Startup and entrepreneurial businesses are characterised by high energy, high hopes and high expectations.
Port Elizabeth offers many advantages to these businesses – central location, institutional and private support, easy and quick accessibility within the city, a can-do mindset and friendly people willing to freely share insider knowledge and advice.
Start up businesses in Port Elizabeth have access to many different flavours of entrepreneurial support to assist them to go from Startup to global player.
What is lacking however is a forum in which these entrepreneurs can gather to share their experiences, network and learn from each other.
Filling that gap is Startup Grind Port Elizabeth which is a chapter of the global start-up community, Startup Grind. Represented on over 115 countries and in over 300 cities, Startup Grind has hosted more than a million entrepreneurs at regular Fireside Chats and events.
Startup Grind has been running in South Africa since 2013.
The format of the monthly meetups starts with an hour-long networking, helping like minded individuals to connect with each other, followed by a 45-minute fireside chat where a successful entrepreneur is interviewed to tell their business journey and any success (and failure) stories that formed part of it. The questions are structured in a way to inspire the entrepreneurs in the room on how they managed to make their business a success.
A 15-minute Q&A session, during which the audience can informally interview the main guest, is followed by another networking opportunity to solidify relationships that have been established.
Port Elizabeth Startup Grind Director, Alan Straton says; “Startup grind is a natural progression for myself coming from a background of tirelessly promoting Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay business and business excellence through various online publications such as MyPE.co.za and dovetails perfectly with my philosophy of making friends, giving more than expected and helping others. Along with the excitement of interacting with dynamic entrepreneurs I just may also be able to introduce them to some of my services on offer as well. Win win for everyone and the city that I love.”
Startup Entrepreneurial support systems with a physical presence in Port Elizabeth include:
1. The Industrial Development Corporation or IDC with offices in Newton Park, Port Elizabeth.
Established in 1940, the IDC is a national development finance institution set up to promote economic growth and industrial development. The IDC is a parastatal owned by the South African government under the supervision of the Economic Development Department.
They can be found at http://www.idc.co.za
2. The Hope Factory has offices in North End, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.
The vision of the Hope Factory is to play an active role in economic transformation in South Africa through advancing the sustainable growth of entrepreneurial Black businesses.
They can be found at http://www.thehopefactory.co.za
3. Absa has an Enterprise Development Centre based in Kwantu Towers, Vuyisile Mini Square, Govan Mbeki Avenue Port Elizabeth which services both local entrepreneurs and those in the broader Eastern Cape.
From 2016 Absa committed R250-million annually in non-traditional lending aimed at the SME sector in South Africa. This fund is available to SMEs that typically would not meet traditional lending criteria but have ability to generate income in the future.
All SMEs that visit the Enterprise Development Centres are offered access to Absa’s Procurement Portal, a virtual platform that links SME suppliers with blue-chip companies and government bodies, to encourage corporates to buy more services and products from SMEs. To date there are more than 41 000 SMEs and about 5 100 corporate buyers actively using the portal.
See more here: http://absa.co.za
4. The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) has offices in Mill Park, Port Elizabeth
The ECDC is an economic development agency in the Eastern Cape that was formed in 1996 by an Act of the Eastern Cape Legislature tasked to plan, finance, co-ordinate, market, promote and implement the development of the Eastern Cape Province and all its people in the fields of industry, commerce, agriculture, transport and finance.
The ECDC can be found here: http://www.ecdc.co.za
5. Along with offering investment incentives (see: http://www.nelsonmandelabay.gov.za/Business.aspx?pageID=213) the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, which comprises of Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Despatch and Colchester, also promotes small enterprise and business hubs the most recent of which is the Veeplaas business hive.
On 31 October 2017 six Port Elizabeth entrepreneurs were officially given the keys to promising business futures along with their new premises at the Enterprise Development Centre in Veeplaas, where they have set up shop within a the new business incubator initiative.
See The Herald newspaper article for more: http://www.heraldlive.co.za/business/2017/11/01/new-incubator-boost-bay-entrepreneurs/
6. The SEDA NMB ICT Incubator on Govan Mbeki Avenue, Port Elizabeth is a joint initiative of the Small Enterprise Development Agency – SEDA – and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality
The SNII seeks to develop, empower and support SMME’s, start-up companies and entrepreneurs through a cutting-edge offering of services and programmes that focus on building profitable, sustainable and award-winning small enterprises.
SNII are supported by various South African companies, global multi-national firms, and other organisations committed to the growth and development of small business in South Africa.
Visit the SEDA NMB ICT Incubator here: http://www.snii.co.za/
7. The local Nelson Mandela University (NMU) does a good job of identifying and nurturing talent.
AvoChoc are good examples of entrepreneurs in the IT space.
Just four months after it was launched in 2016, Port Elizabeth start-up IT software company Avocado Chocolate (AvoChoc) was been selected to develop web and mobile apps for a major international soccer tournament in Chicago, USA in June.
AvoChoc, a five-member team of which four are Computing Sciences students or graduates from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, developed an app to manage the logistics of the 350 role players (players, match officials and other staff) during the tournament, including arrival times, meetings, games and training sessions.
See: http://mype.co.za/new/avochoc-develops-app-for-prestigious-copa-america/68866/2016/05 for more information
8. Another initiative by NMU is the Propella Incubator situated in Humewood, Port Elizabeth.
Propella’s vision is to leverage its expertise and resource network to positively impact economic development and community wealth in Nelson Mandela Bay. Propells aims to achieve this by supporting the successful development and sustainability of new innovation-based businesses. One of the goals of Propella is to foster a culture of entrepreneurship.
Read more about Propella here: http://thepropella.co.za
9. On a more ‘formal’ scale the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber supports small to medium business in Nelson Mandela Bay with regular skills training, events and networking opportunities hosted at the Business Chamber.
Situated in Greenacres, Port Elizabeth, the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber is one of the largest business association in the Eastern Cape with a membership of approximately 700 businesses.
The primary aim of the Chamber is to connect business, and to stimulate economic progress in Nelson Mandela Bay by providing value-added services to local businesses in the form of information, communication, seminars, task teams and networking functions.
Find the NMBBC here: http://www.nmbbusinesschamber.co.za/
10. Black Umbrellas with offices in Port Elizabeth is also supported by the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation.
Black Umbrellas is a non-profit enterprise development incubation organisation partnering with the private sector, government and civil society to address the low levels of entrepreneurship and high failure rate of 100% black owned emerging businesses in South Africa.
Their programme focuses on promoting entrepreneurship as a desirable economic path, and nurturing 100% black-owned businesses in the critical first three years of their existence through the provision of nationwide incubators.
More info to be found here: http://www.blackumbrellas.org
11. Started by Allon Raiz, Raizcorp has offices in Uitenhage.
Raizcorp provide business support for enthusiastic, growth-hungry entrepreneurs, offering them a platform that fosters learning and guidance, which can be translated into practical business success.
Their Corporate Sponsors are provided with access to quality suppliers for Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD).
The one big lesson that all entrepreneurs should learn from Allon is the advice an early backer gave to Allon after his first business failed; “I didn’t back your business. I backed you,” said his backer after Raiz went to him expecting censure for a failed venture.
Find Raizcorp here: http://www.raizcorp.com
12. Business Partners in Walmer Downs, Port Elizabeth is a specialist risk finance company that provides customised financial solutions, sectoral knowledge, mentorship, business premises and other value added services for formal small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.
Business Partners was started in 1979 at a business conference in downtown Johannesburg. The late Dr Anton Rupert – egged on by his son, Johann – proposed the idea for a joint venture between the public and private sectors to finance and support SMEs.
In 1981 the Small Business Development Corporation Ltd (SBDC) was established, with both the public and private sectors having equal shareholding. The main role of the SBDC was to provide investment capital and business support to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). These beneficiary businesses could be a start-up, in the process of expansion, or one without access to capital markets. In short, the SBDC backed potential.
In 1998, the Small Business Development Corporation Limited became Business Partners Limited.
Read more here: https://www.businesspartners.co.za
13. Chemin in Buxton Road, Kensington, Port Elizabeth supports startups in the chemical industry in Port Elizabeth, KwaZulu Natal, East London and Midrand. The South African Chemical Technology Incubator is a not-for-profit business incubator, under the Small Enterprise Development Agency’s incubation program.
Web site: http://www.chemin.co.za
As part of Startup Grind, Alan Straton seeks to promote ‘from the ground up’ entrepreneurial businesses that will:
- ADD to the jobs available in Nelson Mandela Bay
- Offer sustainable business models and products with high growth potential
- Have fun and showcase Port Elizabeth as an exciting place to live in.
The Cape Town Startup Grind chapter is rated in the Top Three around the world. This interview with East London born Vinny Lingham took place on 13 April 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa at The Townhouse Hotel.
Author: Alan Straton from Startup Grind Port Elizabeth.
More Info on Excitement as Global Startup Grind Chapter is established in Port Elizabeth here: http://mype.co.za/new/soon-to-be-seen-in-port-elizabeth-startup-grind/98113/2018/01