South African startups have been invited to complete a survey launched by startup support association SiMODiSA in order to start a debate on relevant challenges in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Entrepreneurs that complete the short questionnaire released by SiMODiSA have the opportunity to win a ticket to the #VentureTrain Forum, a unique networking and brainstorming event on the Shosholoza Meyl Premier Classe Train.
The aim of the survey is to bring together the thoughts of South African entrepreneurs in order to shed some light on what is positive and negative about the country’s startup ecosystem.
SiMODiSA released the results of last year’s survey, entitled “Accelerating the Growth of SMEs in South Africa” and compiled in partnership with the Impact Trust, First National Bank (FNB), Omidyar Network, and the South African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) in September.
It said South Africa must improve the commercialisation of innovation in its universities in order to boost the creation of SMEs, and found that in spite of entrepreneurs needing a “myriad of skills” in order to make their businesses a success, there is currently an insufficient number of South African institutions providing the necessary training and practical exposure required to support a thriving tech industry.
Though South African universities are patenting many innovations in multiple fields, few of these are successfully commercialised, with the survey also finding poor linkages and few elective relationships between academia and industry.
As with other surveys on the sector, it also found there was a shortage of funding for small businesses, especially in the area of early stage angel investors and with the country’s venture capital (VC) market still in its infancy.