South Africa’s Standard Bank today launched two business incubators aiming to support entrepreneurs, and “keep up” with the rapid pace of innovation.
The two new incubators in Johannesburg provide the facilities for entrepreneurs to test, develop, and deploy their innovations, with Standard Bank’s innovation and enterprise development partners on hand for mentorship and guidance.
Entrepreneurs will be supported in business development, acceleration and help with design and prototyping of products.
“Innovation is the new business currency. Being a successful business, large or small, depends on how efficiently you can bring new ideas to market, or convert existing products and services in such a way as to create new markets,” said Jayshree Naidoo, Standard Banks’s incubator head.
“Value chains are in urgent need of individual members who can refresh the way they function or what they have to offer. However, new ideas have to prove themselves to be accepted and that carries a price tag,” she said.
“So, training innovators in business skills is one part of a much bigger need for funding, access to resources, and market access. Our incubators are focused on providing the full spectrum of assistance.”
Standard Bank said in addition to business support, the incubators will provide entrepreneurs with access to the bank’s corporate network – who will be able to provide input as to what new skills, products, and services are needed to strengthen value chains.
The Bank will also assist incubated entrepreneurs with access to funding.
Further Virtual Incubators will also provide support to entrepreneurs in Cape Town – at the Workshop 17 co-working space -, and in the Free State, Limpopo, and KwaZulu-Natal.
Standard Bank expects 350 entrepreneurs to pass through the incubators each year.
“Because we will focus on the sustainability of innovative businesses, the incubators have the potential to add 350 thriving businesses to the economy annually. And, because the businesses will be fundamentally innovative, they will help lay a foundation for an extremely competitive, producer economy that will attract investment for South African ideas,” Naidoo said.