Finding an office and an internet connection for start-up businesses is never easy, let alone finding capital and mentorship. But Khayelitsha’s technology innovation hub, The Barn, is making a call to businesses and would-be entrepreneurs to freely use its space, which will help them look professional and operate with integrity.
The Barn Khayelitsha is the first of its kind in the area.
It brings creative minds from the area and Mitchell’s Plain into a common space to keep up with the innovations and the technological revolution.
It provides the space, training programmes, mentorship and help with businesses plans to those who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs.
Fezeka Mavuso, business de_velopment manager at The Barn, said the centre is set to become the technological hub in Khayelitsha where everyone can come to learn.
She said the structure is in place to transform the whole area, creating more opportunities and adding value.
She said she was proud that the centre is helping developers incubate and grow their ideas.
“We would like to create a tech hub environment. We have the space. We give integrity and that professional image to business start-ups. Connectivity is free and we also have programmes to take them through,” she said.
However, she said it has not been easy. She said most business people come asking for money.
“I think many missed the idea of who we are. The Barn is an innovation hub that gives space for innovative entrepreneurs, young and old, for them to start their own businesses. We have all sorts of programmes like mentoring, training and coaching in different disciplines for innovative entrepreneurs,” she said.
Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde is helping 40 entrepreneurs to develop their concepts, along with the Department of Agriculture.
During his visit to the incubator on Thursday July 6 to see how it is doing, Mr Winde said he was impressed with the progress.
But he left the young entrepreneurs with homework: finding ways to solve gangsterism and crime in their communities.
He urged them to use the
R3 billion broadband roll-out to full effect to grow their businesses.
He said the technological revolution should be able to help them with innovative ways to fight crime.
He also urged them to help each other to be successful.
“Do not be afraid to put the problems on the table. Do not be scared to fail. Get up and move on. To those who are succeeding, support the guys that failed.”
The young entrepreneurs saw The Barn as a big booster for economic growth. They praised the work done at the incubator to help them grow.
Ayanda Cuba and Buntu Makole from Sporting Code were grateful to have been given a space to grow their business.
“Through The Barn we have been able to hold meetings. Our peers were given a space and they used it at their level best. Having a space like The Barn is key to our growth,” said Mr Makole.
Another entrepreneur, Sandile Kula, who is an artist, said he collaborated with other business partners though The Barn. “When you are at home you are isolated and all the negative things would cloud your mind. But here you always have people who are business-minded around you,” he said. The Barn will have a whole range of programmes soon.
Call 021 361 0145 for details.