The first cohort of 11 small business operators in the SME TradeLinks Incubator Programme has completed the 6-month incubation programme and a graduation ceremony was held on Thursday 7 December 2017 to mark this important milestone.
The SME TradeLinks Small Business Incubator is located within the Inanda Greens Business Park in Wierda Valley in Sandton on premises sponsored by international banking giant Credit Suisse. The facility has capacity to host up to 15 enterprises per intake and features fully kitted workstations, offices for mentors and facilitators, and meeting rooms.
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 a strategic partnership with newly established Fintech company FundingHub.
The aim of the incubator is to provide support that can accelerate the growth of young and emerging enterprises and increase their chances of becoming sustainable.
In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Salifou Siddo, the SME TradeLinks Chief Executive explained that the launch of the SME TradeLinks Small Business Incubation Programme, in June 2017, was a major milestone in the company’s strategy for meeting the needs of small businesses. 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 were designed and built on the principles that, in order to succeed, small businesses need access to information, skills, advice and finance. The incubation programme covered a wide range of topics related to those needs. In order to accommodate the limited time availability, the incubation programme followed a flexible delivery format that combined site visits, one on one mentoring and coaching sessions, as well as monthly group mentoring sessions.
Speaking on behalf of the graduating class, Ms. Margaret Salome Mouton, the owner of EQS Events Management, an SMME sponsored by Reed Exhibitions, expressed gratitude to the corporates who have made it possible for incubatees to participate in the incubation programme. “We have learned a great deal from this programme; we have acquired knowledge and skills that will take us very far on our entrepreneurial journey,” Mouton stated.
The graduation ceremony included a line-up of representatives from sponsoring corporates on hand to encourage and motivate incubatees.
Contact for media: Dr. Salifou Siddo, Chief Executive: SME TradeLinks. Phone: (011) 012 7722; Cell : 082 802 3318 ; E-mail: Salifou@smetradelinks.co.za