The Why and the How

Entrepreneurship activity is at the highest level it has ever been. This is according to the Global Entrepreneurship
Monitor’s latest report for South Africa.

With the economic spotlight on entrepreneurship and the development of small businesses in South Africa over the past few years – it is critical that all players in this dynamic eco-system are engaging, learning and growing. It is for this reason that the Southern African Business and Technology Incubation Association (SABTIA) has been reignited by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA).

There are at least 150 incubation programmes in South Africa, most of which are supported through government.
There is, however, limited information on the effectiveness of the entrepreneurial ecosystem which is operating in an
industry that is constantly evolving to meet regional dynamics.

And hence, the current debate: Does incubation work? This is a complex question incited by so many contrasting
perceptions from different areas of society; from the private investor looking for good deal flow to government
reviewing job creation outcomes and businesses meeting their compliance expectations. The lens through which we
judge the success of the incubator model is key to answering this question and with so many desired outcomes in play, there is no direct answer.

Measuring the impact of investment made in SMME development programs, specifically incubation, is something the sector needs to get right. We can measure incubation success in a variety of quantitative and qualitative ways, but
what are we measuring it against?

This is where Sabtia becomes relevant. We seek to build best practice models in an inclusive incubation and
acceleration system which will better serve small businesses and can ultimately sustain the future of meaningful
business incubation in South Africa.

How will we do this?

It starts with conversations. Conversations that lead to knowledge-sharing and collaboration. In the next few months
SABTIA will be hosting a series of round-tables that will address:

  •  The status of incubation in South Africa.
  • Incubation models and understanding industry definitions.
  •  Policy affecting Incubation.
  •  The unintended consequences of incubation.
  •  Key challenges in the Value Chain.
  •  Finding Best Practise.

Sabtia will also:

  • Develop and manage an accredited incubation management programme which will provide access to SABTIA’s
    partner network and education platforms. View our membership options here.
  •  Lead several training workshops and boot camps. Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming Tech
  •  Facilitate events that will enable funding opportunities and provide marketing opportunities for SMMEs.
  • Provide consistent and optimised research on local and international SMME development trends.

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