Expanding a business beyond South African borders is a daunting, if not expensive, task for most big businesses, let alone for small businesses in fiercely competitive fields like ICT, security or communications monitoring.
This was the situation Johannesburg-based company iSolv Technologies found itself in when, after 12 years in the industry, it wanted to grow its business and hire more developers.
Tireless research on possible solutions brought up an opportunity through Microsoft’s Equity Equivalent Programme, which was looking for black-owned companies to become part of its multimillion-rand equity equivalent programme which had been running since 2011.
“We initially made contact with Microsoft’s Equity Equivalent Programme after identifying the opportunity in traditional media and online. Once we had taken a closer look at the Web site, we downloaded the request for proposal (RFP) document and progressed with our application,” said Jayesh Nana, iSolv Technologies CEO.
Through the programme, Microsoft said it wanted to focus on areas where technology can make a clear difference.
These areas included sectors like education, health, safety and security, mobility, cloud computing and social business sectors.
“We’re more than two years into the programme, and our current five companies have already made huge strides in developing new business models, creating jobs and reaching out to new markets. Our investment to date has focused on fuelling innovation in high-growth areas that are currently underserved, including safety and security, healthcare, consumer, mobility and cloud computing,” said Microsoft SA Managing Director Mteto Nyati.
In late 2011, the company was shortlisted and that process was followed by several interviews, internal studies and a lot of hard work.
“The subsequent interviews with Microsoft and its partners were quite thorough and included product demos and a close analysis of our business plan,” said Nana.
But all the hard work paid off and iSolv Technologies was eventually selected as a Microsoft Equity Equivalent Programme partner.
Since the partnership began at the end of last year, iSolv Technologies has used the funding provided as a catalyst for growing its business.
“To date, we have utilised this capital to strengthen our internal infrastructure, increase our developer headcount and invest in a number of key assets,” said Nana.
But one item of the company’s biggest news with regards to the expansion is its plan to trade internationally through a Dubai-based company.