Incubation Benefits

Pre-incubation services

One of the goals of Propella is to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and the pre-incubation program is a way to channel the interest in entrepreneurship into a process for developing a new business.

Propella's doors are open to inventors or entrepreneurs who are in the concept stage, but not ready for incubation. They may have a business idea but no plan. These individuals may be faculty or students, or people from the business community and while these individuals may be too early to fully participate in the Propella incubation program, yet they could benefit from other developmental assistance.

In order to gain access to the pre-incubation program, aspirantincubatees need to have completed their draft business plan and successfully presented their business case to the selection panel.

Incubation Services

Incubator services and programs are designed to increase a company’s likelihood of successful development and growth beyond what they could achieve on its own. Offering value-added services is key to the incubator’s ability to successfully spin out graduates into the community and generate jobs and wealth.

Engeli Enterprise Development, which manages the Propella Business Incubator, has developed specific tools for the various facets of the incubation/acceleration stages, which have been customised for Propella.

Once a company/entrepreneur has been accepted on thePropella Programme and a full entrepreneurial/business/technology diagnostic has been undertaken to determine the needs of the company, a development contract is signed with them.

Virtual Incubation Services

The service delivery model for Virtual Incubation Services is based on the successful Manufacturing Advisory Centre (MAC) Programme. It ensures a far broader reach of the Propella than is generally offered by an incubator. The Virtual Incubation Services is also the model used to assist corporates with their supplier development programmes. The advantages of the virtual services are:

•    Have greater geographic access and ability to reach more SMMEs
•    Have lower administrative costs than associated with physical facilities
•    Relative ease in seeking associates and serving SME clients regionally

Post-Incubation Services

Propella provides support to incubatees into the next phase of commercialisation after they have exited the formal incubation programme. The main offerings include:

  • Funding
    It is well-known that most financial institutions and venture capitalists in South Africa do not provide funding for technology or early stage venture capital, as new ventures are seen as high risk. Venture capital funds normally invest only in the very best projects and invest amounts upward of R3 000 000. This is not an ideal situation for incubatees starting new ventures. Support being provided by Propella includes:
    • Incubatees that have successfully completed their stay in the incubator and have the potential to develop a successful and sustainable business are assisted in applying to various funders for their funding needs.
    • Partnerships with other venture capital funds  (Engeli Section 12J VCC and others) and financial institutions are being pursued for additional start-up debt and equity funding

Location and Infrastructure

The Propella premises offers the following advantages:

  • Optimum size and facilities for the short to medium term
  • Office and “factory” space
  • Security
  • Opportunity to expand
  • Rental dependant on floor space taken at the time allows for rental flexibility
  • Centrally located (close to the NMMU Summerstrand campus, Bird Street campus and industrial areas)
  • Highly visible - located in a landmark building
  • A prime location making it “a place to be” for potential incubatees; and
  • Opportunity to develop it into an Innovation Precinct.

View from Walmer Boulevard (main arterial road) indicating marketing opportunity.