CAPE TOWN - Small business owners can now creatively connect to larger corporates through an innovative software platform called Kuba.
This free of charge platform which went live in February earlier this year enables informal and formal vendors to gain market access and render a service in the Western Cape.
The registration process takes no longer than five minutes, says Kuba CEO, Jacques Sibomana. The process which is digitised, involves filling out and uploading the necessary documentation.
This makes it easier for small businesses to keep track of who they worked with. It also ensures that compliant companies are able to do business on the database.
With just about 68 vendors currently, Sibomana says that the objective of Kuba was to create a platform where corporates can find reliable and reputable services. Kuba has 12 different categories in which vendors can provide services such as promotional material to welding and electricians.
"It's about opening the market really wide and also to use technology to build the trust between the corporates and the small business owners", says Sibomana. Prominent companies and institutions have seen the potential of this start-up platform.
Among Kuba's partners are MTN, University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of Business (GSB), Stellenbosch Innovation District (SID) and SUSTNET. "These are all strategic partners who have seen value in what Kuba can add to the country as a whole. They are support partners to basically also give us the tools to verify what we build and that it is market-related, that it is something that can make a difference". It's about finding a creative partnership that will actually add value to Kuba but we also getting them to add value to the vendors", said Sibomana.
Notably, Kuba is currently part of a Venture Incubation Program (VIP) at the UCT GSB, funded by MTN. The VIP program is an initiative that is designed to help entrepreneurial teams to test and validate their business models. Kuba entered the Solution Space competition through which they've been given access to the GSB facilities in the Waterfront and Philippi Village, mentors and resources.
The software platform also won a competition in August this year which they won the Smart and Inclusive Access Innovation Challenge. Within the Stellenbosch community, Kuba ranked number 1 in terms of as one of the technology platforms that can potentially bridge the gap between small business access to markets.
Sibomana added that there is a huge potential for small businesses within South Africa's economic landscape. However, small businesses often tend to fail. "They fail not because they don't know what they doing, but its the access to markets", declared Sibomana.
Similarly, Zolile Zuba, owner of Ecclessians Construction and Civil services, expressed his job prospect as a result of being registered on the platform. "My company is still new but since I've registered on Kuba, I have two jobs now. The one is a maintenance job and the other is a painting job". "They empowering the smaller companies and they checked my paperwork and company's compliance", concluded Zuba.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE