BY Fast Company SA 2 MINUTE READ

SqwidNet, the licensed Sigfox IoT network operator in South Africa, today announced the launch of its entrepreneurship programme, (IoT)E – IoT to the power E. This programme is aimed to empower entrepreneurs who would like to develop their skills and knowledge to become established players in the IoT ecosystem nationally and internationally.

According to the Worldwide and Regional Internet of Things 2010-2014 Forecast by IDC, the IoT market opportunity for the Middle East and Africa region is poised to grow by 10% CAGR, from $85.1 billion in 2017 to $114.4 billion by 2020. These statistics highlight the massive untapped potential for IoT in the region, including Africa; and with the (IoT)E programme, SqwidNet will ensure the necessary skills and knowledge to operate in this industry are imparted to all who are interested.

“The next wave of entrepreneurship and innovation for Africa must come from within the continent itself. Over the years we have seen our continent’s engineers and entrepreneurs have great ideas, but often lack the means and sometimes even the tools to convert these ideas into viable businesses. Our programme is designed to not only provide the necessary tools, but also give guidance to enable these brilliant minds to take their products to market,” says Reshaad Sha, CEO SqwidNet.


The (IoT)E programme will focus on three key development areas during a three-day workshop:

• Device Development – During the first day of the workshop, SqwidNet and its device ecosystem partners will facilitate a makers workshop. The participants will be given development kits and taken through the process of building a device with sensors to solve real-world sensing and monitoring problems.
• Software and Analytics – On the second day, participants will be introduced to IoT software platforms, giving them the opportunity to create basic dashboards to analyse the high-level data being collected in the device they developed.
• Business Skills – The third and final day of the workshop will focus on providing participants with a high level of business acumen skills.

The workshop will be followed by a weekly webinar over a period of six weeks where participants will be afforded the opportunity to interact with and learn from experts in device development, platform development and entrepreneurship.

Potential participants should submit their motivations on twitter using the hashtag #iotep or tagging @sqwidnet in their tweet. Alternatively, those interested in participating can send an email to [email protected]. 25 individuals will be selected as the first round of participants, and will start their programme in January 2018.

In order to deliver significant value to successful participants who manage to build working prototypes, SqwidNet, with its channel and ecosystem partners, will make available a funding pool that could be accessed by the participants to enable entrepreneurs to go from prototype to production.
SqwidNet IoT solutions focus across a number of industry verticals ranging from security notification solutions, to asset tracking, tamper detection and environmental monitoring, as well as exciting projects in the water metering space. The IoT ecosystem is vast and the possibilities are endless for individuals or even small businesses to participate in it and come up with their own unique solutions to real world African problems.

Sigfox, a global IoT network, has established an ecosystem reaching 36 countries. Through SqwidNet, the network currently reaches 64% of the population in South Africa. Their proposition comprises low-cost, long-range, low-power modules and devices that serve up IoT data in a secure and cost-efficient manner to application and service providers.