Cape Town emerges as a start-up powerhouse

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 14 Jul 2020

Sometimes billed as the “tech hub” of the African continent, the City of Cape Town is now ranked among the top 100 emerging start-up ecosystems in the world.

This is based on the Global Start-up Ecosystem Report 2020 (GSER 2020), which provides start-up ecosystem research conducted by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network.

The research assesses over 270 ecosystems across over 100 countries to rank the top 30 globally and runners-up. This year, the research report went beyond the top ecosystems to include the emerging ecosystems – the next 100 ecosystems after the top ones.

According to Start-up Genome, the report took into account the factor weights to rank these ecosystems, which were slightly different to those used for top ecosystems. This was done in order to reflect its emerging status and to emphasise the factors that have more influence in ecosystems that were starting to grow.

The GSER notes that as start-up culture and entrepreneurship has spread across the world, different ecosystems are gaining relevance and impacting economies in a meaningful way.

The Western Cape capital city is one of only four African cities on the top 100 emerging start-up ecosystem rankings, coming in second after Cairo in Egypt.

The city’s latest ranking comes hot on the heels of it being ranked the top start-up city in SA by global start-up ecosystem map and research centre, StartupBlink, reveals mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos.

A 2018 report by conducted by Endeavor Insight identified the greater Cape Town area, including Stellenbosch, as the most productive technology sector in Africa.

Vos says: “As the city, we are immensely proud that Cape Town has been acknowledged as an emergent start-up powerhouse. Cape Town is recognised as the digitech hub of Africa and a leading location for tech start-ups and venture capital deals.

“The city is also home to almost two-thirds of all start-ups in South Africa. This can be attributed to the many support structures we have put in place to assist entrepreneurs.”

Vos believes there are a number of compelling reasons entrepreneurs are drawn to choosing Cape Town, notably the city’s idyllic lifestyle, access to start-up capital, and a culture of innovation, to name a few.

“The latest ranking is a result of the city, together with our strategic business partners and the private sector’s dedicated efforts to attract investment to create the conditions for businesses to grow and create employment.

“The city boasts first-class infrastructure, sound governance and four of the top universities in Africa, providing a skilled workforce. As tech hub of the continent, Cape Town has what it takes to provide a business-friendly environment which grows the economy and creates jobs.”