IBM & HPVA join forces to bolster entrepreneurship in South Africa

IBM hosted Africa’s first IBM SmartCamp, a global programme that connects entrepreneurs, investors and mentors. South Africa’s top four creative and technology start-ups were given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, in the hopes of being selected as a super entrepreneur who goes through to the finals taking place in New York in February 2013.

The SmartCamp was followed by a networking dinner hosted by Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa (HPVA), the largest technology focused venture capital firm in Africa with R400M (USD50M) in capital.
“This is the first year that IBM has run its SmartCamp inititaitve in South Africa, which demonstrated that Africa has many talented entrepreneurs building successful businesses. With access to initiatives like this our local start-ups can grow their business into global assets that can compete on the same scale as start-ups from the likes of Silicon Valley,” said Marc Balkin, partner at Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa.

The start-ups received mentoring from industry experts before their final pitch to a panel of judges, who are now deliberating on which start-up will be going to the finals.

This initiative and a partnership with IBM is part of HPVA’s focus which is aimed at creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa, a space that allows for super entrepreneurs to flourish with mentorship, resources and investment.

“We know that Africa has some of the brightest talent in the world but the critical challenge is to create an environment, which will enable more entrepreneurs to unlock their potential. We want to encourage entrepreneurs to think global,” said Balkin.

South Africa’s 2012 IBM SmartCamp finalists include Go Metro, a mobile traveler information system tailored for travelers according to location with trip information, delay notifications and mobile ticketing solutions. The second finalist is Clevva, which is sales and support intelligence software. Entersekt is the third finalist, which is an online transaction authenticator that is focused on internet security solutions and the fourth, Mobile Decisioning, which focuses on micro and nano credit product delivery worldwide.