Entrepreneurship must be promoted and supported across the African continent to promote economic growth, boost job creation, and alleviate poverty on the continent.
Innovative emerging companies are disruptive and are highly scalable businesses. They require professional services to add value to their vision, strategy and growth plans and ensure they are sustainable.
The South African Government has also identified entrepreneurship and business development to promote economic growth. Currently, South Africa needs to create more than six million jobs. It cannot rely on big business alone to compensate and provide jobs. The Government has committed to make it easier for companies to grow and create more jobs for South Africans by way of a number of initiatives. The National Development Plan (NDP) aims to achieve a more diversified and competitive economy. The Industrial Policy Action Plan, the New Growth Path and the National Infrastructure Plan all contribute to the realisation of this goal.
The development of the SMME sector is therefore critical to economic development and the transformation of the African region. SMMEs are increasingly pushed to innovate under the pressure of the economic climate and search for potential revenue streams. These businesses are the foundation and backbone of the economy.
Danie Fölscher, PwC Partner in Charge of the Western Cape, says: “We at PwC believe it is imperative to support entrepreneurial SMME businesses that, with the right business advisors, can mature and grow.”
For the past three years, PwC has been working with some leading entrepreneurs and individuals in Cape Town’s tech ecosystem. In 2013 the firm opened an office at the Bandwidth Barn. “This initiative is in accordance with PwC’s strategic growth plans and means better industry knowledge and service for our clients, in particular in the privately held business sector market,” adds Fölscher.
More recently, PwC together with Silicone Cape Initiative and Microsoft BizSpark launched an extensive campaign inviting emerging businesses and entrepreneurs to participate in its upcoming Emerging Companies Insights, aimed at better understanding South Africa’s entrepreneurial landscape.
“Being involved in understanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem not only enables PwC and our collaborative partners to actively lobby for changes to be made to our current legislation, but also to better understand the immediate challenges facing our entrepreneurs, and how we can assist them,” says Fölscher.
In 2014 PwC launched its flagship Vision to Reality Awards programme in collaboration with the City of Cape Town, Wesgro, UCT GSB, the CITi Bandwidth Barn initiative and World Design Cape Town. Designed to celebrate innovation and leading-edge technologies, the programme recognises and honours organisations whose outstanding achievements have made them some of South Africa’s most successful technology companies. In 2015 the programme commenced with its nomination process in collaboration with the SA Innovation Summit.
This year’s finalists were chosen from the most dynamic, enterprising and successful businesses. 10X Investment was announced the overall winner of the PwC Vision to Reality Awards at an awards ceremony held in Cape Town on 16 March, 2016. “We would like to congratulate 10X on being chosen the overall winner of the PwC Vision to Reality Awards,” says Fölscher.
Fölscher also extended his congratulations to Origin Dynamic Systems (Pty) Ltd and third place winner PayFast.
Steven Nathan, CEO of 10X Investment said: “Building a business is challenging, hard and lonely. Often there are more reasons to throw in the towel than to persevere. An unwavering belief in your cause is often all you have on your side. PwC’s Vision to Reality awards programme now provides entrepreneurs with much needed support, encouragement and motivation to do the extraordinary things that lead to innovations, which will improve lives and make quantum leaps for society. 10X has benefitted enormously from participating in this competition and from our engagements with the judges and various professionals at PwC. We have had to think hard about the big problem we are solving, to truly understand our competitive advantages and gain in-depth insights into our customers. PwC really pushed us and have accelerated our very exciting journey.”
Richard van Helden, CEO of Origin Dynamic Systems said “Before starting Origin Systems, I spent many years practicing as an advocate. In that context, second place meant you’d lost the case. Luckily, our role as runner-up in the Vision to Reality programme has been a far more pleasant one. We have gained so much from the programme – insightful mentorship, valuable business opportunities, new direction and truly objective, enthusiastic and expert advice. To be chosen as one of the top participants was an added bonus and a great honour.”
Jonathan Smit, MD of PayFast said “The PwC V2R programme casts much needed light on the efforts of entrepreneurs in South Africa; creating globally competitive solutions through inspiration, innovation and perspiration. PwC ensured the programme ran smoothly, and access to key people within PwC – and their insights and advice about your business – is invaluable for any entrepreneur. I think the judges did a great job selecting the top 3 companies in the programme, but wish all the entrants and finalists’ great success growing their businesses further and contributing to their success and the success of South Africa.”
PwC is committed to collaboration, interaction and supporting the innovation and entrepreneurial industry and will continue to invest our knowledge and talent to drive innovation and entrepreneurship to create growth in the economy.