UK dealmakers to assist SA entrepreneurs with Sw7 workshops


The United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Trade (DIT) has partnered South African accelerator Sw7 to bring two dealmakers to the country to share their knowledge and experience with local entrepreneurs.

The workshops will be held in Johannesburg on November 14 and Cape Town on November 18, with the goals of the trip commercial and market building, aimed at technology startups looking to expand internationally.

Sw7 originally visited the UK in June of last year to investigate the market, and took 13 South African tech startups to the country in November. It has now partnered Equinox, Barclays Africa, and Deloitte Greenhouse to host the interactive sessions.

The two dealmakers visiting are Anthony Sheehan, founder of mobile news platform Near You Now and previously head of global strategy at Qualcomm, and Stephen Mooney, who has 20 years experience working in sales, business development and IT strategy across a broad range of sectors in both a startup and Fortune 500 environment.

“The UK is a massive technology market, in excess of ten times the size of our market, and many times higher than that in many digital sectors,” said Keith Jones, Sw7 co-founder.

“The marginal time zone difference, common language and relatively easy access to market and funding make this an obvious target market for businesses looking to expand internationally. Brexit has significantly increased the appetite for international trade partners. It is a good time to be looking internationally.”

The UK government’s trade director for Southern Africa Emma Wade-Smith said the UK was the number one investment choice in Europe for companies and entrepreneurs from all around the world.

“As a nation of entrepreneurs, the UK aims to make it as simple as possible for entrepreneurs to invest and grow their business,” she said. “As a result, we continue to see record-breaking levels of investment from businesses and entrepreneurs who are attracted by the strong fundamentals of the British economy and the ease of doing business in the UK.”

Wade-Smith said the two dealmakers were coming to South Africa to advise and mentor entrepreneurs that had already seen success in their home market and are now looking to expand their business overseas.

“We hope that the support and information that the UK dealmakers have to offer will help South African entrepreneurs make the decision to join thousands of others from around the world in choosing the UK as the location from which to set up their global venture,” she said.

Jones said the ideal businesses for attending the workshops were those that are post-revenue, have a proven track record, and have realised that there is a significant market opportunity in the UK and beyond.

“The businesses will have to be able to differentiate themselves strongly in the offshore markets,” he said.

“The South African B2B technology market is world class. We have many world class solutions available locally, this is a great opportunity to access bigger markets. The African B2C economy is massively underserved and we are also starting to see what we call the “mobile advantage” being more and more relevant to the West.”

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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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