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The New Normal: For SA to beat Covid-19, let’s help the tech sector grow [Opinion]
The New Normal is a new regular column Ventureburn will run, featuring business leaders and how Covid-19 is reshaping the tech world.
There is no denying that we are heading for a new normal almost across all industries and across most aspects of our lives.
As humans, we wish and would like things to get back to how they were before, but the sad reality is change has taken over.
As much as there are a lot of things that could give us a valid reason to be pessimistic about the situation — such the high rate of job losses, the loss lives and the sudden change in our daily lives — I also see the pandemic as the perfect opportunity to boost the tech startup and innovation community in the country.
I believe we should use the opportunity presented by the pandemic to set up national and regional frameworks that’ll shape a strong tech entrepreneurial culture.
SA needs to back the tech sector to help the country recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic
For now, the biggest problem is the rate at which we are losing jobs. Some people are becoming unemployable because they lack the necessary skills that the market needs. On the other hand, big and small businesses are shutting down at an alarming rate.
My solution to the problem we are faced with is the creation and development of new tech startups that are involved in solving real-world problems from across industries.
But in order for us to achieve growth in the development of tech startups and a tech startup culture that will sustain it, there are few things we need to make sure are in place first for us to succeed such as:
- Setting up a national tech startup ecosystem leadership structure with a framework that involves all current tech startup ecosystem players and government stakeholders, with a mandate to grow the tech startup sector across the country. This will also help in connecting existing tech startup ecosystem players and on introducing new startups where they are needed across the country. This will then level the playing field and help every new tech startup to increase their chances of success. Such firms will have access to resources no matter where they are in the country.
- Getting all industry players and industry captains from all find industries involved in the startup ecosystem and in the development of new tech startups. By getting such players to open industry challenges and discuss their pain points that could be solved at scale through tech entrepreneurship. This will give existing businesses an opportunity to partner or acquire startups developing that are involved in building disruptive business models in their respective industries. It will also help startups with easy access to the market which will then result in the fast growth of startups and job creation by startups.
- Develop startup zones across the country which will be backed by incentives and policies that will favour startup growth. This is particularly important for the country if we want to have a thriving digital economy as it will encourage more resourceful stakeholders to be involved in the South African tech startup scene.
- We need to build an army of tech entrepreneurs and tech startups across the country if we want to have a thriving digital entrepreneurship sector that will contribute positively to our economy. With that in mind, I believe for the next five years the country needs to embark on a campaign to promote the tech entrepreneurship, with the goal of getting more people to become startup founders. If this is implemented with precision soon, we will see South Africa become a leader in the digital economy.
All in all, in my opinion the pandemic has more opportunities than challenges for the tech startup sector both in South Africa and across the continent especially for new tech start-ups that’ll be developed now and enter the market during and after the pandemic.
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*Lindani Mkhize is the founder of Silicon Durbs