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.
The development contract incorporates development milestones and commitments from the entrepreneur as well as the anticipated graduation date.
Graduation from Propella is an important process as it provides space for a further company and also provides “ the target date” by which the company needs to achieve its development targets and be prepared to step out into the mainstream business environment.
Propella focuses on addressing the core impediments to business and will thus provide products and services which address:
Another business facet deemed to be critical in the South Africa context is that of Transformation and thus Propella incorporates BBBEE best practice in conjunction with the three business imperatives to deliver a synergistic approach necessary to grow and sustain Small Enterprises, in support of wealth and job creation.
The focus is also on the entrepreneur more than the business opportunity and or product due to the fact that business longevity and potential to create jobs and wealth is dependent on the abilities of the entrepreneur more so than the short to medium term potential of the business and or product.
The outcome of the detailed entrepreneurial, business and technology assessment is a needs-based development plan which outlines activities, responsibilies and timelines. The foundation of development services from Propella is based on this plan.
Typical interventions flowing from such a plan include
• Product Development
• Technology transfer
• Product testing and verification
• Facilitation of IP registration
• Advanced Market Research
• Interfirm comparison/benchmarking
• Marketing assistance
• Management system implementation
• QMS advising and implementation
• Business-to-business facilitation
• Facilitate access to finance
• Mentoring and coaching
• Trade show facilitation
• Export readiness assistance
• Generic business training
• Specialised business training
• Access to technical training
• Networking seminars
• Bookkeeping Services
Propella also provides facility-based services to the “physical incubatees,” which will allow them to lower costs associated with a new business by sharing services.
Services such as the provision of office space, shared use of conference rooms, reception, telephone, local area network and Internet services along with shared use of basic business equipment such as copier, fax machine, and other office equipment.
The housing of an incubatee in Propella provides a new company a visible identity to help promote its offerings and find funding or investment capital.
Incubator offerings are divided into three categories:
• Direct technology and business development assistance
• Network and relationship support
• Facility-based services