Bacela, The Innovation Hub Mentor

The Business Incubator Programme Class of 2021

The Innovation Hub offers five flagship Business Incubator Programmes, including the Maxum Smart programme targeting the ICT and advanced manufacturing sector; the Biopark@Gauteng programme targeting the health, agro-processing and industrial sectors; the green economy programme by the Climate Innovation Centre South Africa (CISCA); and the eKasiLabs programme which focusses on entrepreneurs in operating in township economies.

The companies that graduated from the Maxum Smart programme are:

iFOUNDiT: Offers a shopping app which rewards users with points for visiting stores, scanning barcodes, and uploading receipts on the app following purchases.

Shape: Provides novel and innovative medical products, devices, and mobile applications for the healthcare industry.

Lepsta: Developed a Space decode, or a software product that enables software developers to build, test, and continually deploy application updates using a single tool, and without having to manually set up hosting infrastructure such as servers for their applications

Westudio: Offers gaming and software development services for clients. This business has also established a gaming studio that has launched several titles in entertainment gaming.

eKasiGaming: Exposes disadvantaged youth from townships to gaming and the world of e-Sports.
The companies that graduated from the Biopark@Gauteng programme are:

African Applied Chemicals: Manufactures yarn hiking socks that are designed to slowly release liquid actives such as repellents over an extended period.

Cabblow Studios: A Proudly South African medical animation and illustration company.

The companies from the CICSA green economy programme are:

Kusini water: Developed industrial solar-powered Polyvinylidene Difluoride (PVDF) filters for fully automated water treatment systems for use within the African continent.

Technotherm: A company specializing in Waste to Energy (“W2E”) plants that offer a clear solution for the disposal of waste, and the generation of renewable energy.

The companies that graduated from eKasiLabs programme are:

I am Emerge: Offers bulk purchasing for spaza shops via its Vuleka app, which provides an easy purchasing platform. I am Emerge began in Alexandra and is currently expanding to Soweto.

Eco Fineness: Manufactures and supplies health and hygiene products. These products include cleaning detergents, hand and body lotion, hair products, and hand sanitisers.

Artero: A service-focused ICT company with expertise in computer networking. This company strives to maintain service excellence and is focussed on building mutually beneficial relationships with customers and suppliers.

Mokati Cleaning Chemicals: Manufactures and supplies cleaning chemicals.

Teayehm Holdings: Offers a wide range of services including energy consulting, renewable energy and energy efficiency advice, water management, roof refurbishments, and electrical installations and maintenance. Teayehm also manufactures a roof paint that is environmentally friendly and keeps the house both cool in summer and warm in winter.

LooAfrique: Manufactures advanced toilet technology products in the water and sanitation sector. The company aims to improve sanitation measures including by saving water. The products are made of plastic material which is durable and environmentally friendly.

Alex Industries: Manufactures products that are developed using hybrid cycles and machines.Deaf Language Training and Projects (VOICEOUT): An agricultural company founded by deaf community members that produces organic crops and vegetables.

“As both The Innovation Hub and as fellow South Africans, we look forward to seeing what the next chapter for these companies holds as they make their mark on the local business scene,” concludes Holl.

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