IBM targets South African entrepreneurs

11 September 2012

Multinational IT firm IBM announced on Monday that its Global Entrepreneur Programme is now being extended to next-generation entrepreneurs in South Africa for the first time.

“The Global Entrepreneur Programme is focused on helping early-stage entrepreneurs to capture emerging business opportunities, especially in fast-growing industries such as energy, utilities, healthcare and telecommunications,” independent software vendor and developer relations lead for IBM South Africa, Clayton Booysen, said in a statement.

South Africa is one of only 10 additional countries – including Brazil, China, Mexico, Spain and Germany – around the world to join the firm’s programme.

Start-ups that are privately held, have been in business for five years or less and are actively engaged in developing a software-based product or service, are being called on to sign up for the global initiative.

“We are looking to convert start-ups to speed-ups by providing coaching and connections to IBM clients and partners,” Booysen said.

“We want to help these start-ups to get to market faster and at the same time, provide IBM clients with the hottest new technologies.”

South Africa will also host SmartCamps events in October as part of the programme.

SmartCamps are mentoring and networking events aimed at identifying early-stage entrepreneurs and connecting them with investment firms, serial entrepreneurs, academics, marketing, communications and technology experts that can help accelerate the solutions of start-up companies.

As well as fostering technological advances, IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Programme supplements the company’s Venture Capital Group, by encouraging important strategic relationships with venture capitalists and the start-up community.

“We have a deep commitment to the entrepreneurial community, one that we believe is being stepped up in South Africa and Africa through our inclusion in this year’s initiative,” Booysen said.

SAinfo reporter