‘SA education unable to support extensive development of tech entrepreneurship’

Featured image: OC&C Strategy via Twitter
Featured image: OC&C Strategy via Twitter

A report commissioned by Google and released earlier this month has identified that “the foundations of the (South African) education system are unable to support the development of tech entrepreneurship within South Africa on a broad scale”.

Titled Tech entrepreneurship ecosystem in South Africa, the report features research by OC&C Strategy Consultants and Endcode. It aims to identify areas for improvement in policies and regulations which affect the success of tech startups. Topics covered include networks, culture, talent, business procedures, ICT infrastructure, financial capital, and market potential.

Together with education, the Google-commissioned report identifies support services for tech entrepreneurs as one of the areas in need of improvement

The report is the fourth in a serial study of the tech startup ecosystems of Turkey, Russia, Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

On its website, OC&C states that it profiled the respective tech entrepreneurship ecosystems using “extensive desktop research and interviewing stakeholders representing different components of the ecosystems, spanning public and private as well as institutional and individual perspectives”.

The report explains that “poor education foundations and low exposure to entrepreneurship have meant that there are few skilled developers for tech entrepreneurship”.

The study points out that experienced developers are “highly sought after” in non-tech related industries which tend to pay well relative to tech startups.

A number of people who participated in the study, the report claims, “see fixing early education as the single biggest change the government could make to grow the tech ecosystem”.

“Ranked 137th in a survey of education systems in 139 countries, South Africa’s poor education system is potentially the biggest hurdle in the ecosystem,” says the report, which goes on to suggest initiatives like training inexperienced developers outside of the education system.

Some of the recommendations on education forwarded by the report include the introduction of entrepreneurship within early education, and certificate programmes that teach business expertise and upskill the potential workforce.

The study also identified two major areas for improvement around support services for tech entrepreneurs.

“The rich network of support services offered to young companies are not yet monitored and have not yet managed to ensure maximum impact on entrepreneurs,” it states.

“Much of the support has focused on creating early-stage startups and entrepreneurs, with little focus on mapping out the full journey of entrepreneurship and creating support initiatives along the way,” the report adds.

Featured image: OC&C Strategy via Twitter

Daniel Mpala


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