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Google launches African tech incubator

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by Gurta, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Gurta

    Gurta JF-Expert Member

    Apr 11, 2011
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    Internet giant Google has announced the launch of Umbono, a Cape Town-based technology incubator that will provide qualifying internet and mobile technology entrepreneurs with seed capital, mentorship and six months' office space and free bandwidth.

    By bringing together seed capital, Google mentorship, "angel investors", local tech stars, entrepreneurs and business leaders, the Umbono programme aims to help selected internet or mobile-focused start-up teams to transform their ideas into companies.

    "As part of its goal to strengthen the web ecosystem across Africa, Google hopes that Umbono will further encourage the growth of the developer community and support the country's already flourishing tech sector," Google South Africa programme manager Johanna Kollar said in a statement this week.

    Google said it had selected Cape Town to host the pilot of its new incubator concept because the city was in "the process of positioning itself as a hub for innovation and technology".

    Mentorship, office space, bandwidth

    For a period of six months, qualifying teams will enjoy free office space and bandwidth, in addition to the US$25 000 to $50 000 (R175 000 to R350 000) in funding they'll receive from Umbono's panel of angel investors and Google.

    Funding will be disbursed around milestones; a customized schedule will be drafted with each team upon programme induction, based on an anticipated development schedule. It is up to the recipients to decide how to use the funds.

    Capital from 'angel investors' will be exchanged for equity (10%) and will be governed by standard terms of investment - the same terms for each team.

    "Teams will not only benefit from local connections, but also from the extensive mentorship network of Google experts who can provide guidance on issues ranging from product design and commercialisation to legal incorporation and valuation," Kollar said.

    Working with local partners

    Google is collaborating with the Silicon Cape Initiative and the Bandwidth Barn to ensure that Umbono's teams are well positioned to succeed.

    Umbono teams will have access to the Bandwidth Barn's VeloCITI program. This program covers all business topics relevant to an emerging business, from business model definition to market segmentation and pricing strategies.

    The 10 business modules and four additional financial modules are led by external topic experts and business leaders.

    Applications are available on the Umbono website, open to all South African residents. The deadline for the first round applicants is April 15, but the website will continue to host applications for all interested candidates.

  2. EMT

    EMT JF-Expert Member

    Apr 11, 2011
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    hii inakuwaje mkuu. Itabidi niisome zaidi.
  3. Gurta

    Gurta JF-Expert Member

    Apr 11, 2011
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    Business incubators are designed specifically to help start-up firms. They usually provide:

    • flexible space and leases, many times at very low rates
    • fee-based business support services, such as telephone answering, bookkeeping, secretarial, fax and copy machine access, libraries and meeting rooms
    • group rates for health, life and other insurance plans
    • business and technical assistance either on site or through a community referral system
    • assistance in obtaining funding
    • networking with other entrepreneurs

    The primary goal of a business incubator is to produce successful businesses that are able to operate independently and financially viable.

    The first identifiable business incubator was launched in Batavia, New York in 1959.

    Business incubation is on the rise on a global scale. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) actively monitors and promotes the development of business incubators worldwide. They estimate that there are at 500 incubators in developing and transition countries with an annual growth rate for new incubators being about 20 percent annually.

    There are a wide variety of reasons for operating an incubator. There may be
    • a need for job creation in the community,
    • promotion of economic self-sufficiency for a selected population group,
    • diversification of the local economy,
    • transfer of technology from universities and corporations, or
    • sharing venture experiences with new companies by successful entrepreneurs and investors.

    There is no question that whatever the motivation behind the incubator, it is an economic boon for the community, providing jobs and an expanded business base.

    source: Business Incubation -