Milestones from the last 8 Years: Making A Difference in the Lives of SMMEs

By Innovator Trust on 12 May 22

Milestones from the last 8 Years: Making A Difference in the Lives of SMMEs

It’s been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That age old piece of wisdom derived from a Chinese proverb rings true today for our experience when we consider the achievements we have been blessed to see realized, in context to how far we’ve come from where we first started. 

For the last 8 years, the Innovator Trust have supported the growth of small, black-owned businesses in the ICT sector in South Africa. Through our programmes, we’ve nurtured young entrepreneurs, to start-ups, small businesses to medium and large enterprises. Our aim has always been to walk the journey with SMMEs to a point of sustainability, where they can grow their teams, revenue and in turn contribute meaningfully to the economy and greater society. 

Starting out with very little, a laptop, a dongle and a cell-phone to be specific, we are overjoyed, grateful and humbled to still be here 8 years later, doing what we love and what we do best – making a difference in the lives and businesses of our beneficiaries and the larger ICT sector.   

Let’s take a look at some of the milestones we’ve experienced over the last 8 years. Take a look…

In 2014 Innovator Trust is born.  

1.  2014 - A few months into the year, we found a home and incubated 18 SMMEs.
2.  2015 – We hosted our very first Graduation for beneficiaries who had completed a programme with incubator partner, the Gordon Institute  of Business Science (GIBS). Black Umbrellas, Raizcorp and the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) were among our first incubator partners for our Enterprise Development incubation programme. 

3.  2017 – We made exciting strides to expand our incubation programme offering, launching our Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP) together with Vodacom.

4.  2018 – A key element to the YEP programme, our youth internships were kickstarted.

5.  2019/20 – Five years into the running of our Enterprise Development programme, our cohort of beneficiaries had grown by 55 SMMEs. The COVID-19 pandemic brought on a wave of new challenges for SMMEs. Through our Hope campaign and resilience fund, we were able to assist SMMEs with covering operational expenses such as salaries, rent and relief funding, easing the burden during this difficult period to ensure the sustainability of all our SMMEs.

6.  2020/21 – While in lockdown adjusting to life under a pandemic, we hosted our first ever fully virtual Women In Tech Appreciation Experience with a star studded line-up of dynamic female leaders of industry to inspire our women entrepreneurs. WIT soared to even higher heights in 2021, establishing a greater mark in the industry for women in technology. 

7.  2021 – We continued to extend our partnerships, and further the work toward empowering women-owned businesses in the ICT sector. 

8.  2022 – Most recently, we celebrated the growth of our YEP programme, officially taking root in a new province, welcoming our first cohort of beneficiaries from Kwa-Zulu Natal


8 years from where it all began and we are reminded that although the journey may not have been smooth sailing all the way, it has been worth it and brought us a great sense of purpose and fulfilment.  

We have found joy in developing, mentoring and witnessing both young and matured entrepreneurs grow into successful leaders in their homes, businesses, communities, making a difference across South Africa.   

We are proud to share our success with our team, partners, suppliers, graduates, alumni, beneficiaries and all our supporters. Thank you!

To the next 8 years! Cheers!

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