In South Africa if a young person has an idea that they want to turn into a business they soon find out that their biggest challenge is to locate and utilise all the resources they require to properly start-up. There are many sources of start-up funding available to young people in South Africa, but youth have to first find out which institution funds their sort of idea and deals with their type of background. The same applies to other types of support required by youth owned start-ups across the country. Even after funding has been sourced a number of youth owned businesses fail in their early stages because of lack of skilled staff, while on the other hand the country has an alarming youth unemployment rate. Some of the unemployed youth are graduates with skills that can be a great relief to the youth start-ups.
Much of the support required by youth owned businesses is also found among many successful youth owned and non youth owned businesses. There is just not enough connection for the correct questions to make their way from a young startup to a successful business and then for answers to go back to the vulnerable start-ups in time. This causes many youth start-ups to “drive into the same potholes others once drove into”. There is just not enough collaboration and because of this and too many opportunities of business growth for all are missed. The greatest opportunities for success are mostly located in certain areas of society. For one to get access to all of these opportunities a great amount of time and money may at times be spent. This excludes those who lack the funds but have great innovative idea, which can add value to our economy.
The South African Start-up ecosystem is fragmented and lacks inclusivity. At Startup Mzansi Foundation we are entrepreneurs who have experienced these challenges and in 2016 we set out to create solutions to overcome them. We have created the Startup App: http://www.startupapp.co.za . It is everything one will need to start and grow a business. The key features of the app are:
In the Startup bank one can have access to Angel investors, Crowd funding, Grants, Loans and Venture capitalists. The goal is to make available all sources of funding and thereafter the requirements easily accessible to young businesses.
The Startup Launch pad process is essentially to help someone with a business idea with a step by step guide to starting up. Startup Mzansi Communities is set up to support connectivity through collaborative networks in the grass roots levels in our society.
The Startup Map, maps out all the businesses within the communities of the country. It maps out the support structures required by young people in their start-up and growth path. We seek to make it easy for youth to start and grow their businesses.
Startup Jobs is set up to ensure that youth Start-ups have access to talent and that those who seek work can have another place to find jobs. This is meant to reduce business failure due to lack of knowledge or skilled staff. It is also a means of reducing youth unemployment in the country.
Finally, the Startup Magazine (Startup Magazine) is created to promote youth startup success story and also to provide guidance and awareness to new start-ups about the challenges and solutions relevant to them.
Thank you to Mtunzi Mavuma (@NguMthunzi) for being a guest blogger on Inventive Africa and writing about The Startup Mzansi Foundation in South Africa. There are so many great ideas in South Africa and the rest of the continent. There are organisations out there that are looking for the next big idea to support, maybe it could be yours! If you want to be featured or to be a guest blogger, contact us! If you have any comments Tweet us at @InventiveAfrica and please also share the blog on Twitter and Facebook.