AIN Conference Durban 2010 Day 2 PM 18th March

March 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Posted in Business Support, Economic Development, incubation, incubator, startup, Tools | Leave a comment
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Our second session today focusing on Good Practices and Economies of Scale was moderated by Prof Norman Faull of the University of Cape Town and a SEDA board member.                


UPSCALING and REPLICATING INCUBATION session presenters Julie, Mthunzi, Cornelius & Michael


The speakers in this session included Mr. Michael Reddy, the CEO of Furntech Incubators HQ CapeTown RSA [7off],                

Furntech: Government, through its National Skills Development Strategy, identified training and skills development as significant drivers of international competitiveness and organisational development. In response to these requirements, the DTI funded the establishment and operationalisation of Furntech as a world-class service provider to South Africa’s wood products and furniture industries in the fields of incubation, training, technology transfer and technology demonstration.                

Michael made everyone pay attention by claiming first place in any incubation race! – Furntech are delighted to share their success with any visiting delegation, he tells us, because by the time we get up to his shoulders he and his team will be able to spurt ahead easily with new ideas and initiatives.   Furntech have replicated their incubator model 7 times now around South Africa and sure are having an impact internationally as well as domestically in the furniture supply sector.  TIC Nigeria       

Dr. Julie Momah, the Deputy Director of Technology, Technology Incubation Centres Nigeria, gave us an excellent overview of why Nigeria has invested for over 2 decades [first established 1988] in using incubation as a lever and building mechanism  for economic development.               

Nigeria [24 incubators] currently follows South Africa [40 incubators] in the number of technology centres in operation. So we have much to learn from their progress and future vision, particularly their well established stakeholder network. Stakeholder network         




TIC Kebbi

TIC Kebbi


Incubator model
Incubator model
 Mr.  Cornelius   Scheepers, the CEO of the Soshanguve   Manufacturing Technology Demonstration Centre [SMTDC] spoke to his subject ENTERPRISE INCUBATION Development Strategy, Twashane LED. RSA . 
Stemming from a Tri-nations working party collaboration[ Brazil / India / South Africa ], TDC’s are a winning concept adapted for African circumstance. This addresses broad-based black empowerment, BBE, new enterprise creation, increasing skills levels and GDP. It is replicable in various areas of South African economic development.

Finally Mthunzi Nyandeni the CEO of the Seda Construction Incubator, Durban RSA in South Africa.   SCI is the first incubator in the world targeting and supporting entrepreneurs within the Construction sector. Their business model includes clients paying SCI, a 1% share of contract sales turnover won, in return for entrepreneurial support, services and accommodation provided.            

Durban Stadium

World Cup Stadium completed Feb 2010


Crucially SCI now has a hub and 3 branches taking this incubator model to the RSA construction sector. Note To DAC Speaking to clients on our trip to SCI Durban tomorrow is a must – what is their experience of this process – How are they able to succeed in winning multi million rand contracts when elsewhere outside the incubator they remained individuals – brickies, painters, plumbers, scaffolders, carpenters  – on a survival existence?             

Session 3 today on Technology Incubation was to be moderated by Dr. Johannes Potgieter, the Chief Director of Innovation and Technology in the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa and we had:             

The CEO of eGoliBio, Pretoria, RSA, Mr. Sipho Moshoane. eGoliBio is a contender for NBIA Incubator of year, 2010 at the upcoming Convention in the USA.  Well done and good luck in the finals  Team  eGliBio!        

eGoliBio“Collaboration is the key” Sipho gave us a look under the bonnet of his incubator – how it is collaborating and contracting, using MoU’s, with local, regional, national + African, USA, Indian, Brazilian and European, MNC’s and Academic research institutions.             

These cross-sector actions are all designed to bring new innovations to create and perfect IP faster than before, each with the maximum added value and channels to international markets.            

Smart Xchange



Ms. Robin Erwin, the CEO of infoDEV award-winning Smart Exchange of South Africa. Robin tells us that the SmartXchange incubation model is still being adapted and developed in the light of experience and feedback from incubatees and supporters.  No one is resting on their laurels of past successes.           

Clearly and crucially, Robynne explains to us how and why SmartXchange uses events and forums extensively in awareness raising. Allowing sponsors, SME’s, local government and academia access to their clients in order to cross fertilise ICT needs and software solutions.   Again we hear how monitoring and goal setting with their clients is crucial to successful and timely graduation as SmartXchange repeats its successful results time and time again. Rental costs increase over time to encourage exit. Hot-desking and virtual clients are incentivised and encouraged. Even the best of startups need specific training and discipline to embed financial controls and monthly reporting. To remain a client this is the norm.          

New initiatives with their own Microsoft Accredited Academy include training youth people and women – giving them access to technology, skills and increased confidence that ICT is indeed a career path open to all in Durban. New companies need these internet savvie and computer literate recruits.          

Ms. Leoni Greyling, the CEO of Softstart Business Technology Incubator, Johannesburg RSA. Leoni brought our attention to their successful hub and spoke model of “satellite incubation” – raising awareness in academic institutions and leading students and post-graduate researchers to become entrepreneurial in their vision and thirst for commercial success.          


softstart focus


Assessing graduates via business planning through virtual pre-incubator, business incubation and then into bricks and mortar on either a hot desking or full-time basis as teams form and head for market.           

Softstart BTIThe primary focus of SoftstartBTI is on the Concept and Development Phases of ventures. Businesses in the Concept Phase, for instance, make use of SoftstartBTI’s mentoring services in the development of a coherent conceptual analysis.        

These are encapsulated and charted monthly and quarterly using tailored software which is also available to all infoDEV / AIN incubators.   

Mr. Chris Vermeulen, the General Manager for Bandwidth Barn, Cape Town, RSA.    Chris took us through the Bandwidth Barn incubation programme including telling  impact assessments in terms of survival, turnover and jobs sustained. An impressive 78 – 99% of the BwB companies created, streamed and graduated are surviving in the Cape Province.     Launched in 2000 as CITI’s flagship project, the Bandwidth Barn fast tracks the pace of business growth in the ICT sector in the Western Cape by helping businesses to establish themselves, commercialise new products and services, create jobs and wealth and add economic diversity to the community.          

Focusing on SMMEs in the Province, the BWB encourages innovation and provides ongoing training and support needed to help clients to overcome the entry barriers to start-up, survival and grow their businesses and thus accelerating their development.           

The BWB executes its strategy via its Accel Enterprise Development Programme, including the Velociti, My Business Group, My Mentor and Women in ICT enterprise development programmes. Running as well their ICT awareness programmes such as Youth in IT and VIP Graduate.          

The most recent announcement of the Cisco partnership and graduate competitions are typical of their groundbreaking work.           

Business incubator Bandwidth Barn has been accredited as a Cisco Entrepreneur Institute training centre. As part of the winning mandate, Bandwidth Barn will create an additional 10 local institutes over an 18-month period.           

Each of the training centres will give entrepreneurs access to a broad network of other business owners, mentors, partners, and distribution channels. “Through this powerful network, we will be more able to develop best practice, while offering our local entrepreneurs a global stage for learning, and potentially their products and services.” says Chris. According to Cisco, the entrepreneur institute targets predominantly emerging market countries. It offers a series of workshops made up of business-relevant content from Stanford University, Cornell University, and non-profit development organisation, My Own Business.          

Participants discuss strategic ideas ranging from information delivery to the use of Internet technologies to drive business growth. Cisco points to the lack of business skills and poor access to technology as being the primary reasons for business failure.          

Bessie Manchu, Cisco Entrepreneur Institute territory manager for SA, says: “With the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute, core business skills and knowledge on how to use technology to their advantage is taught to help equip entrepreneurs and create a positive economic and social impact in South African communities.”           

 We have almost arrived at the end of DAY 2 of the 3 day conference programme and everyone we have spoken to is clear that this has been highly inspirational to many delegates and guest speakers – a highly charged and timely delivery of the best incubation practices and programmes currently running in Africa.          

Throughout the proceedings on Day 1 & 2 our speakers and moderators have received stunning memento’s of our time in Durban. These have been made by local artisans and crafts people and framed by Furntech cabinet makers.    

I look forward to my own hanging as a reminder of what has been a life changing week spent with my colleagues, friends and new aquaintances. Thankyou all for contributing and participating whole-heartedly.    

Now that we have met face to face, we each look forward to continue the experience by working and collaborating online – especially with those of you who have sought me out for access, coaching and training in sharing knowledge and meeting virtually via our AIN resources on the Internet.     

At close of today’s proceedings, CEO of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA): Ms. Hlonela Lupuwana, Mr. Sipho Zikode, the Acting Deputy Director General in the Department of Trade and Industry (South Africa), and Mr. Michael Reddy, the CEO of Furntech would deliver the concluding address, which was followed by the vote of thanks by Mr. Jayesh Ravjee, The Head of SEDA Technology Programme and Chairperson of the SABTIA:RSA.              

Mignon flip charts

Mignon flip charts


 In direct response to a question posed from the floor by the DTI representative – Everyone participated in an impromptu half hour – “What one thing would we like to be / do different due to this conference?”    This produced a flip chart list of 20 actions /outcomes that we all wish to see happen before we meet again next year! {placeholder for same}           

The evening Gala Dinner and SABTIA Recognition Awards downtown at the Hilton Hotel were to prove just as entertaining as everything we have experienced thus far – watch this space………            

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