Published On: Thu, May 24th, 2018

SA tech startups positioned for global impact

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JOHANNESBURG  – FOLLOWING the local conclusion of a globally- prominent boot camp, some South African start-up companies are set to see their initiatives catapulted to the global scene and ultimately support the attainment of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The boot camp has been held under the aegis of the SAP Next-Gen, an initiative by the global software company enabling companies, partners and universities to connect and innovate with purpose linked to the attainment of the goals.

The camp was held in Johannesburg in partnership with BusinessPros, Regenesys, Mandela Washington Fellowship for African Leaders and Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship.

It followed the six-week participation to the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship programme of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) of former United States President Barack Obama.

Obama launched YALI, a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders, in 2010.

Among the fellows is Kwena Mabojta, who is SAP University Alliances Next-Gen Lead for Africa, where she works to develop youth tech skills and student startups.

Speaking at the bootcamp, Mabotja said with the content in the Mandela Fellowship useful, they saw a need bring that content to the South African startups.

“We wanted to find an opportunity to share the content and multiply the impact,” she said.

“So, together with another fellow from Tanzania, I applied for a reciprocal fellowship where the US State Department granted fund for someone we worked with in our US stint during our  fellowship to come to our country and share their knowledge,” Mabojta said.

Tiffany Smith, the founder of Tiltas, has come to Africa as a Mandela-Washington Reciprocal Exchange Fellow.

Tiltas is an early stage venture that provides an integrated platform to non-profit organizations to communicate with their target clientele via text messaging and collecting meaningful data for reporting.
Smith shared best practices on Business Model Canvas and other practical entrepreneurial tools.

The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and lean startup template for developing new or documenting existing business models.

It is expected to assist startups aligning their activities leading to positive outcomes in the future.

“Ultimately, the aim was to give them (local startups) a tool that make their business to be sustainable,” said Smith.

Upon returning to their home countries, fellows like Mabotja continue building the skills they developed during their time in the US through regional conferences, professional practicum experiences, and mentoring opportunities.

Fellows may also apply for their American colleagues to travel to Africa to continue project-based collaboration through the Reciprocal Exchange.

“That’s why we are here (Johannesburg) to bring that amazing knowledge that I got from Northwestern Kellog Business School and share those fundamentals with local entrepreneurs to create a multiplier impact,” Mabojta said.
– CAJ News

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