The UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) in association with growth equity fund manager Knife Capital is launching a new executive education programme to promote the development of early-stage, high growth entrepreneurial activity in South Africa.
And this initiative, the first of its kind to blend the research rigour of a business school with practical investment thinking, will boost innovation in the Cape Town City – already recognised as the most entrepreneurial city in South Africa.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research at the UCT GSB, Cape Town is ranked as the most entrepreneurial city in South Africa, with early-stage entrepreneurial activity 190% greater than South Africa’s national average.
With Keet van Zyl, partner at Knife Capital and co-founder of Business Angel Investment Group, AngelHub, commenting that “Johannesburg might be seen as the corporate capital, but there is a tremendous amount of momentum in the early stage entrepreneurial space in Cape Town. Between the universities, the number of core venture capitalists that are Cape Town-based, angel investment activity and startup community initiatives such as Silicon Cape, Cape Town arguably has the highest output of ideas in the country.”
However, despite the mass influx of early-stage entrepreneurial activity which means that there is an abundance of potential high-growth entrepreneurial ideas in Cape Town, these ideas don’t always have the opportunity to get past the initial business plan stage, says Van Zyl.
Van Zyl believes this is largely due to the fact that the early-stage investment ecosystem in South Africa is underdeveloped. Entrepreneurs therefore do not know where to begin when it comes to acquiring an investor for their idea and need assistance with packaging their concepts into sustainable business models.
“The same can be said for investors themselves, many of who want to support early-stage entrepreneurs, but prefer to collaborate when choosing the right opportunity. While the right networks exist to take advantage of deal referrals, more tools are needed to develop the area. This means that many opportunities are being wasted,”