With its principal theme of "Incubation - the key to creating economic wealth", SABTIA's first international conference is scheduled to take place from 20-23 September 2005 at the Misty Hills Conference Centre in Muldersdrift, Johannesburg.
Sponsored by the GODISA Trust, an organisation created by the South African Government to provide technology and business development support to small enterprises through incubation, the conference is to play a key role in raising the profile of the incubation bodies active in South Africa.
According to Charles Wyeth, CEO of the GODISA Trust, incubation is gathering momentum around the world as a valuable method of growing companies and economies: "Incubation has proven to be a particularly effective tool in support of small business; with incubators, we have found that one can clearly measure the impact of intervention at an individual company level and at a broader economic level."
Wyeth notes that in this country, up to 80% of new businesses fail within their first two years of operation - a figure, he says, which is equally high around the world: "With incubation, we have proven that this figure can be turned around."
The figures back his claims: Wyeth reports that from eight incubation centres around the country, GODISA has managed to help the organisations with which it works to achieve an 83.9% survival rate, a direct reversal of the failure rate.
"Incubators provide a package of service and support that is geared to reduce the risks and uncertainties of running a business. There is no question that the intervention works."
The SABTIA Conference will feature South African Minister of Science and Technology, Mosibudi Mangena and Small Enterprise Development Agency representatives. International speaker Dr Ernesto Sirolli will share his humanistic approach to economic development, known as Enterprise Facilitation.
Wyeth says incubation programmes are a vital contributor to economic growth: "The point is to grow the entire cake in the market to increase the benefits of a strong economy for more South Africans. We're pleased to have a powerful message to share at the conference, and look forward to extending the benefits of incubation to more emerging South African companies."
For more information about the conference visit www.sabtia.org.za.