2020 marked a proud moment for the Innovator Trust as another cohort of small business owners successfully graduated from the Innovator Trust Enterprise Development Programme over the 2019/2020 period. Hosted by MC, comedian and creative director, Donovan Goliath, the virtual graduation event was a night of celebration and laughter while taking stock of a particularly testing year. A word from the CEOs desk, Tashline Jooste, reminded us of hope - the driving force for the Innovator Trust to go beyond the call of duty this year during the COVID-19 lockdown, to ensure that SMMEs on the programme would be sufficiently empowered to survive the challenging period.
The main award categories at this year’s Innovator Trust 2020 SMME Graduation looked at the top achieving SMMEs with the Highest Turnover figures as well as SMMEs with the Highest Growth. The latter of these awards is unique in that it takes a more holistic stance than just the numbers, considering the overall growth and expansion of the business for the duration of participation in the programme. The award recipients in these categories also walked away with a grant prize from the Innovator Trust to be utilised towards their business, while all SMMEs who graduated from the Innovator Trust Enterprise Development Programme walked away with a brand new Samsung A2 Core smartphone sponsored by Vodacom!
Apart from SMMEs on the ED programme, some of the additional award categories which were highlighted included Employment Creation and Incubation. The Innovator Trust Employment Creator Award recognises significant effort by a business owner toward creating employment opportunities within their business. With the country’s state of unemployment in critical need of focused attention, efforts toward creating job opportunities by a local SMME, despite a difficult economic climate this year, is a feat to be congratulated and is fitting with the launch of South Africa’s Presidential Employment Stimulus announced in October, designed to support a spectrum of opportunities, focusing on job creation through public employment, job retention in vulnerable sectors, direct support to livelihood strategies as well as on fast-tracking high-impact employment enablers in the South African economy.
Our incubator partners were another integral part of implementing the Innovator Trust programme in 2020, vital in the process of taking our SMMEs from incubation phase to the realisation of success. In awarding an Incubator of the Year for 2020, we sought out to identify an incubator partner that had outdone themselves in a number of aspects and gone above and beyond the standard requirement and criteria for delivery as an incubator partner which includes consistency, creativity in programme delivery and opportunities for exposure created for beneficiaries in the programme. A key performance metric also considered was the percentage growth turnover for an SMME in comparison to other incubator partners.
It is imperative to be aware of the lessons learnt during this year. Lessons of resilience and diligence, collaboration, versatility in business and the power of belonging to a network. It comes as no surprise then to witness these characteristics on display in each of our SMMEs who graduated this year and who etch pass the finish line of this 2-year journey, matured and beaming with pride. Congratulations!
A comprehensive list of awards and recipients:
3rd Place Winner (R20 000)
Liesl Christensen, Effective Telecommunications, Western Cape
2nd Place Winner (R30 000)
Igsaan Salie, Appy Apps, Western Cape
1st Place Winner (R50 000)
Ruby Moodley, IT Networks, Gauteng
Growth 3rd Place Winner (R10 000)
Igsaan Salie, Appy Apps, Western Cape
2nd Place Winner (R20 000)
Thavashan Naicker, IT Needs, Western Cape
1st Place Winner (R30 000)
Makabongwe Ngceba, Ziyakhipha Projects, Gauteng
Innovator Trust Top Employment Creator Award Winner
Roscoe Adams, Headbyte, Western Cape
Innovator Trust Incubator of the Year Award Winner
Bertram Richards & Beverley Knoesen, Maven Solutions, Western Cape
Complete list of SMME Graduates: