It’s now no secret that successful, formalised entrepreneurial businesses contribute to an economy’s success. This is even truer in emerging markets, where employment opportunities are often scarce and precarious.
As the bank that services the greatest market share of business banking accounts in the country, we realise that we have a responsibility to help start-ups contribute South Africa’s economic development. To this end, the Standard Bank Incubator was launched in late 2015, providing promising small businesses with much-needed support, and access to networks and corporate value chains.
As a testament to this initiative’s success and popularity, there are currently three different types of incubators: The Business Incubator in Rosebank, Johannesburg provides mentoring, coaching, and access to training in enterprise development and content delivery for corporates; the Technical Incubator, also in Johannesburg, offers access to technical support on manufacturing, design, 3D printing, patenting and new technologies to enable rapid prototyping; and the One Virtual Incubator in Cape Town provides access to development opportunities.
Less than a year after the official launch, the Incubators have received global recognition and can boast more than 100 alumni with inspiring success stories. Some of these include:
Till: A point-of-sale solution for other SMEs that manages their stock and provides helpful analytics to help them grow
SA Florist: An online marketplace for ordering South African flower arrangements and gift hampers
Value Forest: A platform that allows the user to conduct only one search to find the best deals on sites like Gumtree and OLX
Bookclubbing: A mobile app that helps book lovers and book clubbers stay organised
According to Jayshree Naidoo, Head of the Standard Bank Incubator, the Incubators have the potential to add 350 thriving businesses to the economy annually, because they focus on the sustainability of new businesses. And, because the businesses will be fundamentally innovative, they will help lay a foundation for an extremely competitive, producer economy that will attract investment for African ideas.