South Africa’s Port Elizabeth-based SEDA Nelson Mandela Bay ICT Incubator (SNII) has announced the opening of a new on-site technology research and development (R&D) centre, providing technical assistance to incubator participants.
The new R&D lab will offer assistance and support to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Port Elizabeth in designing and developing apps, software solutions, and electronic and mechanical device prototypes.
SNII said, importantly, entrepreneurs who use the facility will be able to develop new technology solutions and own the intellectual property and patents on what they develop.
“This is a giant step forward for sustainable SMME development in the ICT sector in Nelson Mandela Bay,” said Scott Zambonini, enterprise development manager at SNII.
“If you have always dreamed of a new app or had an idea for a technology product or service, the R&D lab will help to develop a concept into something concrete,” he said.
Zambonini said a key advantage of the lab is that SNII incubator clients and technology entrepreneurs will be able to get new products and services to market much faster and at a lower cost, by making technical infrastructure and experts accessible.
“The R&D Lab is envisioned as the city’s technology innovation epicentre,” said Zambonini.
“The facility will not only empower private and public sector organisations who require technological innovation to remain at the forefront, but will also help SMME’s, tech startups, entrepreneurs and clients enrolled on our incubation programmes to take their ideas to a more concrete phase of development,” he said.
Disrupt Africa reported at the end of 2015 SNII released performance results for its 2014/15 financial year, claiming startups supported by the incubator saw job creation rise 18 per cent year-on-year and turnover grow by an average of 25 per cent.