President Cyril Ramaphosa has congratulated all the tech start-ups that participated in the MultiChoice Accelerator Programme during the South Africa Day celebrations at the Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The programme, which is a collaboration with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic), Galelo Africa and Companies Creating Change (C3) – forms part of the MultiChoice Innovation Fund (MIF) and supports the growth and development of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in South Africa.
It also aims to connect them with global investors to unlock business opportunities that will enrich their lives, the communities they function in and the South African economy at large.
The President said that up-and-coming South African entrepreneurs, who were chosen to pitch to investors out of an initial 168 applicants countrywide, are the cream of the crop with diverse portfolios ranging from health-tech, to green-tech, mobility-tech, edu-tech, fintech and gaming.
“You are truly trailblazers, and are flying our flag high here at Dubai Expo 2020. What is most energising about this programme is that you are showing the world that South Africa has a vibrant start-up culture, as well as advanced innovation ecosystems.
“Innovation in science and tech is key to our country’s industrialisation, especially in the post-COVID-19 recovery period,” the President said.
The President said that this opens up new pathways for skills development, employment and self-employment, and prepares more of the country’s citizens, especially young citizens, for the new world of work.
He said that the MultiChoice Group is a South African company with a solid reputation for innovation and disruption in the country, on the continent, and across the world.
“The MultiChoice Accelerator complements government’s efforts to harness the power of the digital economy and the 4IR.
“I am told the pitches to international investors and venture capitalists have been a great success. A number of small businesses here today have in fact been supported with commitments that can provide the capital to fuel these businesses and translate the ideas into jobs and economic output.
“No doubt the over 40 business leads that have been generated will result in tangible outcomes for your respective businesses,” the President said.
He said that this activation is one of Team SA’s legacy projects at Dubai Expo 2020, and stands as an example of the benefits of public private sector collaboration and partnership.
Drawing on the expertise and experience in cross border operations of firms like MultiChoice and Standard Bank and companies like Pepsico who have committed to help grow small businesses, the President said that start-ups will gain the know-how of operating across borderless markets and on commercialization across multiple e-commerce platforms.
He reiterated that government has always said that disruption and innovation are one of the drivers of economic growth, not least of all because of the immense opportunities this presents for entrepreneurship and self-employment.
“I want to appreciate the work of, and also encourage large firms to do more to strengthen our budding tech start-up ecosystem, and to support its expansion.
“This programme is an inspiration. It is our wish and expectation that it is expanded, so we see more platforms, applications and startups mushrooming back home,” he said.