Judi Sandrock, CEO of MEDO.
MEDO held its entrepreneurial programme finale at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) to reveal the progress and achievements of the tech startup finalists.
HumanIPO reported earlier this year on the MEDO British Telecoms (BT) Bootcamp and pitching events in preparation for the United Kingdom-bound investment trip.
Judi Sandrock, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder at MEDO, pointed to the statistics as given at the recent BRICS conference as a goal for South Africa to aspire to provide more employment opportunities from small businesses.
Employment percentages of the BRICS nations from businesses with less than 20 staff
members are 79 per cent for Russia, 78 per cent in Brazil, India at 79 per cent and 85 per cent for China.
Comparing the statistics to the world leading United States market with 81 per cent small business employment, Sandrock feels South Africa should aspire to achieve 80 per cent from its current 60 per cent rate.
“We have some space to move in terms of where the jobs are coming from if we really want to be on par with our BRICS partners,” the CEO said.
Sandrock feels this is especially important since 46 per cent of South African youth are unemployed, which poses the opportunity for more small businesses to start.
Nolu Tutani, program and events co-ordinator at MEDO, referred to the African metaphor, saying: “It takes a village to raise a child.”
She believes the support of bigger institutions behind startup entrepreneurs are critical for job creation.
“I believe that in order for us to create jobs in South Africa, most of the jobs are created in the small businesses so that is why we need to empower and develop small businesses in South Africa in order to grow our economy,” Tutani said.
She also mentioned governmental institutions such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and MEDO can help with support.
Veronica Shangali, co-founder of African craft e-commerce startup Wavunow, said investors only listen to startups who have the support of big companies, such as BT, behind them.
Shangali thanked BT for being a sponsor to the MEDO program.
Sandrock challenged the tech startups to promote employment of South Africans through appointments.
“We are all looking at you to build the economy, to produce the jobs,” she said.