African startup survey reports funding as greatest need

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A survey of 1,000 startup owners in five Sub-Saharan African countries has reported funding is the greatest need if the number of entrepreneurs in the respective nations is to be increased.

The poll was conducted by GeoPoll, the Global Entrepreneurship Network and the US State Department ahead of Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) this weekend.

Via SMS, GeoPoll surveyed 200 entrepreneurs in each of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, asking them what resources were most needed to encourage entrepreneurship.

Funding was deemed key, with 36 per cent of respondents saying “more financial resoirces” would increase the number of entrepreneurs in their country, while 24 per cent said “better facilities and services” and 23 per cent replied “government support”.

Forty-four per cent of respondents said they have participated in a programme or activity in the past year aimed at improving their business, including business development and management training, entrepreneurship programmes, and financial training.

One question focused on increasing entrepreneurship among youth and women, with funding – at 41 per cent – again cited as the resource most needed to help youth and women entrepreneurs. This was followed by government support at 22 per cent, access to market information at 18 per cent, and access to high-skilled workers at 16 per cent.

The survey also found a strong desire for more training resources, while social media was found to be the most popular online tool for supporting business growth. The findings will be used at the GES to highlight common needs of entrepreneurs across Africa and around the world.

“As policymakers explore smart and sophisticated steps to develop healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems across the African continent, the voice of the entrepreneur must remain in the foreground,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network.

“Being able to hear directly from the entrepreneurs helps guide our conversations at the summit and beyond.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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