SA start-up policy drive gets UK financial backing

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 11 Jul 2023

The British High Commission’s UK-SA Tech Hub has committed to a second round of funding for the SA Start-up Act Movement (SUA).

Initiated in 2020, the SUA is a collective of South African start-up investors, incubators, accelerators and founders. It has called on government to implement a comprehensive Act to reinvigorate SA’s start-up scene, to support high-growth start-ups and relax policy hindrances.

In a statement, the UK-SA Tech Hub says it will provide financial and technical support to the SUA, in line with advancing the latter’s efforts.

Milisa Mabinza, director of the UK-SA Tech Hub, believes the SUA’s efforts are key to the country moving towards a more supportive policy environment.

“I think the Start-up Act Movement has a vital role to play in steering the policy framework in South Africa. This is the impetus behind our decision to put funding behind this endeavour for a second year.

“In the short time since the collective was established in 2020, there has been noteworthy growth. Start-up visas are firmly on the president’s radar, the deputy finance minister has adopted some of the business case studies that have been shared, and the SUA has also garnered support from the World Bank,” notes Mabinza.

“We believe that, with a few key policy changes, South Africa can create a flourishing start-up ecosystem that will have a positive fiscal impact, elevating South Africa’s high-growth entrepreneurs to attract international VC, while encouraging the development of more high-growth start-ups locally.”

Matsi Modise, chairperson of the SUA, adds: “The UK-SA Tech Hub is committed to supporting the development of SA's tech entrepreneurship ecosystem and actively looks for gaps in the market where support is needed.

“The organisation identified a need in the local tech landscape to help us drive policy reform and enable the growth and expansion of emerging businesses.”

The key policy reforms the SA Start-up Act Movement aims to address include intellectual property legislation, exchange control restrictions when a start-up establishes its global HQ, capital gains tax, as well as a start-up and remote worker visa.

Mabinza states: “Our role is to support South Africa’s high-growth start-ups – whether in the tech industry, or by enabling SMEs in rural and township communities to become tech-enabled businesses − to maximise the value and impact they have on the South African economy and job creation.

“We believe the country has the potential to cultivate the emergence of the next unicorn on the continent, and through this second round of funding, look forward to being part of these important efforts.”

The UK-South Africa Tech Hubis a UK government initiative designed to promote digital inclusion and inclusive growth of the digital ecosystems in partner countries.