A Case for Change

As entrepreneurial community leaders, we are doing our entrepreneurs and start-ups a disservice by not bringing efficiency, measurability, and innovation into our ecosystems. This case for change is a look at a bold new world where entrepreneurial activity is driven by innovation and made efficient by measuring real impact of our activities through technology.

For too long we have kept to status-quo and outdated ways of doing business in how we run our programs, especially as it relates to our diversity and inclusion programs, pushing back at innovative tools, new ways of working, and new entrants into this arena. The real impact of this has been felt on rural cities, under-served communities, minorities and marginalized people. We need to change the way we look at how we serve. We need to embrace change, bring in fresh ideas, adopt new technologies, and measure our impact with better tools.

Fragmentation in the ecosystem solutions and providers

The second part of the problem is that in the absence of a platform that can bring the various ecosystem players in a community together, the ecosystem has become fragmented. In cities across Africa, there is now an explosion of events for entrepreneurs every day, many of them similar or redundant in the outcome they are trying to drive.

Yet it has never been harder to start a business. In fact, I would argue that all this noise hurts the startups trying to make it to their next milestone or find that first customer. We need to come together to make engagements more meaningful so when we do take a startup from their desk to network or learn a new topic, that we track effectiveness of our programs and ensure that the time spent at the event has been meaningful for the startup. And finally, we need to have a better tool to communicate with each other as community builders so we can reduce noise and drive clarity and purpose around our offerings to the startups in our ecosystem.

Why Startup Mzansi’s technology can revolutionize ecosystem building

The state-of-the-art ecosystem-building platform at Startup Mzansi (StartupApp) was borne out of the frustration I felt as a startup in dealing with my ecosystem builders a decade ago. I thought to myself that there had to be a better way to engage the community and measure impact. I didn’t find one that worked, so we built it.

Our purpose is to connect startups with resources in their local communities so they can quickly find what they need and get back to building their businesses.

We excel at driving efficiencies into the ecosystem by connecting startups.

App Features

  • 24/7 always-on local network where users can ask questions from their mentors and peers
  • Access to vetted local startup resources
  • Curated library of expert content on key business topics
  • Live town halls and webinars hosted by industry experts
  • Registration within the app to attend local events for startups
  • Feature to find and book local co-working spaces
  • Options to find partners and co-founders on the job portal site

 Tools for Ecosystem Builders

For our ecosystem building partners, we co-brand our tools so it is a joint offering for the community. The StartupApp is offered to the community for free. Here are some features:

  • Private community within the StartupApp platform that is secure and private (The content and data are accessible to entrepreneurs who are a part of the network.)
  • Content library where all proprietary content is loaded and consumed securely within the network
  • Resource directory that dynamically changes the available resources
  • Complete co-working space management tool that can be used to book a meeting space in a local co-working space
  • Live town hall feature for when startups cannot make it physically to a meeting and want to join remotely
  • Measurement of the impact of various programs offered to the entrepreneurial ecosystem using state of the art visual reporting, including dashboards
  • Surveys to do customized querying of the ecosystem to gather qualitative data that be layered with the quantitative data coming from the daily reports
  • Mobile app and a website so the end user can decide if they want to join the network via an app or through their computer

We know that seeing is believing, so we’re offering a free 30-day trial for our platform. We also love partnerships because we don’t believe that this is a zero sum game. If you think you have a product or service that can be used with the StartupApp, let us know.

Our Call to Action

Starting a business is a really hard and lonely endeavor. However, with the right support and aid from an innovative community-building solution, it can become just a little easier. This is just what the startups in our local communities need to be successful.

Sandile Shabangu

StartupGuy is the Founder of Startup Mzansi and is on a mission to build Africa's Startup Ecosystem thus laying the foundation by bringing the essential elements for anyone to start and stay started in business.

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