JOHANNESBURG – In its ongoing drive to support communities and stimulate business growth and development, Fortress Reit Limited partnered with 22 on Sloane to fund the next wave of emerging entrepreneurs across South Africa. 

Earlier this year, about 87 eager start-ups were selected for 22 on Sloane's residency programme.

22 on Sloane ventured into a new and exciting partnership with Fortress Reit to help South African start-ups scale, which includes awarding seed grants and access to additional technical support to the new intake for 2019. 

Since 2018, start-up residents at the campus have relished the opportunity to engage with various in-house support teams, build and polish their products, network and access various markets. Of the initial 87 selected, 67 remain, boasting combined revenue of more than $7 million (R98m) and employing around 250 staff.

Over the past few months, we have been engaging Jodie Ellinor-Dreyer from Fortress Reit and were looking at what kind of support they would provide to 22 on Sloane start-ups. 

We thanked them for supporting these start-ups with seed grants and from their side they said it was just the start and they hoped to drive change and support more emerging businesses and the youth in their quest to grow.

The current 67 start-ups operate in diverse sectors with 70 percent of them leading great technology initiatives that spans across various sectors.

Twenty-five of the current 67 residents from diverse economic sectors were selected to receive a seed grant of up to R50 000 each from Fortress Reit Limited. 

They received this grant during the much-anticipated Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), which took place from November 12 to 18.

The annual GEW is a highlight on any entrepreneur's calendar. It’s a celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

The week-long event, held every November, inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. 

These activities range from large-scale competitions and events to intimate network gatherings, which connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors – introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

GEW is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of more than 15 000 partner organisations. More than 9 million people participate in GEW activities globally. 

The Global Entrepreneurship Network Africa encourages various ecosystem partners to host GEW events in their communities and cities and seek partnerships from public and private sector stakeholders to support their activities.

This year, various South Africa ecosystem role players hosted more than 200 events across the country with a combined attendance of more than 20 000 people, and 22 on Sloane also hosted its own activities. 

More than 5 000 events were held across the African continent by various ecosystem stakeholders. 

I thank all the partners for supporting 22 on Sloane, as well as those that champion other events within the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa. For us, developing and supporting start-ups should remain our lifeblood; we should celebrate GEW every day and we urge other stakeholders to do the same.  

Readers can view a list of the start-ups that received funding on www.busrep.co.za

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-chairperson of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), and 22 on Sloane is Africa's largest start-up campus.

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Independent Media.

BUSINESS REPORT