Catalina Tejero of IE. (Catalina Tejero)
Cape Town – One South African startup will be heading to Europe to participate in the final round of a startup competition.
The Mobile Challenge Africa contest was hosted at the Bandwidth Barn in Cape Town where the field was whittled from 80 to just three.
Mali Mobile will join LipaPlus from Kenya and Gifted Mom from Nigeria to participate in the Global Mobile Challenge at 4FYN and attend an acceleration programme at the IE Venture Lab Accelerator in Madrid.
“The most important thing for any startup is traction or evidence that what they’re doing is right,” competition judge Roger Norton told Fin24.
He said that ideas alone have no intrinsic value.
“Ideas are worth nothing, it’s the implementation that actually counts. Unless, it’s something that’s absolutely unique like a specific algorithm that you’ve worked out or something that is highly patentable: There are very few businesses that will have that.”
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The IE school is focused on entrepreneurship and said that there is no geographically unique startup.
“The objective of the global startup ecosystem is putting diverse talented minds together to address the global challenges that many industries and society are facing. Diversity is crucial to create an inclusive ecosystem where we can look into challenges from different points of view and find innovative solutions,” Catalina Tejero, IE associate director for the Middle East and Africa told Fin24.
SA has a number of 'fin-tech' accelerators in operation as entrepreneurs to find the “next big thing” and Tejero said local scene had dynamism.
“The South African startup ecosystem is full of creativity and dynamism. I am sure that there will be many projects that will have a great global appeal and will make a global contribution. This is why we are here, to co-create, to discover them and support them.”
Norton advised entrepreneurs to test their ideas with constant feedback, adding that it was key to develop the business model.
“The business model is almost never patentable, it’s never completely unique. The bottom line is: If your idea is any good, you have to shove it down people’s throats.”
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