Tech startups in Africa should focus on identifying the problems affecting large corporates, and build solutions to address these issues to achieve business success, according to Zachariah George, partner and co-managing director at Startupbootcamp Africa.
Speaking at the third annual AHUB, which kicked off in Cape Town yesterday, George said while following a B2C business model can prove difficult in Africa, more startups should recognise the opportunity presented by the B2B model.
He advised entrepreneurs to start their journey by finding a problem faced by large corporates and building a solution to it.
Corporates are interested in new markets and new channels to market – especially those posed by emerging technologies, George said. However, often they don’t know how to “play” those markets.
For example, banks are interested in peer-to-peer financial models in Africa, but they don’t know how to innovate to address them.
This is an opportunity for startups, George argued. With a couple of corporate clients on board, startups will be very strongly positioned for on-going growth and success.
Not enough startups realise this opportunity currently in Africa, and many fall foul of remaining too committed to their own internally conceived product and business model, and often expend all their energy on trying to onboard consumers, he said.
However, with corporates increasingly working to shorten their procurement processes and more willing to pay innovators to trial their services, George advised startups to seek out corporate clients and be willing to listen and address their specific needs.
“Sometimes, not being too stubborn about your idea is a good thing as an entrepreneur,” he said. “[Being flexible] can give your idea wings.”