Tashline Jooste

Innovator Enterprise Development Trust

What does your company do?

The Innovator Trust was established in 2014 to support the growth of ICT SMME’s. We are a small business incubation implementation partner. Through our programmes, we support and nurture the growth of SMMEs by facilitating training that develop the skills as business owners, and provides the necessary resources and mentorship, ensuring the SMME's become sustainable businesses. Various initiatives have been implemented with incubation periods at a minimum of 2 years per SMME. Over 200 SMME’s have been supported and 195 youth on entrepreneurship training and 3500 youth were supported in Entrepreneurship finance skills. We offer a 360-degree incubation programme to our SMME’S to develop and nurture the growth of sustainable, competent SMMEs through training, skills sharing, mentorship, resource, and infrastructure support. Accelerator: We help small businesses identify opportunities of importance and offer a custom gap analysis where we can assist the SMME to maximize on potential growth areas. Cultivate: Growing a small business can be a daunting task, but through our incubator partner programmes – we equip the small business owner with the correct tools and skills needed to work towards success. And finally, Mentorship: Great guidance and business mentors can have an enormous impact on an SMME. Networks can open doors that would otherwise be closed, and mentors can impart invaluable advice to mentees.

What is your biggest success?

When I started conceptualising Innovator Trust, I started off with only 2 SMME's in 2014 fast forward to 2024, we have launched future-forward tech thinking within the SMME Sector, to promote a clear and powerful message envisioning the role of the SMME’s and Entrepreneurs of the future Creating a platform for women in Tech and in business, providing customised support for tech SMME's, we started an annual celebration on our calendar, the WIT event is a special occasion to recognize female SMME’S and beneficiaries of our Enterprise Development and Young Entrepreneur's Programme, women who are making great strides as business owners in South Africa’s technology landscape, for their efforts throughout the year and provide world class thought leadership experience. Empowering our youth through launching (FIN1K) win 2021 with the aim of training 1000 youth at the time. The programme is aimed at youth entering or who have newly entered the adult world of work, this intervention seeks to address the gap in financial education and entrepreneurship left by the schooling system. It educates learners on basic tenants of financial literacy and how to become an entrepreneur, it enhances their ability to manage their finances both personal and business and set the foundation for economic growth and wealth creation. This was done through WhatsApp and Instagram Live Platforms, by 2023, 3750 beneficiaries were provided 2GB of data to have access to the training sessions.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

For me its realising the challenges SMME's face in the ICT sector and also seeing that ICT has so many opportunities and that we can assist us in solving the current challenges as a country. Solving the Unemployment challenges amongst women and our youth, poverty and inequalities in the township and rural areas. In addition, changing and influencing the narrative that women power technology and technology will be powered by women. We need to consistently be encouraging our girl children and more women that the technology sector is an attractive opportunity. Creating SMME's that will embrace technology within their business processes for efficiencies and building scalable businesses should be a key driver for our economy.