Local networking specialists Comsol has launched a new programme – the Comsol Young Entrepreneurs in Innovative Ideas Competition – to incubate and mentor technology and telecoms entrepreneurs.

Participants stand to benefit from technical training, business mentorship, access to markets, partnership and sub-contracting opportunities, and potentially even venture capital investment.

Comsol Company Secretary & Chief Legal Officer, Naki Matamela, explains that an entrepreneurial spirit permeates through the organisation, from its humble beginnings as a start-up, to becoming a telecoms leader.

“Our experiences in spotting market opportunities and pioneering new technologies give us unique insights – which we can pass on to the next crop of young entrepreneurs,” she says.

“The future of Africa is in the hands of our young people, and in our ability to become digital leaders. Through the programme, we hope to nurture our continent’s innovative soul, guiding tomorrow’s digital leaders and providing them with the essential resources to get started.”

She adds that the panel of adjudicators are looking for two key attributes: a compelling business strategy based on creative thinking, and a relentless passion to build solutions that enhance our world.

Successful candidates will enjoy parallel tracks of practical skills development, alongside more theoretical concepts to help scale their business to new heights.

Through Comsol’s extensive business networks, the programme hopes to unlock new investment opportunities for entrepreneurs.

“We’re passionate about investing in ideas, and in people,” notes Matamela. “Our vision is for the programme to truly change lives, and to stimulate new thinking, as our imaginations run wild with the possibilities brought on by rapid technological advances.”

“The programme aims to question many outdated paradigms around small enterprise development and black economic empowerment – showing the importance of partnering with entrepreneurs and walking with them in lock-step until they’re ready to run.”

With entries into the competition being free to any entrepreneurs, the entry criteria requires that participants:

  • Are an entrepreneur in technology and/or telecoms
  • Have disruptive, breakthrough innovation or idea
  • Show how their solution benefits individuals, the organisation, and/or society more broadl
  • Show clearly how they plan to get to a proof-of-concept prototype of the solution

Entries can be products, processes or services; they can be small or large; incremental or radical.

Matamela says the entries should be thorough in scope: detailing the innovation itself, the proposed go-to-market strategy, the social impact, the business plan and the plan to scale-up. It should include basic financial modelling and predictions, and the future iteration and growth strategy.

Entrepreneurs can find out more by emailing [email protected]