BY Fast Company 4 MINUTE READ
South Africa’s small businesses represent 90% in all economies and contribute 40% towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). 
However, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups are still facing real challenges within the industrial ecosystem. The start-up failure rate is alarming and worrisome, with 80% of small business likely to fail within the first five years of inception.
The Innovation Hub is an innovation agency which fosters transformation and entrepreneurship, as well as the full development and operation of The Innovation Hub Science and Technology Park. It was established by the Gauteng Provincial Government through its Department of Economic Development, to leverage innovation in order to promote economic progress and competitiveness within Gauteng. 
It is a trusted innovation agency and partner of choice in fostering transformation and entrepreneurship, and a driver for economic development, change and industry competitiveness through innovation. 
The Innovation Hub enables smart businesses to develop and commercialise innovation and technology through creating new business opportunities and adding value to mature companies, fostering entrepreneurship and incubating new innovative companies. As well as generating knowledge-based companies and jobs, building attractive spaces for emerging knowledge workers and enhancing the synergy between industry, government, academic, research institutions and partnerships.
Committed to helping small business owners to become tomorrow’s business legends. 
The Innovation Hub utilises several enterprise development programmes to accelerate innovation in South Africa. These programmes include: 
Maxum Business Incubator,which consists of Maxum Smart, an enterprise development programme which offers business development support to start-up companies in the smart industry (ICT and advanced manufacturing).
Maxum Digital provides business development support to digital start-ups in gaming, animation and virtual reality, as well as supports unemployed graduates and township youth in collaboration with Wits University. Maxum Digital strives to place South Africa as a front-runner of gaming, animation and virtual reality by supporting and training entrepreneurs with a passion for the industry.
And Maxum Media, which provides business development support to media production start-ups in collaboration with Kagiso Media and Urban Brew Studios. 
BioPark@Gauteng focuses on bioeconomy (agro processing and health), and therefore provides business development support to start-ups in the health sector (biopharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostics, indigenous knowledge-based nutraceuticals, nutrients, cosmeceuticals, cosmetics) and agriculture (agro-/food-processing, bio-processing, smart agriculture) sector. 
The support is provided in collaboration with the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) and eGoliBio Life Sciences. 
The latter is an incubator that serves as a development agency for the commercialisation of bioscience products to identify potential entrepreneurs with innovative technologies to convert biosciences research into commercially viable venture.
The Climate Innovation Centre South Africa (CIC) provides business development support to start-ups and small businesses operating in the green economy sector (focusing on energy, water and waste sectors). It was established in collaboration with the World Bank infoDev and is also supported by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
eKasiLabs is a business incubator operating in various townships in Gauteng, in collaboration with various partners, including academic institutions and local government. 
The incubator promotes a local culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, by providing business development support to start-ups in different sectors, that can contribute to the growth and development of the township economy.
mLab Southern Africa is a registered non-profit organisation that is powered through the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Department of Science & Technology, The Innovation Hub, the V&A Waterfront and the World Bank infoDev. 
It is a mobile applications laboratory, which incubates innovation and entrepreneurship in the mobile channel, in order to stimulate the use of mobile solutions in government service delivery.
In the skills development sector, The Innovation Hub renders a range of skills development programmes which include:
CoachLab: a youth-targeted skills development and postgraduate leadership development programme, which focuses on ICT and engineering sectors through internships, mentorships and learnerships. It aims to bridge the gap between academia and the demands of the industry. It is managed by The Innovation Hub in collaboration with prominent industry partners, government and academia.
Code Tribe (an extension of CoachLab) is a bursary programme aimed at developing the next generation of software developers. The programme trains young mobile developers for the Android Operating System, backend and Cloud platforms while using SCRUM Agile methodologies.
FabLab is a school programme aimed at promoting the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at school level and creates a platform for identifying and nurturing entrepreneurs at an early age.
fostering innovation
The Innovation Hub runs the following innovation-enabling activities.
OpenIX is an Open Innovation Exchange that delivers tangible solutions to real challenges posted by solution seekers in government 
and the private sector. 
The platform connects leading African researchers and entrepreneurs with new opportunities to commercialise their innovations. 
Gauteng Accelerator Programme (GAP) Innovation Competitions, recognise, reward and celebrate top innovators in the ICT, Biosciences, Green and Medical technology sectors. The competitions target innovative ideas that have a potential to significantly impact the Gauteng economy. 
Mo-vation is an information sharing platform that aims to build a culture of innovation, collaboration and learning amongst entrepreneurs at any level. An entrepreneur shares their experiences and knowledge in their industry and the audience participates with their own questions and stories from different sectors to create an atmosphere of belonging, to network and grow. 
Innov8 is a a flagship networking and collaboration platform that provides an opportunity for industry thought leaders to share their experiences and offer advice to the entrepreneurial community.
innovation enabling spaces
The Innovation Hub also offers collaborative spaces both in The Science Park and throughout the Gauteng region.
Office Space/Tenants: The Innovation Hub provides high quality office space to knowledge-based enterprises in a number of multi-tenant buildings. These include individual serviced offices, with flexibility to accommodate large and small companies.
Conferences, events and meetings: The Innovation Hub has 11 conference venues with the capacity to accommodate up to 250 people in cinema style. The facilities include a 15-seater video conferencing room, VIP lounge and various hot desk options.
Land for development: The Innovation Hub Science and Technology Park is strategically located at the heart of the Smart Corridor within close proximity of leading research, academic and national institutions such as CSIR, University of Pretoria and the Department of Science and Technology. 
Individual plots are available on-site for companies looking for land to build offices, that are uniquely designed on a long-term lease basis. 
Companies operating in The Innovation Hub’s priority sectors have preference, as they are well-suited to benefit from the vibrant atmosphere exuded by an innovative communit