Propella incubator opens satellite offices at Neave Industrial Park
Punted as a way to bolster the township economy of Nelson Mandela Bay and encourage the development of information and communications technology (ICT), Propella business incubator launched its new satellite offices at the Neave Industrial Park on Tuesday.
Propella business incubator manager Anita Palmer said the virtual launch hosted at the satellite office in Bennett Street, Korsten, was intended to bring to the public’s attention the work Propella was doing to correct disparities within the business sector.
“Through this initiative we hope to encourage more opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” Palmer said.
Project co-ordinator Nafeesa Dinie said with the launch of the Propella satellite offices the hope was to have emerging entrepreneurs and established businesses collaborate and especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“At a time of crisis there is also time where challenges can be tackled and ideas developed,” Dinie said.
Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) Technology Programme executive manager Nosipho Khonkwane said the decision to partner with Propella on the project was a chance to extend the reach of opportunities to townships and rural communities.
“This will create an impact on the business environment for Nelson Mandela Bay and the province at large,” Khonkwane said.
In light of lockdown, Khonkwane said physical boundaries were a thing of the past and with the use of digital technology anyone could access the initiatives proposed by Propella.
“Access to the market is a key challenge to entrepreneurs [and] we challenge businesses to open up opportunities to these entrepreneurs,” Khonkwane said.
Khonkwane said the Covid-19 pandemic had opened up many opportunities to start a business but guidance and assistance in the form of business incubation was imperative.
Propella board member Dr Richardo Dames said the launch of the satellite office in Bennett Road bridged the gap between innovation and townships.
“Positioned here at Neave Industrial Park we are bridging the divide. This is a gateway as it is less than five kilometres from the townships,” Dames said.
With more than 40 industries on site at the satellite offices, Dames said he looked forward to collaborations between emerging businesses and entrepreneurs and those who have the business know how.
“This kind of establishment needs deep pockets and now we have access to potential funders as we take Propella to higher places for township incubatees,” Dames said.
Dinie said the online call for potential incubatees which ended last month had seen 97 applications submitted with 68 of them applying to make use of the satellite office.
“This shows you the demand for something like this,” Dinie said.
Of the 97, a short list of applications would be invited to take part in an upcoming boot camp this month after which further selections would be made.
The boot camp is intended for aspiring tech entrepreneurs that need assistance in getting started with their technology or ICT based business ideas, Dinie said.
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