Thabo Moshoane | Slyk IT Solutions
A few years ago I had a problem with my cellphone and, when I tried to have it repaired under warranty, I was told my warranty was void. That gave me the idea for an app that could keep track of all my warranties. Then, last year, I was looking online for opportunities for ICT SMEs and came across Raizcorp on Facebook. I decided to apply, went through a tough interview process and was accepted on to IBM’s Aspiring Entrepreneur Initiative.
The programme has done more for me than I expected. The business think document – or business plan – we created has really helped to shape the business. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to approach the government and others to develop other prototype applications. From a development perspective, IBM gave me a generous amount of cloud credit and assisted me with the resources I needed (architects and developers) to create a prototype which we have now successfully completed. They also gave me a generous monthly stipend while I was on the programme. I used it for admin costs and to employ temporary technical staff.
As a systems engineer myself, I really appreciate the access I’ve had to IBM’s Bluemix platform and Watson. IBM has some of the best development software in the world and – with the cloud credit we received – we’ve been able to develop really intelligent and cognitive solutions.
We have successfully connected with three international suppliers to roll out our warranty app and are also in talks with a big South African retail chain. Our SlykWarranty app offers a digital warranty certificate that can be accessed anywhere and at any time. We have also recently received a letter of appointment from a municipality to develop a new citizen engagement platform. It is a simple system that allows citizens to report faults, receive important notifications, make suggestions and will later also enable them to make payments. It will allow the municipality to be more engaged in public service.
I’ve been building my team at Slyk IT Solutions and have recently brought on board a chief information officer. We’re also now an approved IBM business partner. (One of the requirements for achieving this was having a complete business plan which I had thanks to the Raizcorp programme.) Nowadays, I know my business from top to bottom which has really prepared me for this journey. I am ready to take on the world!
My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to really look for all opportunities out there. There are many opportunities and so much support available, and there is also so much you can learn – regardless of your level of education. You just have to get out there and apply for things to progress.
I am so grateful to IBM for giving me the opportunity to tap into their world. They are the best ICT company I could ever have partnered with. (After all they pioneered the first personal computer, hold the most patents in the US and have been assisting small companies for a long time.) I also appreciate the professional manner in which Raizcorp runs its programmes. Partnerships like the one between IBM and Raizcorp are so important for SMMEs. Thank you for all the support and the business resources I’ve been given!