Omidya Network Releases Results of Accelerating Entrepreneurship in Africa Survey
The “Accelerating Entrepreneurship in Africa” survey found 57 per cent of respondents consider becoming an entrepreneur a desirable career choice. The findings signal the presence of an important condition necessary for high-impact entrepreneurship to thrive in Africa: no longer is being an entrepreneur solely a decision of necessity, but one of aspiration.
Tebogo Skwambane, the managing partner of the Monitor Group Johannesburg, presented the results at Omidyar Network’s Entrepreneurship in Africa Summit in Accra, Ghana, on Wednesday, 10 October.
According to him, the survey also identified significant barriers to fostering an environment in which high-impact entrepreneurship can thrive. A lack of access to financing, inadequate infrastructure, insufficient skills training, limited affordable and accessible business support services and burdensome administrative policies were among the obstacles included in the survey findings.
Some of the findings include:
- Sixty per cent of respondents held that the cost of capital hinders company formation and growth.
- Only 23 per cent believe they can afford the costs associated with using existing infrastructure.
- Eighty per cent believe primary and secondary schools do not devote enough time to teaching entrepreneurship, and 59 per cent believe the same of colleges and universities.
- Fifty-five per cent feel that there aren’t sufficient business support services available for new and growing firms.
- Sixty-two per cent responded that they know entrepreneurs who have admitted to circumventing administrative burdens that discourage formalising a business. These include: paying taxes, obtaining licenses and hiring employees informally.
“Our success begins with understanding the needs of the entrepreneurs, the landscape in which they operate and the barriers that need to be removed to create vibrant businesses,” said Malik Fal, Omidyar Network’s Managing Director for Africa. “At the ‘Entrepreneurship in Africa Summit’, this research sparked critical conversations and healthy debate among many of the people who can help remove these barriers: early-stage investors like Omidyar Network, business and government leaders, and entrepreneurs themselves. The survey will be available on the Monitor Group and Omidyar Network websites in the near future. A whitepaper detailing the discussions and recommendations coming out of the Entrepreneurship in Africa Summit will be published next March. Both promise to carry these important conversations through 2013.”
According to him, the multi-phase research project will gather insights into the health of entrepreneurial ecosystems in Africa, the challenges facing African entrepreneurs and the barriers to creating environments supportive of entrepreneurship.
The project commenced with a recent survey of entrepreneurs in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania. Subsequent phases of the research will lead to the formulation of recommendations on the critical policies required for entrepreneurship to thrive in these six countries.
Monitor’s findings and the Entrepreneurship in Africa Summit are part of a week of events focused on creating and celebrating high-impact entrepreneurship on the continent. The week began with ON Baraza, Omidyar Network’s annual gathering of its Africa-based and Africa-focused portfolio organizations, and culminated with the African Leadership Network’s annual conference and the 2012 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship.
“Despite facing significant challenges and obstacles, the African entrepreneur is resilient and optimistic,” said Tebogo Skwambane, the managing partner of the Monitor Group Johannesburg. “To maximize the contribution that entrepreneurs can make to the continent, it is critical that policymakers craft policies that are suitable for their national or regional context. This requires not only better understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the entrepreneurial environment, which our survey set out to do, but also requires more focused, tailored and locally meaningful strategy formulation by policymakers.”
ABOUT MONITOR GROUP
Monitor Group works with the world’s leading corporations, governments and social sector organisations to drive growth on the issues that are most important to them. Founded and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the firm offers a range of services – advisory, capability-building and capital services –designed to unlock the challenges of achieving sustained growth. Monitor brings leading-edge ideas, approaches, and methods to bear on clients’ toughest problems and biggest opportunities. For more information, visit www.monitor.com.
ABOUT OMIDYAR NETWORK
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $550 million to for-profit companies and non-profit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple initiatives, including entrepreneurship, financial inclusion, property rights, government transparency, consumer Internet and mobile. To learn more, visit www.omidyar.com.
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