U-Start Africa: SA entrepreneurship is in a very good space

Alan Winde

After radio host and entrepreneur Kieno Kammies‘ introduction, the annual U-Start Conference kicked-off today at the Cape Town City Hall. Stefano Giudotti and Zachariah George opened with remarks on how far U-Start has come — which is actually a great deal since its initial entrance into South Africa.

Founded in Italy in January 2012, U-Start is a global boutique advisory firm offering an online platform which is the entry point to U-Start Services, facilitating the connection among local entrepreneurs and international investors.

I attended their conference in Italy two years ago for Perk and found it very beneficial. I was impressed at the calibre and diversity of those attending, both on the entrepreneurial and investor side – and the same goes for those attending and speaking today. U-Start is also officed in Sao Paolo, Istanbul, and Milan.

The first speaker, Alan Winde, the Minister of Economic Opportunities in the Western Cape, stressed how the provincial government had set up a Red Tape Reduction Unit specifically aiming to reduce getting business done. Email him at
redtape@westerncape.gov.za or navigate to the province’s dedicated site to find out more. Almost 3 000 people already have.

Another point Minister Winde made was about the investment into broadband in Cape Town and South Africa. Already connecting government buildings, the rollout includes other services such as hospitals, but also businesses. The City of Cape Town also funds a great deal of entrepreneurial initiatives such as the BandwidthBarn. Good to see the right words being spoken here, although many entrepreneurs tell me that the government doesn’t offer them much when starting their companies.

That being said, however, the difference government makes in business is often not seen as easily – school investment and other initiatives help the economy in other ways. Later speakers also paid tribute to how the government is reducing difficulties to starting and running businesses of all sizes.

The amount of international delegates attending the event is also impressive and promises to add to the quality of the event. Follow the conference on Twitter with the hashtag #Ustartconf.



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