GEN partnered with MiSK Foundation to launch the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC), and now it is even bigger and better than last year. EWC South Africa is organized by 22 On Sloane, the largest startup hub on the African continent. We spoke with Mahlatse Tolamo, ecosystem enabler for the hub, on how the impact of joining a global community through the Entrepreneurship World Cup came to be the perfect strengthening agent for South Africa's startup ecosystem. Tolamo also discusses how their startups have more opportunities to engage and globally scale their businesses.
This article is part of a series highlighting EWC national organizers around the world.
ABOUT YOUR COUNTRY’S STARTUP ECOSYSTEM
EWC Global: Tell us about your startup ecosystem in your country. What are its main characteristics? If you could change one thing to make it better, what would it be? Who are the stars of your country’s ecosystem?
Mahlatse Tolamo: The South African startup ecosystem is one of the most robust and developed on the continent thanks to several strengths — including significant consumer and business markets, sophisticated entrepreneurial talent and a strong corporate sector. South Africa has access to local capital and ties to a growing number of international investors. High tech startups thrive in the midst of a growing number of startup support organizations active in the ecosystem. 22 On Sloane’s main characteristics are categorized by different startup programs which are tailored for different business needs.
ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION
EWC Global: Tell us about your organization. What does it do to support entrepreneurs and/or grow your startup ecosystem?
Mahlatse Tolamo : 22 On Sloane is the largest startup campus in Africa. We offer disruptive startups and innovative SMEs a complete turnkey solution to scale — from the initial idea, all the way to commercialization, funding opportunities and access to markets. Some of our programs include:
- Youth Weekend Program: This program is targeted at participants between the ages of 13- 20. It is designed to inspire a culture of entrepreneurship and stimulate innovative idea generation amongst young people through a series of interactive Business Model Development workshops.
- Incubation Program: This program is designed for entrepreneurs who are in the process of starting or launching their new venture. It focuses on the identified market opportunity, scrumming and helping you launch your startup.
- Accelerator Program: This program is designed for startups that are post revenue and ready to scale and attract investments into their company.
- Residency Program: This program is designed for entrepreneurs who are in the process of starting or launching their new venture. It focuses on concept testing, refining your business concept, helping you launch your startup and exploring ways to finance your startup.
ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP WORLD CUP
EWC Global: When did you decide to get involved in the Entrepreneurship World Cup and why?
Mahlatse Tolamo: We hosted the Entrepreneurship World Cup in 2019, and it was a success. Getting involved in EWC means growing our startup community and giving our startups more opportunities to engage and scale their businesses all over the world. Such initiatives also allow innovative ideas to flourish and become recognized.
EWC Global: How does EWC support the other work that your organization does?
Mahlatse Tolamo: More startups will get to know about the work that 22 On Sloane does. Furthermore, we might recognize startups who are disruptive in their sector and need assistance with growing their businesses.
EWC Global:What do you hope to achieve with EWC 2020?
Mahlatse Tolamo: I hope to grow and strengthen our startup community. Not only can startups learn about the work that 22 On Sloane does and can join our program, but they can also further their entrepreneurial knowledge and look to others for guidance.