IN 2011, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor released its report on South Africa showing a serious decline in the entrepreneurial activity of the country’s young people.
In fact, entrepreneurship levels of people aged between 18 and 34 dropped by 16% between 2010 and 2011.
Worse, the report showed that young entrepreneurs in South Africa chose self-employment primarily out of necessity rather than other typical motivators.
Despite these statistics, there are some entrepreneurial bright spots in South Africa.
Below six entrepreneurs from the Silicon Cape Initiative, a non-profit and community-owned information technology programme, share a little bit about their business ventures, their achievements, and what it’s like to be an entrepreneur in South Africa. Meet the entrepreneurs
is the cofounder of Pashash, the app that lets you share real world shopping (named after the South African slang for “something cool”).
Fun fact: Kajee met Mark Zuckerberg on a trip to Mumbai.
Q: Why is it important to be part of a network on the Silicon Cape such as Silicon Cape Initiative?
A: Collaborating and sharing with members of the community provides an incredible opportunity to refine your product and create new ideas. There are some tremendously talented and driven individuals that work in the Silicon Cape today. Andy Hadfield
developed a mobile app, Real Time Wine, which allows users to read, rate, review, capture and share experiences with wine.
Fun fact: Hadfield is a left arm orthodox spin bowler in Jozi's finest T20 (Last Man Stands) cricket team, The Fine Legs.
Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A: My two kids and wife. Best deal I ever landed. In terms of tech, just sticking around and trying not to be too full of myself. Industry has a lot of hot air floating around. If we can provide valuable services and create valuable products - we're doing ok.Roger Norton
is currently running a new startup called PYPE, a solution for distributing digital product information and providing it to online stores.
Fun fact: Norton has sailed across the Atlantic seven times, mostly on yachts worth over R100m.
Q: What is something you believe to be a hindrance moving the Silicon Cape forward?
A: We have a very small online consumer market and only a handful of large corporates in any one industry. Hopefully as broadband penetration and connectivity increase, we will see this change. Tim Lind
is an independent developer at Incremental Co and recently helped kick off South Africa’s first open data initiative.
He is working alongside a group of individuals who aim to help the country rise smoothly into a globally competitive position, by chasing a futuristic vision of how technology can help society.
Fun fact: Lind is infinitely indecisive with restaurant orders.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: I've discovered some useful things about the psychology of achievement itself, but I think it's more important how you go about each day rather than looking back (or forwards) at certain milestones.
Staying headstrong on continually aiming for a more ideal path is the challenge I'll probably always be focused on.Kishan Kalan
is a problem solving entrepreneur who has created Easy2Map, along with his team.
Fun fact: Kalan is an entrepreneur and a fearless lifeguard on Muizenberg beach. He has seen many sharks.
Q: What is something that hinders technology entrepreneurs in South Africa?
A: Our biggest technololgy hindrance in South Africa is the slow internet speed and high cost of internet. But this space is changing and we are slowly adapting to standard global internet speeds and costs.
Hopefully this will enable more internet users in South Africa. For example, currently, only 1 million of the 50 million people living in South Africa shop online.Sandras J Phiri
is an IT entrepreneur who focuses on coaching and speaking. He is dedicated to helping organisations and individuals do what they love in their careers and in life.
Fun fact: Phiri has learnt to swim, which he is excited about because he has “successfully eliminated one way of dying".
Q: What is the biggest challenge for technology entrepreneurs in South Africa?
A: I think the biggest challenge technology entrepreneurs face in South Africa is aligning their companies with the requirements of funders and organisations they would like as customers. South Africa has a lot of money to support entrepreneurship.
Government, angel investors, venture capitalists and banks are looking for entrepreneurs to invest in, and entrepreneurs are looking for investors - but somehow it is difficult for them to meet.
* Guest columnist Chris Mettler is the founder and president of CompareCards.com
, and educates entrepreneurs about
financial responsibility in an effort to move the global business
* Are you an entrepreneurial star? Tell us
your story and get published.
*Share your experience
of setting up your own business, or simply ask a question
business panel can put you on the right path.