Telkom on Thursday announced plans to invest more than R100m in enterprise and supplier development initiatives as part of its FutureMakers programme, which is meant to grow access to technology and offer long-term support to its beneficiaries.
The company said FutureMakers supports small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) with funding, business development and telecommunications services.
“It works to identify and grow entrepreneurial opportunities across the ICT industry and within Telkom’s supplier value chains,” it said in a statement.
The programme will extend financial support to SMMEs that supply Telkom or that work within the broader sector, it said. “This funding will be in the form of working capital, loans and equity.”
Identity Development Fund will manage the fund on Telkom’s behalf.
Telkom is also investing in local suppliers and partners as well as potential suppliers, third-party distributors, Internet cafes and innovative technology start-ups through an initiative called FutureSource.
“Entrepreneurs who are part of the FutureSource initiative will receive business development support and training from some of South Africa’s top SMME development providers,” the company said.
Business incubation services, called FutureHubs, form a part of the FutureMakers strategy. FutureHubs are meant to stimulate innovation and technology uptake within small businesses, it said.
“The hubs reduce start-ups costs for new business and encouraging a support of collaborative environment for developing enterprises,” it said.
“Telkom’s longstanding sponsorship of the Bandwidth Barn in Cape Town will continue, along with a new programme to source, develop and support high innovation businesses.”
Telkom is also investing R5m in upgrading a co-working and incubation space in Tshimologong Precinct, Braamfontein, which will be ready in November 2015.
Partnerships, in the form of the FutureProof initiative, also form part of the FutureMakers strategy.
“By promoting entrepreneurial activity, Telkom is confident South Africa can improve competitiveness and job creation, across the ICT sector,” the company said.
“By growing entrepreneurial opportunities within ICT, we can create jobs, improve access to technology and develop a stable and competitive supply chain,” said Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko in the statement. – © 2015 NewsCentral Media