This year’s SA startup survey launches


Entrepreneurial training programme Seed Academy has launched the third edition of its South African startup survey, aiming to gauge how the ecosystem has developed over the past two years.

Disrupt Africa reported in 2015 Seed Academy launched the first survey of South African startups, aiming to obtain a picture of the country’s startup sector and the challenges it faces.  

The second edition of the survey, conducted in 2016, limited its scope to respondents with businesses operating for less than five years.  However, for this year’s edition, Seed Academy has broadened the survey, opening it to all South African entrepreneurs irrespective of the size, age or revenue of their startup.

“Entrepreneurship is often mentioned as an antidote to South Africa’s economic woes. Through this survey we want to pinpoint exactly how much or how little things have progressed over the last two years,” said Donna Rachelson, group chief executive officer (CEO) of Seed Engine.

“In what is no doubt a difficult economic environment, the time is ripe to take a closer look at whether entrepreneurs are getting the support they really need to grow their businesses into sustainable and successful enterprises.”

In order to encourage more entrepreneurs to participate in the survey, last year Seed Academy offered prizes to be won by respondents. This year, those who complete the survey will be granted access to a range of online mentoring sessions with leading South African entrepreneurs, including Gil Oved, Miles Khubeka, and Ian Fuhr.

The first version of the survey revealed funding to be one of the key challenges faced by South African entrepreneurs, with 70 per cent of respondents saying they required funding in order to grow their businesses.  Marketing and and business planning were also cited as sticking points with which entrepreneurs need more support.

The results of the second edition focused more on the impact entrepreneurs are having on South Africa’s economy – they did not perform well in terms of job creation; while the demographic breakdown of respondents also showed female and black entrepreneurs were underrepresented.

For this year’s survey, Seed Academy will focus the questions on specific areas, such as access to funding, business support and skills development.

“It’s clear that entrepreneurship is a key driver of economic and socio-economic improvement. The purpose of this research survey is to bring the real challenges and issues to light so that we can forge ahead with better insights and a greater understanding of how best to tackle the challenges of growing entrepreneurship in South Africa,” said Rachelson.

The State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa 2017 – The Entrepreneur’s View survey can be completed here.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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