LaunchCapeTown: Cape Town Entrepreneurial Competition — Day 1

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Memeburn was in the house for day one of the Cape Town Entrepreneurial Competition (CTEC), part of LaunchCapeTown, the event that brings together startups, entrepreneurs, and digital tastemakers.

The morning started off with an opening address by Belinda Walker from the City of Cape Town. In her spirited talk, ten teams waiting to deliver their opening pitches listened intently as Walker stressed the the importance of entrepreneurship in job creation.

She called Cape Town “a city of contrasts” and highlighted the 28% unemployment rate — 40% if you include those who are not actively pursuing work. In order to avoid what Walker called a “Tunisia moment”, she urged entrepreneurs to fuel job creation by seizing opportunities such as those arising from high cellphone penetration in informal settlements. In 1980 there was one informal settlement in Cape Town, today 200.

In closing, Walker commended the work done by Bandwidth Barn and Activa in fostering startup growth and implored budding entrepreneurs to contact the City of Cape Town with ideas to make the city as conducive to sustainable startup incubation and growth as possible.

Next up was Nimeshh Patel, the COO of AOL Europe. Patel provided some of his perspectives on the web and growth opportunities. He underlined continued growth in mobile and the app ecosystem that supports it.

Patel harped on the future of mobile payments and mentioned that mobile will be a powerful contributor in “bringing online to offline”. He singled out Shopkick, the location based service that uses an in-store device to accurately reward customers for visiting brick and mortar retail stores. He called it “Google AdWords on steroids”. The idea is similar to what the guys at Perk are doing. Perk unfortunately didn’t make the cut as a CTEC finalist.

Patel doesn’t think Facebook is the future and sees people migrating to more intimate networks and forms of communication. He sees a future for other social networks and doesn’t agree that we are headed for a converged Facebook existence.

He ended off by underlining the declining newspaper industry, the rise of digital publishing and the importance of innovation in advertising to help online news publications grow.

Next up were the pitches. Click here to meet the finalists and to find out what happens next.

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