University of Johannesburg launches tech business incubator

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The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is to launch an incubator aimed at supporting thousands of youth-driven businesses in the technology sector.

The incubator will be established in partnership with the Finnish Laurea University of Applied Sciences, based in Helsinki.

Laurea University is known for its role in boosting youth entrepreneurship in Finland, and will work with UJ to help students launch their own businesses and create jobs.

“We want to see our students and other young people start businesses valuable to the economy. We want them to create jobs and grow local economies rather than to be looking for employment,” said UJ vice chancellor Professor Ihron Rensburg.

“Obviously we train them to be ready for the workplace. However, we want far more young people to plan and start businesses, understanding what it takes, how it needs to be done, and what support is available to make it a success.”

The partnership aims to encourage more UJ students to set up tech startups of their own.

“For an entrepreneur, going from a working concept to a viable business is a huge challenge. We want to see young people from across Africa present their startups to venture capital and angel capital, and qualify for funding to get their businesses up and running. We hope to start with South African youth entrepreneurs and go from there,” said Rensburg.

Professor Roy Marcus, chairperson of the UJ Council, said South Africa could learn a lot from Finland.

“They have developed very elegant models for creating startup businesses in science and technology. Laurea offers UJ the opportunity to create collaborations, not only between our universities, but also between South African and Finnish businesses, which is a very exciting aspect of this relationship,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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