Fifteen black-owned entrepreneurs are currently taking part in the eight-week InnoTech incubation and acceleration programme at the Bandwidth Barn in Cape Town, after which five will be selected to progress to the next phase.
Disrupt Africa reported in July the Bandwidth Barn launched InnoTech, inviting applications from startups focused on the themes “Better Living”, “Sustainable Business”, “Smart Cities” and “Greener Planet”.
The programme was rolled out as part of a three-year multimillion rand partnership with part state-owned operator Telkom, aimed at developing and operating accelerator programmes for tech entrepreneurs.
InnoTech programme is focused on web and mobile application development, software development and design and gaming, and looks to stimulate the creation of new businesses and support the growth of existing startups through the uptake of technology and innovation capability.
Entrepreneurs at the concept or early prototype stages of their business began the programme on August 31 as InnoTech Fellows in the Telkom FutureMakers programme, with concepts ranging from on-campus printing solutions to on-demand laundry services.
They are currently undergoing an eight-week process of assessment of the commercial viability of their ideas, structured as a “Pitch Deck Journey”. InnoTech Fellows interrogate the concepts underlying each slide in a traditional investor pitch, culminating in a presentation to a panel.
All modules are presented by expert facilitators, but delivered in a way that maximises peer learning and support. Modules and feedback sessions are complemented by experiential learning, visits to established Cape Town businesses, and access to networking and ideation events.
At the end of the eight-week process, five startups will be selected via a pitching session to continue into a three-month process, during which they will receive business and technical support to launch a product into the market.