#Africa Port Elizabeth incubator claims impressive startup job creation, turnover figures

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The Port Elizabeth-based SEDA Nelson Mandela Bay ICT Incubator (SNII) has 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.

The incubator runs a variety of programmes for startups at different stages of their development, and in the last year established 10 new ICT and technology startups. In total, SNII had 26 SMMEs in various stages of incubation during the period under review.

These startups created 37 direct and 81 indirect jobs between April 2014 and March 2015, with the incubator saying it will continue to drive small business enterprise development through support and incubation of Port Elizabeth ICT and technology startups.

SNII centre manager Sipelo Lupondwana said strong growth in job creation, aggregate growth in turnover of the incubator’s clients and new startups was good news for the regional economy.

He said the incubator will continue to focus on providing world-class incubation support to SMMEs, unlock strategic partnerships with the private sector and play a much stronger role in support the development of Port Elizabeth as a smart city.

“Firstly, we will continue to be the place where Port Elizabeth’s technology entrepreneurs, young ICT businesses, and inventors with ideas come to in order to be developed into successful enterprises. We have world-class office facilities and spaces, IT infrastructure and connectivity to reduce the cost of doing business. We also have good business coaches, mentors and business support services in place,” Lupondwana said.

The incubator said 100 per cent of its incubated enterprises survived their first year in the market, with 94.5 per cent of startups still in operation after their second year of business.

“One of our immediate aims now is to unlock meaningful partnerships with global and local private firms. Enterprise development cannot succeed without support from big technology and ICT companies,” said Lupondwana.

“We want to bring blue-chip companies such as Microsoft, IBM South Africa, Datatec, Dimension Data, Siemens South Africa, Altec, EOH and Pinnacle Technology into this incubator, to share ideas, technologies and leadership with us and to help groom a next generation of tech entrepreneurs. We will also look at creating partnerships with international universities, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

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