SmartXchange incubator launched

2016-07-21 06:00
 Officially opening the Hibiscus Coast SmartXchange MICTe and SMME Incubator are (from left) Hibiscus Coast Mayor Cllr Nomusa Mqwebu, Small Business Development Committee Chair Ruth Bhengu, Minister Lindiwe Zulu, SmartXchange director Precious Lugayeni and SmartXchange executive head, Palesa Phili.

Officially opening the Hibiscus Coast SmartXchange MICTe and SMME Incubator are (from left) Hibiscus Coast Mayor Cllr Nomusa Mqwebu, Small Business Development Committee Chair Ruth Bhengu, Minister Lindiwe Zulu, SmartXchange director Precious Lugayeni and SmartXchange executive head, Palesa Phili.

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THE Hibiscus Coast SmartXchange MICTe SMME Incubator, the first of its kind in KZN, was launched in Port Shepstone recently, and there are plans to launch three more - at Newcastle, Richards Bay and Pietermaritzburg.

SmartXchange is funded by eThekwini Municipality and its core mandate is to provide enterprise development services to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMES) in the media, information communication technology and electronics (MICTe) sector.

Minister for Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu and Small Business Development Portfolio Committee Chair, Ruth Bhengu were guests at the event.

Zulu addressed the attendees on the importance of the incubators.

She said the incubators would provide and develop MICTes while providing a platform for SMMEs.

She said the launch is testimony of the partnership SmartXchange has with government.

“This means people will know what local businesses are available on the Hibiscus Coast going through this incubator that is being launched today,” said Zulu.

Zulu said she hopes what she sees here today will be seen throughout the country.

Originally from Hibiscus Coast, SmartXchange CEO Jonathan Naidoo, said it gives him great pleasure to officially launch the Port Shepstone branch, which already has 10 business profiles under its wing.

Naidoo said SmartXchange has created 1 001 jobs and 2 780 casual jobs since it began.

He said he is grateful for partners involved in making the SmartXchange the best technology incubator centre.

Naidoo said in the past year SmartXchange received many awards and has enjoyed tremendous support from the private sector in the form of enterprise development and corporate social investment funding.

He said the aim of having this incubator­ under the Hibiscus Coast Municipality is to assist small businesses to qualify for grants they receive from one of their partners, Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).

“TIA is one of our partners, which provides an opportunity for our innovators to develop their concepts into prototypes ready for commercialisation.”

Naidoo said he is aware that government is launching technology hubs in the nodal points of the province and its is not SmartXchange’s aim to interfere with that.

In closing Bhengu said she is grateful that Naidoo did not forget about his home town Port Shepstone as employment is still an issue in the district.

SmartXchange is funded by eThekwini Municipality and its core mandate is to provide enterprise development services to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMES) in the media, information communication technology and electronics (MICTe) sector

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