New Report Identifies SA’s Startup Ecosystem’s Successes and Challenges

Updated on 26 June 2017

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A new report, ‘Unicorns, Gazelles & Leapfrogs: Fast-tracking the South African startup ecosystem’ identifies some ways that South Africa’s hotshot startups can catapult themselves forward.

“The total value of all the tech and innovation startups in Joburg and Cape Town together, is about $1.5 billion: a similar size to Melbourne’s, smaller than Lagos’, and half the size of Sao Paolo’s,” says Jason Levin, author of the report. A little less than 40% of national GDP is generated by SMME businesses, so progress in this small but important ecosystem is critical.

Launched in mid-June 2017, the report highlights some of the recent successes in the space, which has become so topical locally and internationally in the past few years.

Education tech company, GetSmarter was sold to US-listed 2U in April for $103 million. Fintech businesses such as WiGroup and Yoco are experiencing exponential growth in South Africa and on the continent. Health tech startup, LifeQ, has formed a deep and prosperous relationship with Garmin USA, and recruitment company Giraffe beat out 54 finalists from around the globe in the last Seedstars World entrepreneurship competition. In March 2017, Joburg was the first African city to host the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

According to the study, there are numerous blockages. Most notably, a deep skills deficit resulting from an education system largely ill-equipped to produce entrepreneurs of calibre.

Levin says the country has to plough through those obstacles, but progress will be slow and fraught. In addition, in order to move the needle, the startup game in South African has to get bigger and better faster. It is important because of the transformative effect that innovative, fast-paced startups have on business generally; to assist in alleviating unemployment and because tech- and innovation-led businesses are growing at 4.5% globally versus overall global economic growth of only 2.6%.

The report is available free as a downloadable e-book from (via Bizcommunity)

Davies To Launch Musina Intermodal Terminal

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is set to launch the Musina Intermodal Terminal on today, according to the Trade and Industry department (dti).

He will be joined by Limpopo economic development MEC Seaparo Sekoati, the dti said in a statement on Sunday.

“The Musina Intermodal Terminal is one of the key support facilities for the newly designated Musina-Makhado special economic zone (SEZ), especially the energy and metallurgical cluster will result in an investment of over R40 billion in at least eight large scale industrial projects including a power station, a coking coal plant, ferrosilicon plant, a steel plant, and a stainless steel plant,” the department said.

Davies said in the statement that the launch of the terminal was a testament to the strong impact of the new special economic zone and the economic potential of the Musina-Makhado region.

He believed other entrepreneurs would also seize the diverse entrepreneurial and business opportunities linked to the SEZ in various industrial sectors, including education and training, health, automotives, financial services, personal services, transportation, and many others. (African News Agency)

New Firm Launches To Address Emerging Market Data Analytics

Innovation house RubiBlue has launched Data Sight. A new company to address the need for emerging market data and its analysis as brands, corporations and start-ups look to enter Africa and connect with the 1.1 billion people on the continent who will account for one-fifth of the world’s population by 2025.

“Africa has its own nuances, and its complex cultures within its different countries hold a myriad of challenges for established businesses and start-ups looking to enter its new markets,” says RubiBlue MD and founder of Data Sight. “If you don’t understand consumers in the territory you’re entering, you’re setting yourself up to fail.”

With over ten years working in Africa and enabling financial institutions to access rural markets and give access to financial security for millions of Africans, RubiBlue is well positioned to aggregate and process vast amounts of consumer data in this sector.

“There are currently 293.8 million smartphone users across the continent,” adds Ogden. “And according to research firm Ovum, the smartphone penetration rate will grow at 52.9% year-on-year. It’s these smartphone users we will use to collect data from and create a picture of Africa’s consumers.”

Data Sight subscribers will be surveyed and rewarded with data or airtime vouchers upon completion of question sets, as well as many other partnered value-added service (VAS) providers across Africa. “Creating and owning its data, and the ability to carry out surveys on demand from a uniquely dynamic platform, Data Sight will partner with organisations and entrepreneurs to furnish them with the insight they need,” adds Ogden. “Most businesses don’t have access or the expertise to collect and analyse vast amounts of data. Which is where our experience and expertise adds value.” (via PressPortal)

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