This year the IBM Global Entrepreneur has expanded the SmartCamp initiative to new geographies, putting South Africa on the map.
The firm has also introduced a new kind of focused event series dubbed “IBM SmartCamp KickStart events.” These are one- or two-day events similar to SmartCamps with a focus on giving worldclass mentorship to startups.
Finalists from each KickStart location proceed to the SmartCamp regional competition.
Following this development, startups in South Africa aged five or younger have been given an opportunity to apply to the IBM Global Entrepreneur Programfor the first time.
IBM will use the SmartCamp in South Africa to identify early stage ventures in line with its Smarter Planet vision just as it does in such events it holds around the world.
In 2010 and 2011, IBM says it held seventeen SmartCamp events with five finalists selected from each location to network with 25 world-class entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts.
Privately held startups in South Africa developing software based products or services are especially asked to apply.
Clayton Booysen, ISV and developer relations lead for IBM South Africa told IT Online, “the Global Entrepreneur Programme will help early stage entrepreneurs capture emerging business opportunities, especially in fast growing industries such as energy, utilities, healthcare and telecommunications.”
According to Booysen, IBM will coach and connect startups to its clients and partners and help them get market faster. IBM also hopes to extent the services from the startups to its clients.
The program is what IBM says a move to work together to drive change as the world is getting more instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent.
The IBM Global Entrepreneur uses technology to address societal challenges and wants to help build startups in Africa through its resources, global reach, and in-depth knowledge and experience with the world’s largest enterprise customers for a smarter planet.