“Business incubators are important in developing and promoting growth of small enterprises. In the South African context they also drive the transformation agenda and promote economic inclusion to undo the legacy of our past. Their management and operation therefore needs competent individuals capable of developing start-ups into scalable and sustainable enterprises,” said CEO of Seda, Ms Mandisa Tshikwatamba.

Ms Tshikwatamba was speaking at the official launch of the Incubation Governance and Management Development Programme (IGMDP) and graduation of the first cohort of incubation managers at Diep in die Berg, Pretoria, on 31 July 2018. Due to the rapid growth in the number of incubators there was a need to pay attention to management and governance of these centres. The IGMDP was developed through a partnership between the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) of the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD), the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises UP). Seda was tasked to be the programme manager and the implementing partner.

Enterprises UP was contracted to develop a training programme specifically for this sector of the ecosystem which has been rapidly growing over the last few years. IGMDP seeks to improve skills to effectively manage and ensure good governance at the incubators. The programme will also upskill incubation managers.

The first cohort of incubation managers completed the course during the 2017 academic year. The course modules include: the business incubation ecosystem; governance; marketing and stakeholder management; human resource and operations management; financial management; innovation and technology transfer; incubator management simulation and a business model design research project.

Ms Tshikwatamba extended an invitation to incubation managers from both private and publicly funded incubators to take advantage of the programme. The next cohort intake for the 2019 calendar year will open from 1 August 2018 and close 1 September 2018. Building an effective incubation ecosystem is vital to the growth and development of SMMEs and ultimately economic growth in the country. She said Seda and the DSBD continue to engage various stakeholders in the ecosystem with the view of developing a policy framework for business incubators for South Africa.

For more information on the next intake of the Incubation Governance and Management Development Programme, contact Michelle Horn on michelle.horn@enterprises.up.ac.za. Visit our website to see more on our wide range of training programmes and short courses and for more information on our collaborative research and advisory services.

Above: Course presenters with the Incubation Governance and Management Development Programme (IGMDP) delegates at the graduation ceremony at Diep in die Berg, Pretoria.