As South Africa’s unemployment rate reaches 25% in a slowing economic climate, the need to develop and fast track entrepreneurs has become critical.
There is no shortage of entrepreneurs with feasible and scalable ideas that could be proven solutions to market needs, says Marzanne Collins, incubation lead at Seed Academy, a training, incubation and funding ecosystem for entrepreneurs.
“Funding is the oxygen of entrepreneurs but without vital non-financial support – marketing for instance – it’s difficult for businesses to gain traction and become sustainable no matter how much funding is available. For this reason, our focus is on dramatically growing and scaling high growth potential businesses to levels of sustainability and profitability. We want to support government’s mandate to increase employment.”
The positive effect of entrepreneurship on economic and social development cannot be overstated. Entrepreneurs bring new products and solutions to customers, but more significantly create jobs. In Seed Academy’s 2015 Startup Survey, which received more than 900 responses from entrepreneurs, more than 60% of respondents employ between two and four employees. While job creation is positive, the country needs this at a larger scale from small businesses. The National Development Plan’s objective is that 90% of new jobs are to be created by small businesses by 2030.
The amended BBBEE Codes which emphasise Enterprise and Supplier Development are fuelling an interest in entrepreneur development.
To develop entrepreneurship, Seed Academy has increased its offering to include incubation incorporating learning from its accelerator and training offerings. As an added benefit, corporates can access start-ups with high growth potential while entrepreneurs, who are unable to pay for incubation, can access the partnerships created by Seed Academy.
“The South African startup market requires support in terms of incubation and it is a logical add-on to our ecosystem of entrepreneurial offerings. We partner with organisations that are leaders in transformation, helping them to achieve their Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) and Skills Development objectives to promote the effective implementation of the BBBEE codes. This simultaneously creates a competitive advantage for corporates through access to innovation and startups with high growth potential. In addition, entrepreneurs gain sponsored access to incubation and training programmes,” Collins explains.