South Africa: The Startup Superpower writes Entrepreneur and Strategist Riaaz Jeena

For many Entrepreneurs out there stuck in a Corporate role there is a defining moment when you realise that the time has come to exit or at the very least prepare for your exit. The call of the startup becomes increasingly stronger and those ideas you have formulated over months, years and even decades can now materialise. For others the startup comes much earlier in your career, sometimes even straight out of university or even school.

South Africa is full of entrepreneurs, and the country’s high unemployment is encouraging individuals to start their own businesses. South Africa has an established market and the ability to scale, but that means companies need to stay lean and agile for as long as possible because they want to survive for a long time. South African entrepreneurs have many opportunities to take their first steps into the business world.

The Department of Small Business Development has established the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) to facilitate access to consultants and business seminars for small businesses in South Africa. African governments are offering stimulus packages and grants that could be a weakness for tech startups, but also help the company weather the current situation. South Africans need small entrepreneurs, and the Department of Trade and Industry has a range of resources to help them get a project off the ground and on to the next phase of development.

South Africa’s startup industry is so diverse that it is sometimes difficult to navigate. It looks like it is time for it to become more diverse, not only in terms of the number of startups, but also in terms of the diversity of its business models. With a broad economy and infrastructure equivalent to that of a first-world country, South Africa is a driving force for innovation in Africa and is ranked as one of the most developed countries in the world in terms of start-ups. Entrepreneurship is a necessary boost to Africa’s economic growth and development, as well as its economy. Lagos occupies its place as the second-largest innovation hub on the continent, with Nigeria having the most technology centres, followed by Cape Town, Johannesburg, Cape Verde, Nairobi, Pretoria and Cape Town. Nigeria accelerated its development rapidly from the early 1990 “s, and later joined Kenya and South Africa in building its ecosystem by establishing its first technology center, the National Innovation Centre (NIC).

The development of new technological solutions and the provision of development opportunities for South Africans will make a major contribution to a better future for the majority of the South African population, a majority (60%) of whom live below the national poverty line. Here are some examples of how technology is being used and can be used to make South Africa an equal country. The continent’s leading investment destination continues to dominate, which is likely to be reflected in the hot streak of fintech companies on the continent. African countries are likely to benefit from the growth of technology and innovation over the next decade, especially in areas such as financial services, health care, education, and infrastructure.

The tantalizing promise of technology startups in Africa is the social and economic advantage of providing scalable solutions and products to those living on the continent. African startups are redefining the way we think about the role of startups in our society, addressing issues such as poverty, inequality, poverty and social justice. Entitled “Startups igniting economic growth, social change,” the South African GEM report provides insights into how more entrepreneurs can thrive in South Africa. 

I believe the next step and challenge is going to be harnessing these startups and bringing them to an equal footing globally and now just in Africa. We need to get these startups and companies to enter the world market. With the cost of setting up a business in South African being only 0.3% of income, compared to 60% elsewhere on the continent there is nothing stopping startups in this country becoming the next Startup Superpower.

Riaaz Jeena – is a Entrepreneur and Strategist who partners with Founders, Executives and Business to create scale in their businesses. After spending nearly 20 years in the Technology sector performing multiple roles for Multi-Nationals, Riaaz knows what drives growth. Riaaz believes in a few guiding philosophies; Add Value First, Make the Customer the Hero, Yes and No are both good answers. Maybe, is the bad one. Riaaz holds a Computer Science qualification along with multiple certifications in Business Management, Sales and has more recently started a program in Private Equity and Venture Capital.

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