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‘SA must forget being unicorn factory, focus on tech that solves challenges’

South Africa is never going to be “a unicorn factory” so startups should focus rather on using technology to help the country solve its many challenge, says Giraffe co-founder Anish Shivdasani.

He was speaking at the launch of a new report at the Gordon Institute of Business (GIBS) last night.

“The reason most unicorns are from the USA is because their economy is 60 times the size of ours,” said Shivdasani, whose startup came out tops at the 2016 Seedstars Competition.

‘Reason most unicorns are from US is because their economy is 60 times the size of ours’

The event — to launch Jason Levin’s Unicorns, Gazelles & Leapfrogs: Fast-tracking the South African startup ecosystem report — included a panel discussion with Shivdasani, Standard Bank Incubator head Jayshree Naidoo, Amedzo Trading & Projects founder Julia Petla and Levin who is from Elevation Holdings.

Read more: Entrepreneur’s report to address why SA has yet to produce a unicorn

Commenting in the book Brad Feld, author of Startup Communities, said it usually takes about 20 years for an entrepreneurial ecosystem to develop.

“In New York City, where a vibrant startup ecosystem has coalesced in the last few years, the seeds were planted at least two decades ago.”

Vuyisa Qabaka, CEO of Entrepreneur Traction, comments in Levin’s book that startup founders have to be “hungry” to succeed. “I have just been to Morocco, it’s a three-year-old ecosystem that is gunning it.”

Levin’s report can be downloaded from Elevation Holdings’ website.

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