The 2018 class of small businesses incubated in the SME TradeLinks Incubator Programme has completed the 6-month programme and received their Certificates of Completion during a graduation ceremony held on Thursday 6 December 2018 at The Soweto Hotel in Kliptown to celebrate this important event. The event was attended by representatives of corporate sponsors as well as friends and family of the graduating class.

The SME TradeLinks Small Business Incubator is located within the Regus Business Centre in Sandton and has capacity to host up to 15 enterprises per intake. The facility features fully kitted boardrooms, meeting rooms, and offices.

The incubator offers a basket of business development services comprising advisory services, coaching, mentoring, skills development training, market access facilitation, as well as access to finance through strategic partnerships with fintech companies FundingHub and Fundrr.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Salifou Siddo, the SME TradeLinks Chief Executive reiterated that the aim of the incubator is to provide support that helps to accelerate the growth of young and emerging enterprises and increase their chances of becoming sustainable. The programme provides the ideal platform for young entrepreneurs to learn, network, receive support and advice from highly qualified mentors and business experts as well as from fellow incubatees.

According to Rod Cusens, the SME TradeLinks Incubator Resident Expert, the incubation programme and its curriculum have been designed on the principles that, in order to succeed, small businesses need access to information, skills, advice, finance and markets. The curricular programme, therefore,  covers a wide range of topics related to such needs and is delivered in a format that accommodates the time constraints inherent in running a small business.

Speaking on behalf of the graduating class, Mr. Mzwakhe Sangweni, the owner of Clean N Care Cleaning Xperts, an SMME sponsored by Reed Exhibitions, conveyed a collective message of gratitude and thanks to the corporate sponsors who made it possible for incubatees to participate in the programme.

Representatives of corporate sponsors – Thembisile Dhladhla-Semaushu from Rennies Travel, Raylene van Wyk from Rennies Red Stamp Club and Nadine Sookdin from Reed Exhibitions – took turns to congratulate the graduates and encourage them to strive for excellence in their business endeavors.

Finally, the event’s guest speaker, seasoned entrepreneur Jazzman Mahlakgane, delivered a highly motivating keynote address in which he shared his own experiences and insights in terms of what makes entrepreneurs successful. The event culminated into lunch and a guided tour of Soweto.

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