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The University of the Witwatersrand’s B-BBBEE Level 1 Entity, Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, is a hub where the incubation of startups and SMEs takes place and aims to create world-leading African digital entrepreneurs.

We provide startups and entrepreneurs with the tools and support they need to grow and scale their businesses through our industry-leading Enterprise Development Model that is focused on developing skills for the digital economy while unearthing digital start-ups and talent in Africa.

We would like to align with your strategy by creating an end-to-end customised Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) programme that incorporates your company values and goals.

The South African-German Energy Programme (SAGEN) is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in cooperation with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), Eskom and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).

The programme seeks to promote technology innovations in cooperation between the private sector, research institutions and established players (in particular utilities) in the energy sector.


Tshimologong recognises that entrepreneurs have a blend of needs at different stages of their business’ development. We have, therefore, developed an Enterprise Development Model that provides support to entrepreneurs at three stages, namely: Early, Start-up and Growth Stage. Programmes offered include education, coaching, mentorship, experiential learning, financial and technical skills, and legal and governance.


Stage1: Pre-Startup

Concept design

Sound Technology

Team formation

Stage 2: Start-up

Minimum viable product.

Business case

Generate revenue

Stage 3: Scale-up


Business Growth

Investment Readiness


Programmes are focused on developing skills for the digital economy, unearthing digital start-ups and talent in Africa

To create pipeline for ongoing programming and to cultivate an innovative space to support fresh ideas, Tshimologong hosts monthly Design Thinking Process workshops for 15 – 20 entrepreneurs or individuals. Entrepreneurs from Wits, Makerspace and the general public are invited to apply.

These workshops allow entrepreneurs to:

  • Validate their business idea/s with consumers and customers – testing its ability to serve a particular market that is willing to buy it, and its potential to scale.
  • Create a pipeline of viable, innovative ideas that can potentially form part of the Tshimologong ecosystem and get the opportunity to apply for incubation programming.

Entrepreneurs may enter the pre-startup programme with an existing prototype or MVP.

After having   completed the Design Thinking workshops, entrepreneurs have an opportunity to pitch to a judging panel at Tshimologong who will evaluate the viability of the ideas. These pitching sessions happen every 3 months.

Successful incumbents are then incubated within Tshimologong where, as members of the Precinct, they receive access to the following support:

  • Co-working space;
  • Personal Entrepreneurship Development;
  • Early stage start-up business support;
  • Access to Tshimologong events;
  • Tech development support


Entrepreneurs who attend the Design Thinking Workshop are eligible to be selected to progress through the Enterprise Development programme to develop their business concepts to a stage where they are ready scale.  The Programme Details below outlines what can be expected in each of the programmes.  Progress is subject to a selection process at each stage of the programme.

Design Thinking Methodology

  • Defining and refining business concepts
  • Validation of concepts
  • Assessment of entrepreneurial inclination

The Design Thinking workshops are designed for all individuals who have a digital idea or solution that they think can go to market.  The 2-day workshops are designed to help validate and assist entrepreneurs in defining and/or refining business concepts.

Participants don’t need to be in or have a registered business.

Prior to the monthly workshops, participants are required to take a compulsory online Entrepreneurial Inclination Assessment (cost – R200).  Assessment results are discussed and analysed during the workshop.

2 days (across 2 weekends) 


  • Business
  • Tech product development
  • Personal Development
  • Legal Considerations


  • Business 
  • Technical


  • CIPC
  • Tax
  • Bank
  • Web (if applicable)

Co-working Space

  • Validation of idea and business model
  • Team formation
  • Company registrations
  • MVP or Prototype creation


  • Business
  • Tech product development

Legal Services


  • Business 
  • Technical

Co-working Space

  • Improved MVP
  • Increased paying customers
  • Revenue growth
  • Founding team stability / shareholders agreements in place
  • Basic business processes developed
  • Systems for automation adopted
  • Funding sourced
  • Governance documentation in place

Expert-led Learning Circles

  • Contracting
  • Shareholder dynamics/Partnership relationship Management
  • Governance
  • Human Resources
  • Financial valuations
  • Funding
  • Readiness for Tshimologong Digital Marketplace/Studios’ Collective
  • Readiness to scale operations
  • Funding attracted to support scaling