The Black Management Forum (BMF) is proud to announce the launch of the BMF Innovation & Invention Programme (BMFIIP) 2020 in partnership with Standard Bank. The programme has the objective of preparing South Africa's start-ups and professionals to embrace the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in line with the objectives set out by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The BMFIIP provides a platform for innovators and inventors with novel ideas, products and services to improve their concepts using leading practice innovation methodologies, validate them with customers, prototype them and take them to market. Through this programme participants learn innovation, invention, and start-up methodologies that enable them to tackle any idea or challenge using proven methods that significantly increase the probability of success. Innovators who participate in the programme gain widespread recognition and have a chance to win funding to make their ideas a reality.
The Covid-19 crisis has thrust the world into an unexpected shutdown, forcing economies into a standstill, while also highlighting opportunities where technology can be used to allow businesses and society to maintain some level of operation. Innovation in general and especially that which is powered by information and communication technology (ICT) is critical to the growth and development of South Africa. In a world where every business is considered a technology business, technology-powered innovation can be utilised to tackle some of the country's challenges, including unemployment. According to a May 2017 StatsSA report, the ICT sector contributed 2.7% towards GDP in 2014 – more than Agriculture (2.4%) but less than Tourism (3.1%).This sector is, therefore, a priority area for development and growth.
The programme runs over four months, afterwhich participants with the best innovation and inventions will be selected. One of the key objectives of this programme is to pave the way for economic inclusion and participation of previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs) in new and future industries. There is also a focus on encouraging the participation of women.
90% of the Top 5 innovative entrepreneurs from the previous cohorts boast significant job creation and revenue growth numbers since participating in the programme. These innovative entrepreneurs have introduced disruptive technologies and businesses in energy, construction, banking, insurance, media, information technology, telecommunications, waste management, and water management.
As expressed by BMF Gauteng Chairperson, Mpho Moseki, “the programme enables entrepreneurs and professionals to participate in the incubation process by not only providing training, mentorshio and funding to successful participants, but also connecting them with key ecosystem players and creating exposure and recognition for successful start-ups.”
BMF is grateful to Standard Bank for their sponsorship of this initiative. Through the BMFIIP, we seek to encourage South Africans to shape their future and take ownership of how the Fourth Industrial Revolution will play out in South Africa. Those that have big ideas on how to resolve the world's challenges will be elevated and supported.
“It has been inspiring to see the calibre of businesses that have come through our business development partnership with The Black Management Forum. The partnership, running for a third year now, keeps growing in strength and is yet another example of how Standard Bank is committed to supporting the country’s heartbeat, our small enterprises, through not only funding solutions, but developmental initiatives and opportunities to access new markets as well. We look forward to seeing more businesses grow and unlock opportunities in this year’s leg of the programme.” – Jenine Zachar, Head: Enterprise Development
The BMF, in partnership with Standard Bank, invites all majority black-owned start-ups and PDI innovators to apply for the 2020 BMF Innovation & Invention Programme. The application form can be accessed here. Applications close on 16 June 2020.