Looking for a tech incubator in 2016? Here’s what Cape Town and Gauteng have to offer

We take a look at the two regions taking the biggest slice of SA's ICT sector


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The continuing growth of the country's ICT sector in 2015 has meant an increase in the number of entrepreneurs looking to start businesses in the tech space and 2016 looks set to continue the trend. 

The biggest slice of the ICT sector has been claimed by the Western Cape with the 2015 Venture Capital Industry Survey by the South African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, revealing that the Western Cape has overtaken Gauteng as the geographic source of the largest number of VC-type deals.

According to the survey, 75% of the VC type deals are headquartered in the Western Cape compared to Gauteng’s 20%. The survey also revealed that 58% of VC fund managers are located in the Western Cape with 42% located in Gauteng.

SME South Africa recently featured 3 of the Newest Tech Incubators in SA. We follow it up with a look at how the country's two economic centres, Gauteng and Cape Town, fare against each other when it comes to tech incubators and what they have to offer technopreneurs. 

 

THE WESTERN CAPE

Grindstone Accelerator

Location: Cape Town

About: Grindstone is Knife Capitals year-long entrepreneurial development programme to assist post-revenue scalable, innovation-driven, high-growth, technology-enabled SMEs in accelerating strategy execution. 

Programmes: The Grindstone Accelerator's programme has been developed to assist entrepreneurs to cope with accelerated growth, pass investors' due diligence, raise adequate growth funding, and to secure international partnerships.

Past incubatees: 

  •  Apurimac Media - a digital media company that provides a range of media covering a variety of content, audiences, channels and technologies. 
  • Eluminary Inc - a specialist software solutions company with a niche in delivering process automation and service delivery management toolsets.
  • Framework One creates automated business systems that allow companies to combine all their tools, admin and resources into one scalable and simple system.

 

Springlab

Location: Cape Town

About: Springlab is a technology incubator and joint venture partner based in Cape Town whose goal is to foster entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa by helping to build scalable ventures.

Programmes: Springlab offers various resources to startups that include seed capital and resources from marketing and software development to administrative functions. 

Springlab also assists ventures with the development of products using cutting-edge technology. They help startups build strategic partnerships in various industries.  

Past incubatees: 

  • RecoMed is advertised as South Africa’s largest online booking system. It is a free service that allows patients to find nearby doctors, dentists and other health professionals.
  • Geist, is a digital content marketing agency that helps businesses with their content strategies and digital products. 

 

InnoTech

Location: Cape Town

About: InnoTech is a Bandwidth Barn/Telkom FutureMakers programme focusing on web and mobile applications development, software development and design, and gaming.

InnoTech looks to stimulate the creation of new businesses and support the expansion and growth of existing companies through the uptake of technology and innovation capability.

Programmes: As part of the InnoTech programme, entrepreneurs receive professionally serviced office space and connectivity, mentorship and business training, and ultimately access to markets and potential additional funding via Telkom’s Enterprise Development Fund.

Past incubatees:

  •  Forge Technologies, a custom software development company.
  • Innovate South Africa provides a platform to ignite creative thinking, to nurture invention and encourage entrepreneurship among young people.
  • Light Bulb Research, a data analysis company that provides business intelligence services. 

 

The Shuttleworth Foundation

Location: Cape Town

About: The Shuttleworth Foundation is a small social investor that provides funding to dynamic leaders who are at the forefront of social change. They look for social innovators who are helping to change the world for the better and could benefit from a social investment model with a difference.

Programme: According to the foundation, the programme is at its core an experiment in open philanthropy and uses alternative funding methodologies and collaborative ways of working to ensure that every fellow receives the necessary support to succeed.

Past incubatees: 

  • FarmBot, a scalable, open source, automated precision farming machine with supporting software.
  • Open Whisper Systems, a company that develops frictionless applications for secure communication.
  • Commons Machinery, is a development company providing both infrastructure and services.

 

88mph

Location: Cape Town

About: 88mph makes investments in early stage mobile-web companies targeting the African market. They focus on ideas with potential to scale across Africa.

Programmes: Besides funding, 88mph offers startups immediate reach to Africa’s biggest growth markets via their tech hubs in Nairobi and Cape Town and through an agreement with several local hubs across Africa. This environment creates a competitive setting where startups spend three intensive months launching products and finding customers.

88mph works together with teams to raise follow-up funding after three months in the programme. 

Incubatees:

  • Apex Peak, a web-based short-term working capital finance platform.
  • 8BIT, an advertising network that lets premium brands connect with formerly hard to reach audiences. 
  • BYTE MONEY, a company that specialises in the receipting and allocation of payments for the insurance industry using a mobile POS (Point of Sale) terminal and our highly scalable PYP (Pay your Premium) platform. 

 

GAUTENG

The Innovation Hub

Location: Tshwane

About: The Innovation Hub is sub-Saharan Africa's first internationally accredited science and technology park which supports innovation, enterprise and skills development. Its main focus is on the ICT and advanced manufacturing, green economy and biosciences sectors

Programmes: There are five main programmes run by the Innovation Hub; the Maxum Business Incubator, that fast-tracks start-ups from the knowledge intensive sectors where entrepreneurs can create working partnerships as well as access to markets and resources.

The Climate Innovation Centre South Africa, offers financial assistance, business advisory services and other services to help clean-tech entrepreneurs develop advanced climate smart technologies.

The third is BioPark@Gauteng, a biosciences incubator that provides business development support to early stage biotech companies.

mLab Southern Africa, is a mobile applications laboratory that incubates innovation and entrepreneurship in the mobile channel as well as supporting the use of mobile solutions in government service delivery.

Their fifth programme is eKasi Labs that is aimed at establishing co-creation and innovation spaces in the townships where local communities are able to access the services and facilities that are offered at The Innovation Hub. 

Past incubatees: 

  • AfrocentricAfrocentric IP, an enterprise solutions provider that offers, among other things, data centre consolidation, optimization and management as well as open source enterprise integration. 
  • NalediNaledi 3d Factory, a tech company that uses virtual reality and 3D animation to communicate concepts and practices in a wide range of disciplines - including vocational skills development, industrial training and safety awareness, health, water and sanitation. 
  • Geekulcha, a tech startup that empowers young tech enthusiasts through ICT skills development and training as well as providing them with practical industry exposure.

BizSpark South Africa

Location: Johannesburg

About: BizSpark South Africa is an early-stage tech startup incubator that gives support to software development startups. 

Programmes: Incubatees get access to Microsoft software development tools and training and are connected with key industry players, including potential customers and investors. They also help with providing marketing visibility. 

Past incubatees: 

  • TechFolio, a strategic information consulting firm that assists organisations get maximum return for their technology investment. organisations get maximum return for their technology investment. 
  • PracMate, a 100% black-owned company that enables computers and information technology to optimise output for their clients.
  • Innovation Lounge, which specialises in mobile application development for Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows phone, as well as web development.

Jozi Hub

Location: Johannesburg

About: JoziHub is a co-creation space in Johannesburg dedicated to creating sustainable change in Africa. Its incubator helps to kickstart and accelerate innovation in the tech and social spheres with the larger aim of fostering a culture of openness and innovation. kickstart and accelerate innovation in the tech and social spheres with the larger aim of fostering a culture of openness and innovation. 

Programmes: JoziHub encourages creative collaboration. They also facilitate partnerships between research, private sector and public institutions to support and nurture developers, innovators and startups. JoziHub is also partnered with internationally recognised organisations including organisations including IS Labs, Silicon Cape Initiative, Omidyar Network, Praekelt Foundation and Google for Entrepreneurs.

Past incubatees: 

 

SoftstartSoftstart Business & Technology Incubator

Location: Johannesburg

About: SoftstartSoftstart BTI is an incubator that aims to improve enterprise performance, enhance profitability and growth, and offers technology and management support to South African ICT SMEs. 

Programmes: According to Softstart BTI, their business incubation offers support through a vast array of channels which include business support and business resources.Softstart BTI, their business incubation offers support through a vast array of channels which include business support and business resources.

Qualifying startups are given assistance with access to a bank loan or the necessary investment they need. Softstart BTI says they can also assist startups with their marketing efforts. The Softstart BTI says they can also assist startups with their marketing efforts. The programme also offers startups access to contacts to help them network their business and to set up strategic partnerships. 

SoftstartSoftstart Incubatees:  

  • Mazia Capital, an information technology enterprise asset management company.
  • Techno Vision, a tech equipment supplier that offers computers, notebooks, software.
  • Sai Telecoms, a vertically integrated company that specialises in Information Communication Technology related products and services.
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