South Africa needs a rational approach to tech investing, says TechNvst director

Miana NaudeA chronic ICT skills shortage, poor macro-economic conditions and tightening corporate budgets are contributing to a tough operating environment for South African startups and top blue chip enterprises alike, according to Miana Naude, director of TechNvst

TechNvst is a strategic innovation commercialisation partner dedicated to scaling solution integrators through corporate collaboration and facilitating market access.

“The current challenges demand a clear and realistic approach to tech investing that understands how the growth strategies of big business can meaningfully intersect with new and innovative solutions on offer from high-potential startups,” Naude commented.

She added that although well-intentioned, many existing venture capital (VC) models aren’t entirely suitable in certain local and individualised contexts.

Through corporate relationships, TechNvst is set to provide an insight into blue chip enterprises’ growth strategies as well as the various preferences and approaches to digital disruption. By engaging with organisations, the company focuses on identifying opportunities for business solution providers that fit a corporate’s criteria.

Need to create an enabling environment for South African tech startups

South Africa’s ICT skills shortage is a major stumbling block to creating an enabling environment for tech startups, according to Naude. “The most recent JCSE Skills Survey highlights the need for greater collaboration between business leaders and policymakers to develop strategies for growing and retaining digital skills,” she added.

The report has focused on how the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) terminology is used as catchphrase referring to all aspects of digital adoption and transformation.

“We see a lot of mistakes being made with respect to thinking about and implementing digital transformation strategies,” added Naude. “In far too many instances, digital transformation is viewed as requiring a total top to bottom overhaul of business processes and practices, instead of a far more realistic approach that prioritises making meaningful and sustainable improvements that deliver measurable benefits over time.”

Much more to be done in South African tech investing space

According to Naude, in addition to recognising that a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to yield good results, much more needs to be done in the South African tech investing space to mentor startups to ensure more successful market introductions. “Support that enables the rapid scaling of startups is as equally important as other considerations like access to appropriate funding and entrepreneurial development.”

According to the annual CB Insights Survey, an international VC database, “Scaling a startup is widely considered the greatest test for entrepreneurs, for good reason. It is a time when the business becomes more complex and meeting client expectations is paramount.”

“By taking a responsible and practical approach to digital transformation and tech investing, more South African businesses will be able to reap the benefits while fostering a spirit of innovation that the country needs to enable the industry to truly flourish.”

twn Are you sure that you want to switch to desktop version?