Fourth Industrial Revolution laboratory Forge Academy, in partnership with Nokia and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) SMME Chamber, will host a showcase for small and medium-sized tech businesses and tech startups in Fourways on June 30.
The showcase is aimed at highlighting the development and growth of the small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMME) tech sector in South Africa and provide a platform for tech SMMEs that are creating employment and training opportunities, especially for the youth.
As such, Forge Academy is providing the opportunity for SMMEs to present their businesses to a panel of judges, the top six of which will stand a chance to win a place to exhibit their business and products at the Forge Academy Digital Street Festival on November 18.
The best presentations must offer responses to current national imperatives including education, connectivity, transport, municipal services and employment.
Forge Academy CEO Arthur Anderson says the showcase will select some of the most forward-thinking and innovative tech startups, with the festival offering exposure to potential investors who may be interested in injecting capital to accelerate their growth.
He adds that the ever-increasing rate of unemployment in South Africa, particularly among the youth, has long been one of the most pressing socioeconomic problems and should represent a dire warning to everyone.
“We can ignore this warning at our own peril. More so, some young work-seekers are not sufficiently educated and do not have the skillsets that employers and the marketplace demand,” says Anderson.
Therefore, ICT SMME Chamber executive chairperson Muzi Makhaye says, if entrepreneurs are encouraged and supported, like with the SMME showcase opportunity, then each tech startup can be positioned to become successful and help resolve the joblessness problem for young people.
Competing SMMEs will have to undertake a three-minute pitch and a seven-minute question and answer session, followed by a five-minute reset before the next pitch.
In addition to exhibiting at the Digital Street Festival, winners will also receive coaching and incubation sessions hosted at Forge Academy, digital marketing consultations, purchase order funding and an opportunity to network with potential investors.
A primary goal of Forge Academy is to create exposure for small tech companies for investment and growth opportunities, to raise their brand awareness and reputation for recognition and potential investment.