Local start-up incubator Seed Academy is offering free training to120 early-stage tech entrepreneurs.Seed Academy offers after-hours training once a week over 10 weeks, with support available for up to 18 months after the programme. Each course is valued at R16 000.
“We hope to attract those in the technology space, but we are open to any compelling businesses and business ideas,” says Lara Rosmarin, CEO of Seed Academy. “Emerging entrepreneurs are equipped to either start their own businesses or take their business to the next level.”
She explains all the participants are interviewed in a face-to-face setting. “We look at both the business idea and the entrepreneur. The combination of the two is where the magic lies.”
Rosmarin says the biggest challenge for South African entrepreneurs is crossing the chasm between ideation and the world of investable start-up.
She points out that funding does not equal success – rather productive execution and “business model in action” builds success.”So the most challenging risk start-ups need to mitigate is not financial risk; it’s market risk, which is sales and adoption. If they can draw sales and grow week by week, funding won’t be a problem. It’s about timing, knowledge and an understanding of the ecosystem more than anything else.”
She points out the challenge is most South Africans don’t see entrepreneurship as a realistic employment opportunity. “Small business skills aren’t really taught at school or college, and sometimes the hurdles to successful business ownership appear too big. At Seed Academy, we support entrepreneurs from start-up, to running their businesses, to growing their businesses, to gaining the funding they need to become stellar successes.”
Entrepreneurship is one element of the glue that holds communities together, says Rosmarin, adding that it provides self-employment opportunities for individuals, economic growth for the country as a whole, and creates more jobs, more money, more demand and more opportunity.
“Our mission is to educate entrepreneurs with a hands-on execution style of training, with the key focus on launching and or dramatically improving their ventures. We nurture, develop and train the skill sets, mind sets, attitudes and behaviour of potential high-growth entrepreneurs and provide them with access to their next growth checkpoints.”
In a statement, Seed Academy says over the past few years, job creation, as well as the development of entrepreneurs, has been at the forefront of the South African government’s mandate on account of SA’s 25% unemployment rate.
Entrepreneurs are invited to apply for the programme which begins on Tuesday, 30 September via www.seedacademy.co.za.
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb’s portals editor.