Creating a strong social economy

CREATING A STRONG SOCIAL ECONOMY

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | DECEMBER 3, 2018

In the midst of the 2018 Global Citizen Festival, themed Demand Freedom, Defeat Poverty which is closely aligned with the United NationsSustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end extreme global poverty by 2030, I thought it relevant to share the latest activities and developments at 22 on Sloane, regarding the creation of a strong and sustainable social economy.

But first, what exactly is social economy? Various definitions explain that social economy is formed by a rich diversity of enterprises and organisations, such as cooperatives and social enterprises, sharing common values.

A social economy looks at creating new sustainable solutions for various needs and issues that have not been prioritized in our communities. It looks at building a strong, sustainable, prosperous and inclusive society. The four key activities at 22 on Sloane this week proved that the social economy is something to really focus on.

 

PHOTO: Kreativ Afrika Media

Sessions with Kamran Elahian, Global Innovation Catalyst

Last Monday, Kamran hosted several sessions to discuss various issues with stakeholders. His key mission was to understand the entrepreneurship ecosystem, including the current social economic landscape, and explore areas to collaborate with various stakeholders. Today, he is a global innovation advisor to 500 start-ups. As an Innovation Catalyst, he advises various governments on the transition needed from fossil-based economies to sustainable innovation economies. In the past, as a global high-tech entrepreneur, he co-founded ten companies and had six exits; three of which were Unicorn IPOs with a total cap of over $8bn. He was also the Chairman of Global Catalyst Partners with over $350m under management.

The African Odyssey summit, championed by Carol Bouwer

The African Odyssey is a beauty and fashion business summit, focusing on empowering and rethinking the economy of fashion and beauty. Sponsored by the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), amongst others, the event hosted at 22 on Sloane was attended by guests from all over the world, including local stars such as David Tlale, Nomzamo Mbatha and DJ Fresh, to name a few. The platform paid specific attention to developing social solutions for the two industries and ways to create inclusive value.

The Swaziland/South Africa Youth Exchange Programme

What better way to start inculcating a strong sense of social economics, than from the youngest age possible?

22 on Sloane hosted 21 youths from Swaziland as part of its exchange programme, who spent the weekend interacting with their peers from South Africa. Here, the focus was on completing design thinking challenges to develop solutions for the most pressing issues they face within their communities. This marked the end of our youth programme for the year, which saw numerous weekends of learning to start new ventures, to code and create value for their communities. Their evident commitment and passionate participation showed that they derived great value from the programme and left well-equipped to transform, build and sustain their communities.

A Social Economy Policy event, hosted by Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Economic Development

This event focussed on creating a policy on social economy in partnership with the International Labour Organisation, the Government of Flanders and the Industrial Development Corporation. The session was broken down into four groups and each group was given specific tasks, with the minister participating in all, stressing that “we must show passion in what we believe and the different thinking we need to accomplish our social economic goals. We must also get the business side right. Yes, it’s about having the heart, but ensuring sustainability is equally important.”

Here are a few key take-out points from his address:

  • Social enterprises need quicker access. Instead of always focusing on structure, let’s pay attention to delivery and outcome.
  • Social enterprises and the social economy must embrace the necessity for change with the coming of the 4th industrial revolution.
  • Take the existing models in townships and improve them. Also investigate and unlock new opportunities in communities. Burial societies are a good example of cooperatives, which hold sustainable value and create economic opportunities.
  • The dynamics of social economy must not be compromised. Take service delivery as a basic example. A food vendor’s car breaks down on the way to the busy business area in the community, a loss for everyone. But social enterprise does not mean that delivery is compromised. Remember, creating a sustainable social economy faces many unforeseen challenges, such as technical and human dynamics, to name a few.
  • With the Competition Commission, we have coordinated that small players can join forces to bid for opportunities. They need to organize themselves and use all available instruments within the community to weave through and build a great base.

Speaking recently at the Centre for Entrepreneurs lecture in London, the former Google CEO Eric Schmidt also highlighted on the social economy and the importance of building, saying that we frequently don’t build the best technology platforms to tackle big social challenges, because often there is no immediate promise of commercial return. He added that there are a million e-commerce apps, but not enough speciality platforms for safely sharing and analyzing data on homelessness, climate change or refugees.

As we round off the year, we must think about the communities around us that may not have the opportunity to celebrate the upcoming holidays or festive. How do we support them? How do we help them create value in their communities? How do we ensure that 2019 has a different outlook for them? I guess individuals like Patrice Motsepe and his wife Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe are a good example on how we can create a strong social economy. We don’t have to be as wealthy as them to impact our communities, we can do the little we can focusing on those around us.

Finally, building a social economy is a sine qua non for all nations and together we must tackle the issues facing our communities and find ways to ensure that our activities are always inclusive and supportive.

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network – 22 on Sloane is Africa’s largest startups campus.

 

 

 

 

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Startups share their views on 2019 election

STARTUPS SHARE THEIR VIEWS ON THE 2019 ELECTIONS

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | NOVEMBER 26, 2018

Recently, over 3000 delegates attended the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) at the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) 22 on Sloane campus, held in partnership with various private and public sector stakeholders.

With a captive audience of entrepreneurs at the GEW, we found that this was an opportune time and the ideal arena to investigate the significance of the political landscape in relation to businesses, specifically start-ups and those in the early growth stage. To this end we conducted a survey, which was completed by 300 respondents.

As campaigning for the 2019 national elections starts to move up a gear, various party ideologies are being bandied about, centred mostly on land reforms, economic prosperity (hand-in-hand with job creation), inclusion, leadership and transformation.

Small businesses, ecosystem builders and stakeholders, as well as the corporate sector are remarkably involved and engaged in the political process. What’s more, their political positions and ideologies are as diverse as the economy they fuel.

Our analysis provides keen insights into the political mindedness of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, that being how it regards the various policies and economic trajectories envisioned by the major parties.

It’s important to remember that entrepreneurship is deemed to be the backbone of any economy (and any country for that matter). Understanding their thought processes and views on the economy can support planning and development. Also, involving their inputs in policy decision-making is also essential for the much-needed transformation required to address the social reforms in this country. 

One aspect on which nearly all agreed upon, regardless of party affiliation, is that in the years to come, all our political parties should be less party-focused and more people-focused – inclusive and transformative.

Over half of our respondents were aged between 26 and 35, mostly start-ups (31%) and in the early growth stage of business (24.20%). 

 

The key findings from the 300 respondents are provided below in two sections.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL SURVEY RESULTS

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Startup nations policy summit 2018 – Hosted in Surabaya, Indonesia

A WIN FOR TEAM AFRICA AT THE 2018 STARTUP NATIONS POLICY SUMMIT HOSTED IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA

ALESIMO MWANGA | NOVEMBER 23, 2018

As Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrations begin to wind down in as many as 170 countries over the weekend, a group of startup-savvy policymakers and advisors have gathered in Surabaya, Indonesia, to explore innovative approaches being deployed to help stimulate the creation and growth of new businesses. The Startup Nations Summit is held each November as the official capstone to GEW when millions participate in 35,000 events, activities and competitions across the world.

For the second year in a row, the Summit features a policy hack where seven teams of public and private sector leaders, guided by experienced mentors, design policy solutions to real-world challenges restricting the growth of entrepreneurs in their countries.

Team leaders hail from Argentina, Brazil, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Peru, South Africa and Turkey with challenges such as increasing the number of women investors and attracting high-skilled immigrants, amongst others.

 

An increased participation of African delegates joined and participated at this year’s annual SNS meeting in Surabaya, Indonesia.  Another important achievement by team Africa at this important summit is that South Africa will host the 2019 edition of the Start-up Nations Summit in November 2019. This will be the first time the Summit is held in Africa and will look to focus on ways to enhance the African entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The South African delegation was led by Linton Mchunu, Chief of Staff for the Ministry of Small Business Development.  Mchunu says “Over the past 10 years, a new field has emerged in public policy around smarter ways for governments to enable the founders of new firms to start and scale more quickly in pursuit of economic stability and job creation. As more entrepreneurial societies have taken root, disruptive technologies have been unleashed on traditional industries bringing new, unfamiliar regulatory challenges to governments” Mchunu further added that “the Department of Small Business Development led by Minister Lindiwe Zulu, has been consistent in promoting a culture of entrepreneurship and creating a dynamic entrepreneurship which would contribute to the aspirations of the National Development Plan (NDP) specifically, the reduction of poverty, inequality and unemployment, which are common challenges globally, especially for developing countries.”

Leading to this global summit, early on this year, Johannesburg hosted the first Startup Nations Policy Hack in May 2018.  Over 50 stakeholders gathered at GEN22 on Sloane to hack policy solutions that addressed various policy barriers that hindered the startup ecosystem in South Africa.  The winning solution led by Jak Koseff, a Chief Director at the Gauteng Premiers Office, focused on elevating the procurement policies of government by spatially targeting quotas for procurement of goods and services from SMMEs, and better enabling pipelines of SMMEs from disadvantaged areas. The policy proposal, working with a team of senior officials from across Africa including from Nigeria and Kenya, was elevated and refined for the global policy hack in Surabaya.

Under the title of “Digitizing Procurement of SMME inclusion”, the team focused on enabling the 60-80% of African SMMEs that are considered informal to evolve into suppliers to both government and public sector value chains.

The solution, presented by Koseff as team leader, that won second place in Surabaya outlined what the team called the 3 D’s :

  • enabling Discovery – using digitization via mobile phones to make informal firms visible as potential contractors and service providers , As well as provoking the state – and then corporates –  to find or build a pipeline of SMMEs in the most deprived areas , at the bottom of the pyramid .
  • enabling De-risking – using the data gathered via digital means and  via the process of  supporting SMMEs to make it less risky for govts and corporates  to procure from SMMEs and for banks to finance them when they do get contracts
  • Enabling Delivery by building programmatic support into main contracts to enable SMMEs from the bottom of the pyramid to be effective sub-contractors and to grow in to fully fledged suppliers

The policy team which produced this solution included the following representatives:

  • Alesimo Mwanga, Research Director, GEN Africa – 22 on Sloane, South Africa;
  • Florence Kimata, SME Advisor to the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Cooperatives, Kenya;
  • Shehu Abdulkadir, Special Assistant to the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria

The African Team are in the process of working together to design, test and implement the refined proposed digital procurement solution with the support of global mentors.  In 2019, the first phase of testing will take place in South Africa & Kenya, the final beta version in Nigeria. The initial phase draws upon work done by the Gauteng Provincial government as well as national level initiatives in Kenya and Nigeria.   Results from the proposed tool will be shared with the wider community for further development and public input towards the end of 2019.

 

Alesimo Mwanga – Research Director

GEN Africa – 22 on Sloane

 

 

 

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22 ON SLOANE partners with Fortress to award R50k each to 25 startups

22 On Sloane partners with Fortress Reit Limited to award r50k grants to 25 start-ups

GEN AFRICA | NOVEMBER 19, 2018

In its ongoing drive to support communities and stimulate business growth and development, Fortress REIT Limited partnered with 22 ON SLOANE to fund the next wave of emerging entrepreneurs across South Africa.

Earlier this year, some 87 eager start-ups were selected for 22 ON SLOANE’s Residency Programme. 22 ON SLOANE entered into a new and exciting partnership with Fortress REIT Limited to help South African start-ups scale, which includes awarding seed grants and access to additional technical support to the new intake for 2019. Since 2018, start-up residents at the campus have relished the opportunity to engage with various in-house support teams, build and polish their products, network and access various markets.

Of the initial 87 selected, 67 remain, boasting combined revenue of over USD7million and employing around 250 staff.

 

Jodie Ellinor-Dreyer, from Fortress REIT Limited, said “This is just the start. We hope to drive change and support more emerging businesses and the youth in their quest to grow. We look forward to a long and sustainable partnership with 22 ON SLOANE.”

The current 67 startups operate in diverse sectors with 70% of them leading great technology initiatives that spans across various sectors. Twenty-five of the current 67 residents from diverse economic sectors were selected to receive a seed grant of up to R50 000 each from Fortress REIT Limited. They received this grant during the much-anticipated Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW),that took place from the 12 to 18 November 2018. The annual GEW is a highlight on any entrepreneur’s calendar. It’s a celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. The week-long event held every November, inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities, designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities range from large-scale competitions and events to intimate network gatherings, which connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors – introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

GEW is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of more than 15 000 partner organizations. Over nine million people participate in GEW activities globally. The Global Entrepreneurship Network Africa encourages various ecosystem partners to host GEW events in their communities and cities and seek partnerships from public and private sector stakeholders to support their activities.

This year, various South Africa ecosystem role players hosted more than 200 events across the country with a combined attendance of more than 20,000 people and 22 ON SLOANE also hosted its own activities.

Kizito Okechukwu, co-Chair of GEN Africa, thanked all partners for supporting 22 ON SLOANE, as well as those that champion other events within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. “For us, developing and supporting start-ups should remain our lifeblood; we should celebrate GEW every day and we urge other stakeholders to do the same”, he said.

 

For the 2019 Residency Programme, start-ups in the following sectors are encouraged to apply for residency:

Agriculture/agro-processing, E-commerce, Edu-tech, Fin-tech, Gaming, Health, Renewable Energy, Robotics, Transport and Manufacturing.

For applications, please visit www.22onsloane.co/residency-programme/

 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW the list of the 25 Startups that received R50k seed grants

 

  Name & Surname Business name Sector Description
1  Muralli Naidu Autoadviser Auto-Tech Using AI technology, Auto Advisor empowers consumers in the automotive space to make more informed decisions on car purchases, dealership choices and maintenance costs and to promote choice by allowing consumers to voice and share their experiences on a trusted community-based platform.
2 Simphiwe Nkula Khamzimla IT Solutions Fin-Tech Khazimla IT Solutions (Pty) Ltd is information, communications and technology company that focuses on providing integrated, mobile point of sale solutions, order management and cashless pay solutions for stakeholders within the informal trade sector. (the product is Info Trade App)
3  Taher Moosa Anylytical Technologies ICT The company use modern frameworks, tools and agile methodologies to deliver cutting edge solutions with minimal technical debts. They develop bespoke software solutions, offer advice on what technical route to follow, verify how stable and maintainable your code is, architecture review and software process review.
4  Warren Fritz BMC Firm Health-Tech Health Advisor is an app – based solution for the medical aid market which improves the healthcare plan buying and management process for consumers and enhances the customer relationship management between medical aid customers and their advisor/broker.
5  Tumelo Monyai Ndiza Aviation Solutions Aviation Ndiza Aviation Solutions is a provider of world class aviation solutions, tailored to meet the unique requirements of the aviation industry. They specialise in Aviation Cartography, Flight Procedure Design, Aeronautical Survey and Geographical Information System.
6  Banele Lukhele LukArts Education Luk Arts specializes in designing and rolling out creative arts based programmes to teach content, mainly in Mathematics, Science and English. Each programme is designed to be a fit for the client’s needs, looking specifically at learning styles, subject choices and resources available.

 

7 Mqondisi Mhlanzi Prime Time Studios Media-Tech As an internet based broadcasting company, Primetime Studios offers premium television content to paying subscribers across the country and the African continent. The channel aims to focus on Sports Lifestyle Content, Popular Culture, Travel, Current Affairs, Films, and Documentaries all from an African perspective.
8  Golden Hlongwane Magumuza Foods Food and Beverage Magumuza focuses on manufacturing food ingredients (spices, sauces) and the supply of food products to retail entities.
9  Melusi Ngwenya Dlloyd Creative Enterprise Digital services Dlloyd is a startup that provides bar-coding, labelling and digital printing services.
10  Moabelo Nzimande African Make Manufacturing African Make designs, supplies and rents unique and niche furnishings made from scrap tyres. These tyres offer comfort safety and pure relaxation in residential and commercial areas.
11  Sandile Mtshiki Phola Table Manufacturing Auto table has a versatile vehicle accessory that is both ideal and appropriate for motorists to utilise outdoors.
12  Koketsi Molefi Thaga Engineering Engineering Thaga Engineering renders engineering, construction, maintenance and consulting services to the power and petro-chemical Industry.
13  George Sindane Galattica Technologies ICT Galattica Technologies is a startup that focuses on ICT support for small and medium sized businesses.
14  Bontle Moeng BizNiz Africa Media BizNis is a startup independent online trade and investment news website that focuses on Africa’s 3 major business economic sectors such as: ICT, Mining, Energy.
15  Siphokazi Magcoba Sweet Gift Catering Food and Beverage Sweet Gift is a startup food and beverage company which focuses on providing catering services for small and medium businesses. Sweet Gift company was contracted in January 2018 as the in-house caterer for 22 on Sloane for a period of one year.
16  Francis Mande Rejanala Farms Agro-processing A rural based agri-business entity with a mission to enhance food security, create the much needed sustainable jobs for the marginalised and build rural economies into mainstream economies.
17  Nokwazi Mzobe Matoyana Consulting Education Matoyana is a boutique business consultancy agency with the single minded focus of enabling South Africa’s growing entrepreneurship economy. Targeting startups, small and medium enterprises, Matoyana’s business training and toolkit and expertise is all about promoting a culture of entrepreneurship, innovative thinking and sustainable business.
18  Maletuma Maile Basotho Heart Food and Beverage Manufacturing of home-style, non-alcoholic ginger beer that draws from the health benefits of the ginger root.
19  John Golden Digital Display Technologies Digital services Provides indoor and outdoor digital signage solutions for marketing and communication purposes.
20  Napo Mopeli Setsumi Agency & Trading Enterprises Renewable Energy Setsumi Agency and Trading Enterprise (Pty) Ltd t/a SAT Enterprise use primary agricultural produce and by-products to produce green energy and processed products like, cooking oil, juice, peanut butter, animal feed, etc.
21  Tebogo Mashego Ditsogo Projects Manufacturing and Engineering Ditsogo Projects specializes in metal fabrication and steel engineering services. They specialise in; Metal fabrication, Steel Engineering Services, Rolling Stock-underground material and explosive cars, Structural steelwork- carports, fencing, hopper & chutes, Conveyor structures- idlers, rollers, stairways, floor gratings, handrails, Supply of steel tubing and gratings

 

Add-On Services: Hydraulic and Pneumatic Cylinder repairs, CNC Turning, Sleeves-Diff housing, taper, cradle, trunnion, bucket Pulleys-Air-con, idler, tensioner, Pins and Bushes-Articulation, link, steering, Repairs and maintenance of Excavators, Front end loaders, TLB, Plant Hire and Transport.

 

22  Blessing Ngorima Aero 247 Drone Tech Aero 247 offers professional and world class drones engineering, training in manufacturing, design, modelling, analysis, coding, embedded systems, MATLAB, CATIA, CFD, repair, maintenance & operations of drones through a certificate and diploma course and industry relevant seminars & workshop
23  Whitney Jacobs Employ Me HR-Tech EmployMe South Africa (employmesa.com) is a web application that aims to reduce the cost of attending interviews by giving jobseekers the opportunity to upload a short video to accompany their online profile so that employers can get an idea of their personality, which is an important factor in assessing their cultural fit.
24  Lethabo Mashamaite Arnot Ash Manufacturing Arnot Ash is established with the objective of buying / acquiring Flying Ash to sell to the market for profit. Fly Ash is a by-product of the coal combustion process, derived from burning pulverized coal in electric power generating plants. When mixed with cement and water, Fly Ash becomes cementitious, which improves long-term strength of concrete.
25 Jonathan Maphosa Maphosa Attorneys Legal-Tech Maphosa Attorneys is a Law Firm with unique legal technology interests backed up by a research and development team comprised of lawyers, data analysts and software developers that specialise in Artificial intelligence (AI) and its legal practice applications. They have developed various legal toolkits that make  use of AI in legal research, legal documentation mining in discovery and due diligence, automated machine responses to routine legal queries, case law and data  analysis to predict case outcomes and smart contract drafting are just a few examples of our research and development areas in the realm of legal AI with the objective of establishing more efficient, faster and cheaper access to justice and legal services by making use of their intelligent software.

 

 

 

 

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Microsoft launches Head Start

MICROSOFT LAUNCHES HEAD-START: AN END-TO-END PROGRAM BUILD TO HELP TECH START-UPS GROW

FLEISHMAN | NOVEMBER 14, 2018

Microsoft launches Head Start: an end-to-end program built to help tech startups grow

 To win, you have to begin. Microsoft offers technology, community, and go-to-market benefits to help startups grow.

 Monday, 12 November 2018, Johannesburg – Microsoft launches Head Start: an end-to-end program built to help tech startups grow– Microsoft South Africa today launches Head Start – a support program that boosts tech startups by giving them open access to wide-ranging skills development resources, coaches and mentors, a fully-fledged customer network, and the platform on which to build their products and services.

Head Start is a complete program that will help tech startups innovate in the most trusted cloud – Azure – while strengthening the local startup system and preparing them to sell to global marketplace. South Africans who want to take their tech business to the next level can register and join the Microsoft South Africa Head Start programme here.

 

“As a company whose mission it is to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more, we get how critical entrepreneurship is, especially in the South African context where job creation is vital if we are to improve our economy,” says Lionel Moyal, Commercial Partners Lead at Microsoft South Africa.

The Economic Impact of IT and Microsoft in South Africa Report Microsoft recently undertook with IDC shows how IT job opportunities are growing three-times faster than national job opportunities. “We want to give as much support to tech startups as we can to make South Africa more globally competitive, and create jobs, but, if we don’t have skilled South Africans to fill these jobs it will be at a loss. Many of these amazing opportunities run the risk of being lost in the country due to the current skills gap that exists, which we’re working hard to close,” he says.

The report shows how cloud computing is driving massive growth in IT[1]. Over the next five years – between 2017 and 2022 – the adoption of cloud services will generate nearly 112,000 net new jobs in South Africa, of which Microsoft will contribute to 44% of the available opportunities, offering 53,000 net new jobs in South Africa. In today’s economic environment, that’s substantial.

To succeed, tech startups need three specific doors to open: the Technology door, the Business Development door and the Compliance, Regulation and Legal door. “A key differentiator of the Head Start program is the direct access to coaches and mentors that candidates have to guide them through these three key areas, with over 50 Microsoft South Africa staff volunteering to mentor. Candidates just need to schedule an hour meeting with various business experts from multiple fields across the business, and they’ll get one-to-one expert advice straight from those in the know,” says Moyal.

The three mentoring categories are defined as follows:

  • Technology: App development, Data and AI, DevOps, Cloud Platform, Security, Business Apps, Modern Workplace
  • Business: Marketing, HR, Finance, Business Development
  • Legal: GDPR, Security, Compliance and Legal

The business benefits for tech startups are multiple and immediate. When candidates join the Microsoft Partner Network, they instantly become part of a global community that connects them to the relationships, insights, tools, resources, and programs needed to amaze customers and drive growth. Signing up to Head Start means direct access to digital coaching and training, live events, and more. With all types of internationally-recognised qualifications and certifications offered by Microsoft Head Start, tech startups can vastly improve their knowledge and boost their organisation’s trajectory.

Moyal explains that through Head Start, Microsoft South Africa can help grow tech startup businesses by opening the right doors at every stage of the journey. And with over ten high-level partners involved in Head Start, the added value proposition is hard to resist. Candidates can look up the partners on the Head Start website.

“When we talk about empowerment, we simply mean that with the right tools, anyone can become anything. By connecting tech startups with a worldwide network of customers, cloud architects, business development experts, and the latest cloud technologies, Microsoft wants to nurture and evolve these startups into fully-fledged Microsoft partners themselves. The ecosystem itself is far bigger than Microsoft, but by backing the bold entrepreneurial spirit of the brave tech startup, we can bring real change to the future of the country and the continent. There’s no better investment,” concludes Moyal.

The launch of Microsoft Head Start coincides with Global Entrepreneurship Week (12 – 18 November 2018), where millions are inspired to unleash their ideas, start and scale new businesses, and connect to potential collaborators, policymakers, researchers, mentors and even investors.

 
 
 

 

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Global Entrepreneurship Week 2018 kicks off strong

GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK KICKS OFF STRONG

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | NOVEMBER 12, 2018

This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) got off to a flying start yesterday with the South Africa launch taking place at the 22 on Sloane start-up campus in Bryanston.

The eagerly-awaited event attracted over 500 entrepreneurial ecosystem stakeholders which included start-ups, investors, policymakers and various incubator and accelerator networks. Lindiwe Zulu, the Minister of Small Business Development, officially launched the week and welcomed all to what is set to be a jam-packed and dynamic cauldron of vibrant entrepreneurial energy. The minister also participated in the panel discussion that focused on how technology can be a vital enabler to help solve the burgeoning youth unemployment crisis.

 
The Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities range from large-scale competitions and events to intimate network gatherings, which connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors – introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

 

GEW is more than just an awareness campaign, it is a global platform for connection and collaboration, engaging all players in the entrepreneurship spectrum and strengthening international ecosystems, supported and endorsed by dozens of world leaders. GEN Africa encourages various ecosystem partners to host events in their communities and cities and seek partnerships from big and small businesses to support their activities.

 

I have strongly stated that over the years, many, if not most of the start-ups that have managed to scale were inspired by the GEW’s strong ethos and contagious spirit. It continues to inspire many to do so by supporting, understanding, celebrating and connecting the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem. Last year’s GEW statistics were absolutely phenomenal. Over 167 countries participated with 17 000 partners, 39 000 events, eight million people and a whopping USD$159million in play. In South Africa alone, more than 60 events were held with some 15 000 people participating. Invaluable testimony to the event’s global staying power.

 

This year, South Africa will host around 100 events. These include a full week of activities at 22 on Sloane with each day having its own theme. Taking place tomorrow (Wednesday) is the Microsoft Tech day – definitely a highlight not to be missed, which will incorporate the launch of the Microsoft HeadStart programme. This focuses on supporting tech start-ups in South Africa and will help:

 

  • Improve your knowledge and your organization’s trajectory with all types of training and certifications offered by Microsoft HeadStart.
  • Open the right doors at every stage of your journey by connecting you with a worldwide network of customers, cloud architects, business development experts and the latest cloud technologies.
  • Build the right solution with expert support.
  • Grow your customer base by introducing you to its extensive worldwide network of enterprises, governments and other start-ups from around the world.
  • Ensure compliance, regulation and assistance with business-based legal matters.
  • Grow and evolve your tech start-up into a fully-fledged Microsoft partner.

The Microsoft Tech Day will also offer sessions on Cloud Computing, Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, to name a few, which includes building an AI station from scratch on the day.

Included in the programme is a Youth and Social Entrepreneurship Day, which will be led by SAB Foundation on Thursday and a Funding Day on Friday, which will be led by the Industrial Development Corporation and various Venture Capitalists.

 

To find activities happening in your community/city, visit: https://genglobal.org/south-africa

To attend GEW events at 22 on Sloane, visit: https://www.22onsloane.co/gew/

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), 22 on Sloane is Africa’s largest startup campus.

 
 
 

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22 On Sloane to launch its Startup Residency programme at the GEW

22 oN sLOANE to launch startup residency programme at the global entrepreneurship week

GEN AFRICA | NOVEMBER 5, 2018

The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa 22 on Sloane has launched its 2019 Startup residency programme which aims to attract over 100 startups to join its startup campus in Bryanston. This will mark the second year of its residency programme.

The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of programmes in 173 nations aimed to encourage the start and scale of new and young businesses. The 2019 applications will focus mainly on inviting Tech-based start-ups from the AgriTech; E-Commerce, EduTech, EnergyTech, FinTech, Gaming, HealthTech, Robotics and TransportTech sectors. In addition, start-ups from the agro-processing and large scale manufacturing sectors are also invited to apply. 22 on Sloane will be enlisting additional mentors and programme managers with technical expertise to support 100 of the start-ups which qualify for the 2019 residency programme. This year saw the appointment of the former Statistician General, Pali Lehohla, as a resident Research Advisor at 22 on Sloane and a few more appointments of learned and technical colleagues will be made over the next few months.

In 2018, 22 on Sloane selected 87 startups that joined its 2018 programme and have made a cash and kind investment to start-ups from its 2018 programme. Over 1000 applications were received in 2017 and 87 start-ups were selected for 2018 residency. The current number of resident start-ups is now at 60 with a combined revenue of over USD$7million, employing over 200 staff.

 

During the Global Entrepreneurship Week which takes place from 12-16 November at 22 on Sloane, startups will get the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges for an opportunity to join the residency programme. During one week every November, thousands of events and competitions in more than 170 countries inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity, while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. Powered by the Kauffman Foundation, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of more than 15 000 partner organizations.

 

The Global Entrepreneurship Week in South Africa will also offer various exciting sessions, masterclasses and networking sessions for entrepreneurs. The programme of the week will include:

 

  • Monday 12 November 2018 – The Global Entrepreneurship Launch and Policy Day to be led by the Department of Small Business Development
  • Tuesday 13 November 2018 – Agro-Processing and Manufacturing Day to be led by the Industrial Development Corporation and Nestle
  • Wednesday 14 November 2018 – Technology Day to be led by Microsoft. Microsoft will launch its HeadStart programme for Tech startups in South Africa
  • Thursday 15 November – Social Entrepreneurship Day to be led by SAB Foundation and Industrial Development Corporation
  • Friday 16 November – Funding Day to be led by various Venture Capitals, and Development Financial Institutions.

Microsoft’s HeadStart programme aims to support ten tech-based start-ups by providing access to customers, mentors and the platform to build their products and services. These chosen few will be selected from 22 on Sloane’s annual call for 2019 residency at its campus, which attracts over 100 start-ups.

 

The HeadStart programme will help start-ups to innovate in the most trusted cloud, prepare them to sell to global firms, use any development tool/language and connect with their local community. The most challenging part of an entrepreneur’s life is opening doors. Through this programme Microsoft South Africa aims to help startups grow their business by opening the right door at every stage of your journey – by connecting them with worldwide network of customers, cloud architects, business development experts and latest and most innovative cloud technologies.

 

For more information on attending the Global Entrepreneurship Week, visit: https://www.22onsloane.co/gew/

 

For more information to apply for the startup residency programme, visit: https://www.22onsloane.co/residency-programme/

 

 

 

 

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Opportunities for startups from the South Africa Investment Conference

OPPORTUNITIES FOR STARTUPS FROM THE SOUTH AFRICA INVESTMENT CONFERENCE

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | OCTOBER 29, 2018

Last week, I was honoured to be invited to the now much-talked about Investment Conference, hosted by the South African Government. As I mingled among the various captains of industry, entrepreneurs, ministers and deputy ministers, premiers and members of civil society, there was a tangible aura of excitement in an environment abuzz with positivity.

A few weeks prior to attending the conference, my team and I were also afforded the invaluable opportunity to work with the organisers to look more closely at the start-up landscape in South Africa.

This included sending invites to the 15 accelerator networks in the country, urging them to make sure their start-ups stood a chance of participating in the conference.

Just the mere fact that this proposal of involving startups at the conference was heard was encouraging.

 
I also participated in the Impact Investment summit, which took place at the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) the day before the investment conference. This focused on devising more efficient and effective ways to fast-track the deployment of capital to ensure social, environmental and financial returns. I strongly made the point to the panel that, over the years, capital deployment has been far too biased towards financial returns. An impactful investment looks beyond that and analyses the social and environmental impact of the investments made.

Back to the investment summit! The majority of the speakers were in unison about the importance of investing in South Africa and the great economic potential it possesses. This included the eager, work-hungry youth, the country’s gateway status to the continent and the keen understanding South Africa has regarding the value of partnerships and collaboration.

During the conference, many significant short/long term commitments and pledges were made. The President announced that the total investment raised at the conference is at R290bn, while the envoys have also received pledges of R400bn from various global institutions. The next step is signing on the dotted line and bringing these commitments back home.

For startups, I see the conference as a great opportunity. Here are some of the key investments I think are worth noting and some opportunities for startups to tap into:

Sappi R7.7bn ; Mondi R8bn: Vedanta Resources R21bn;Bushveld Minerals R2.5bn;

Anglo American R71.5bn; Rain R1bn; Mercedes Benz R10bn; Sumitono Rubber R970m

Sanral R9.5bn; Naamsa (the national group of car manufacturers) R40bn; Nestlé R663m; P&G R300m; McDonald’s R3bn; Aspen R3.3bn; Vodacom R50bn; Aqua Power R28.7bn; BRICS Development Bank R29bn; Multichoice R1bn; Tokio Marine R1.3bn and Green Climate Fund R1.3bn. Within all these, there are opportunities for startups to analyse value chains of these companies and explore potential collaboration with them.

 

 The other notable investments with direct benefits to the startups include:

 IDC R3.6bn: these funds are earmarked specifically to support entrepreneurs

  • Amazon: The Company has committed to build the AWS cloud computing regional centre in (Cape Town) South Africa – significant as it allows start-ups to build on their platform.
  • Mara R1.5bn: This is one of the most impressive investments. Ashish Thakkar Founder of Mara announced that he will be manufacturing cell phones from South Africa, making it one of the first African-made mobile devices.
  • Naspers R6bn: Also impressive, as they have committed half of their investments to fund Tech start-ups.

 

Many, if not most of the investing company’s executives were quick to stress the importance of involving the communities in which they operate and to ensure that start-ups and small businesses are also prioritised and given more opportunity to benefit from these investments. Even Jack Ma dared everyone during the conference dinner not to underestimate startups.

It will be interesting to see if all these lucrative funding initiatives actually do in fact present small businesses with opportunities (I’m quietly confident they will). But I say this because any economy that leaves its start-ups in a cold, frustrating place does so at its peril.

In this regard, thriving economies like Germany and France are extremely important case studies for South Africa. Countries such as these are the industrial heartbeats, the banking bedrock of Europe at large, thanks to the abundance of SMEs in their value chains, which continue to help drive the economy of both their country and their continent and keep both sustainable.

We’ll all concur that the recently concluded investment conference is a big step in the right direction. Perhaps the next discussions should borrow from Europe and focus on how we build our own capable, strong and diversified SMEs that can support, boost and strengthen the economy.

Many of our start-ups have proven their economic worth and market viability. Now they’re champing at the bit to get off to a flying start with funding injections so they can fully commit to reaching their long term goals, those of their investors and substantiate their economic significance.

While they wait, I can almost hear them humming to The Rolling Stones classic, “If you start me up, I’ll never stop, never stop…”

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), 22 on Sloane is Africa’s largest startup campus.

 
 
 

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Kigali to Host GEC+Africa, Plans to Be Announced during GEW

kigali to host gec+africa, plans to be announced during global entrepreneurship week

GEN AFRICA | OCTOBER 22, 2018

GEN Africa, which operates pan-African projects as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), announced today that it has selected Kigali to host its first GEC+Africa event, to be held 7-8 August 2019 at the Kigali Convention Centre.

GEC+Africa, a new initiative of GEN Africa that was launched in 2017 at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Johannesburg, will gather investors, startups, accelerators and other entrepreneurial support organizations from across the continent.

The announcement followed a visit to Rwanda where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between GEN Africa, led by Kizito Okechukwu, and the CEO of the Rwandan Convention Bureau, Denise Omany.

“After meeting with ministers, CEOs and most importantly young students, I am even more confident that Rwanda is an ideal place to convene entrepreneurs and those backing them seeking to scale Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and performance,” said Okechukwu.  “I have experienced both the warm hospitality and determination of Rwanda’s leaders in securing the rights to host this important event in Rwanda.”

GEC+Africa is aligned with the African Union Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want,” which aims to create an Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth. This GEC+Africa will focus on six key sectors – agriculture, education, energy, e-commerce, finance, health, technology, and transportation.

 

Rwanda Convention Bureau Chief Executive Officer Mrs Denise B. Omany said that, “As MICE tourism destination, we are thrilled to be hosting a progressive event like GEC + Africa for the 1st time. This event is expected to bring in 1000+ International delegates to participate in the event, any efforts to inspire and educate budding entrepreneurs is certainly encouraged here in Rwanda.

Post event, as Global Entrepreneurship Network are working on creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem, we were pleased to learn that GEN in partnership with the Government of Rwanda will be opening the doors of their Rwanda branch, which will act as a HUB advancing research and creating new and innovative startups.”

Rwanda is a vibrant economy with energetic and motivated young people. The economy grew at 6.7% in the last quarter and recorded an unemployment rate of 16%. The government’s ambition to reshape and empower its youth after the 1994 genocide, is evident in the refurbished infrastructure and the various support and educational programmes that are in place. The country is also driving tourism and has made it a key focus area over the next few years.

 

GEC+Africa will also welcome African ministers – a vital missing link in the support system for entrepreneurs – who will discuss reforms for policies that continue to hinder the development of startups. The GEC+Africa ministerial meeting – held as part of the global Startup Nations Ministerial process – will be chaired by Vincent Munyeshyaka, Rwandan Minister of Trade and Industry. It will be co-hosted by Rosemary Mbabazi, Rwandan Minister of Youth, and Jean de Dieu Rurangirwa, Rwandan Minister of Information Technology and Communications and about other 25 Ministers from the rest of the African continent.

As part of the road to this important event, Rwandans will celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week from the 9th – 16th of November, 2018 during which further details about GEC+Africa will be announced.

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About the Global Entrepreneurship Network

The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of programmes in 170 nations aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a viable business. GEN helps celebrate, understand, support and connect entrepreneurs and those who champion them.

GEN Africa brings together a broad collection of start-up ecosystem leaders throughout the continent to power the next generation of entrepreneurs in Africa. Its vision is to transform and scale the entrepreneurial landscape with customized support and development programs, connecting African startups – and the organizations that support them – to a global network that can help drive innovation and economic growth.

 

 

 

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Investing in start-ups should be our collateral beauty.

investing in start-ups should be our collateral beauty

GEN AFRICA | OCTOBER 15, 2018

Over the past weekend, I watched a movie called Collateral Beauty starring Will Smith. He plays a successful New York advertising executive who suffers a great tragedy when his family dies. This made him instantly retreat from work, which compromised his business, seeing him lose both his clients and staff.

Will sought answers from the universe by writing letters to Love, Time and Death on why this unfortunate event took place. His letters received ‘answers’ and he began to understand how these three constants interlock in a life fully lived and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.

To set the premise for this article, collateral damage is defined as the damage left after an incident or tragedy to the unintended ‘victim’ or other persons, while collateral beauty is the positive or beauty of what comes after an incident or tragedy.

 
 

From an African experience perspective, our collateral damage is the continent’s high and rising unemployment rate, lack of risk appetite to invest in our start-ups and the severe absence of commitment from our leaders to improve the welfare of their citizens, especially the frustrated, market-hungry youth.

At this stage in our development, our experiences should be shaped on the collateral beauty that exists. The power, knowledge and opportunity that many of our youth present to us is undoubtedly a blessing for the continent, but why do we constantly turn a blind eye and not leverage their capabilities?

Every day, I meet many young bright sparks with brilliant concepts and I wish we could implement just 5% of their initiatives. Yet, nine times out of ten, their frustrations and the ever-present stumbling blocks force them to cower away and become just another nine-to-fiver, trying desperately to climb the never-ending corporate ladder.

Most governments try hard to offer big businesses incentives to create jobs. But the fact of the matter is they do not understand that big business cannot just create jobs, pull them out of thin air, so to speak. New jobs are needs-based according to the company’s business plan and must be budgeted for, no matter how rewarding the incentive is.

Last week, I spoke to several large corporate executives and many told me that it’s easier to pay R10 – 50 million to their advertising and marketing agencies than to create a single, entry level job for a low- or mid-skilled worker. Creating just one job is wrapped in red tape and requires memo after memo and signature after signature to justify it only for consideration.

 

But for small business owners, it’s a different scenario. Once they realise the need for additional human resources, they’re able to post the position immediately, justifying my opinion further that government needs to invest more in startups to help them grow, which in turn helps them to kick-start youth employment from the ground up.

Recently, one of our start-ups needed funding. She went through various DFI and government channels, yet was met constantly with the dreaded ‘F-word’. Frustration.

This stems from the fact that most in charge of funding and approvals do not actually even understand a business plan or a turnover forecast, as they have never run a business. I sit in boardrooms and often hear “that we have outsourced our most prized possession of investment capital to people that have no clue about what is going on”. Our start-up then chose the private capital route and boom, she got the funding she needed (and deservedly so I might add!) to take her business to the next level.

In his piece over the weekend, Andile Khumalo mentioned that the recently concluded jobs summit dilly-dallied over so many issues and lacked the strategy to advance long term benefit for the economy.

Minister Naledi Pandor in her published interview over the weekend also highlighted that platforms like the Jobs Summit are great and it’s good to talk about these things but talk should be followed by key actions and implementation. She also shared a story on how her kids took the courage to venture into starting their own businesses and are now doing pretty well. I believe entrepreneurship and investment in startups is that bold action that we can take. I argue that our strategy should be centred on the kind of economy we want to create. It should be centred on meeting real needs and also on the tangible power we possess as a nation and a continent. If we fail to strategically build our economy around our youth and start-ups, we will fail to make any difference. Those that come after us and take over in the next 50 to 100 years will judge us harshly and think we have failed them. This is definitely not the legacy we want to leave behind.

This is the time to embrace our collateral beauty from the collateral damage we suffered decades ago. The time for lip service is over. It’s time to invest in long-term, realistic strategies that will focus on building and creating new micro and macro economies – new giants – that will shape and secure Africa’s future. Many of our startups are doing amazing things from Agro-processing to Games Development, Mobile Development and all other sorts of industries. What they need is the belief and support to scale.

We must not be scared of the risk to invest in them. We must nurture, support and believe in our start-ups to reinvigorate our economy and mutually reap the benefits as one nation and continent.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself”.

 

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) – 22 on Sloane is Africa’s largest startup campus.

 

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Minister Zulu to launch Global Entrepreneurship Week South Africa 2018

MINISTER ZULU TO LAUNCH GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK SOUTH AFRICA 2018

GEN AFRICA – 22 ON SLOANE | OCTOBER 1, 2018

 

GEW South Africa Launch

JOHANNESBURG – The Minister of Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu will officially open South Africa’s Global Entrepreneurship Week on 12 November 2018.

The Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is a celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities range from large-scale competitions and events to intimate network gatherings, which connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors – introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

GEW is more than just an awareness campaign, it is a platform for connection and collaboration, engaging all players in the entrepreneurship spectrum and strengthening ecosystems around the world. The initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of more than 15 000 partner organizations. Over 9 million people participate in GEW activities globally. GEN Africa encourages various ecosystem partners to host events in their communities and cities and seek partnerships from big and small businesses to support their activities.

The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) in partnership with GEN Africa and various other private and public sector partners, will launch the 2018 GEW activities on Monday 12th November 2018 at the 22 on Sloane start-up campus. The event aims to attract start-ups, accelerator support network and policymakers. A combined total of around 4000 – 5000 delegates are expected to attend the week-long celebration.

The schedule for the week is as follows:

  • Monday 12 November – Launch and Policy day
  • Tuesday 13 November – Manufacturing and Agro-processing day
  • Wednesday 14 November – Tech day
  • Thursday 15 November – Social Entrepreneurship day
  • Friday 16 November – Funding day

Minister Zulu said that “In the first 11 years of celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week, we learned a great deal about the potential of entrepreneurs and the ability of our societies to work together and create great value. Through broad support from the government of South Africa and the rest of the African continent, as well as private sector leaders, we hope to shape a community of promising entrepreneurs and connect them to the resources they need to succeed”. The Minister will also participate in other GEW events in various cities and townships across the country.

The GEW South Africa will also see pitching sessions of over 300 tech start-ups, in which 100 will be selected for residency at the 22 on Sloane start-up campus in January 2019.

 

To register for the Global Entrepreneurship Week South Africa.

Visit: https://www.22onsloane.co/gew

To apply for the 2019 residency programme.

Visit: https://www.22onsloane.co/residency-programme

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Tilling the land can be a thriving environment to boost start-ups.

Tilling the land can be a thriving environment to boost start-ups.

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | SEPTEMBER 27, 2018

Land expropriation in South Africa is quickly becoming a reality, as the majority of the country’s people have realised that historical injustices need to be undone. As one with absolutely no political affiliation, I do, however, hope a fair, democratic and inclusive approach for all will be used.

Just to get a broader perspective on this major issue, let’s go back in time. The Natives Land Act of 1913 forced millions of black South Africans from productive farms across the country, when their cattle, their homes, their crops and their possessions, were taken from them. It also prohibited the establishment of new farming operations and was thankfully abolished in 1991.

I think myself and some of our youth today might not really understand, or even know about, the gravitas of that heinous land Act, which deprived their forefathers of a sustainable, often thriving existence.

The recurring fact of the matter is that blacks still do not own land proportionately to whites. On a much more positive note, President Cyril Ramaphosa has established a dedicated ten-strong team to address this as an urgent matter of national importance. This has been widely welcomed across the country.

Yet to resolve the land issue amicably, South Africans of all races and creeds need to unify and collaborate, with the economic betterment of our country as the predominant end-goal, and our youth as the real winners. This is my key take-away point.

Amidst this, agriculture, being obviously land-based, is undeniably one of the sectors that can transform Africa’s economy – especially by helping to eradicate the saddening scourge of youth unemployment by creating an abundance of job opportunities. In President Cyril Ramaphosa’s newly proposed stimulus package, he also emphasised that agriculture, which will ultimately go hand-in-hand with the proposed land reforms, has massive potential for job creation in the immediate and long term, so more good news.

Recently, the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), the continent’s most influential gathering around Africa’s largest economic sector, concluded its meetings in Kigali with ambitious commitments to deliver billions of dollars in new investments to African farms and agribusinesses, triple agriculture trade between African countries and forge new partnerships with a cast of development partners from China, India, Brazil, and Israel.

The aspirations for a thriving agricultural economy on the continent are at an all-time high and more focus is being shifted towards this, which is very encouraging. South Africa cannot afford to be left behind in this process.

During my visit to Abidjan and Kigali last week, I met a few science students and agri entrepreneurs who proved to me that many young people are keen to play a role in agricultural production on the continent.

As President Ramaphosa was announcing the team panel on land expropriation, the headlines in the Kigali Times read “President Kagame urges Youth to participate in Agriculture”. In Rwanda, agriculture contributes some 32% to the GDP of the country.

Yet surprisingly, agriculture currently only contributes 3% to the GDP of South Africa. This also stems from the fact that South Africa’s economy is more diversified. This presents an opportunity to scale this sector into a lucrative one by ploughing more investments into it and engaging the youth. In the past few years, the Nigerian economy felt the brunt of overdependence on crude oil. The country is currently diversifying its economy with Agriculture acting as a leading sector now. Agriculture even in a small scale should be the new buzz word in South Africa. More homes and families should be encouraged to plant in their backyard and gardens. I for one have a lemon tree and also grow some vegetables in my small garden.

The stimulus package led by the President is a very positive step towards realizing this goal, but implementation of it will be key, as stressed by Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises.

Now back to the land issue. How can South Africa resolve this in collaboration with all key stakeholders?

  1. Youth Investment: More young people should be informed and made aware of the exciting potential of the agricultural sector in order to grow a keen interest in it. This can include developing new technologies (specifically from aspirant local start-ups) to modernize and advance the sector.
  2. On-the-job Mentorship & Land Ownership and Leasing: Unproductive land should be distributed to aspiring young farmers. Instead of expropriation without compensation on productive lands, why not merge young black farmers with existing white farmers in a 50/50 partnership with on-the-job mentoring? White farmers can give 50% equity of their farm to the emerging black farmer, while the land is leased for 99 years with the black farmer taking full ownership of the land after the term.
  3. Make young farmers permanent farers: To ensure a fair process, it should be mandatory that all young black farmers are paired with knowledgeable and experienced black and white farmers to learn the trade and become permanent farmers on that land. This will ensure that the right people become beneficiaries of the land.

In today’s economic environment, young black farmers cannot simply be expected to work the land. A transition process towards owning equity should be developed to be seamless, sustainable and mutually beneficial for all parties. Working the land and running it as a business are two different things and young people should be guided through this process with education, mentorship and partnerships.

All-in-all, land reform is a challenging issue for any country to get right first time. It needs due process, due diligence, open-mindedness and an immense collaborative effort from all South Africans. Having spoken to many of my peers in South Africa, there is no doubt that land like language is dignity and shapes identity just like Busani Ngcaweni put it in his recent piece “The Land is our heritage, let’s share it”.

 

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa; 22 on Sloane is Africa’s largest startup campus.

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