Economic Spotlight on Southern African Entrepreneurs in Industry 4.0

International industry experts are in attendance at the First Africa Tech Conference, hosted by the Southern Africa Business and Technology Incubation Association (SABTIA) in partnership with the City of Ekurhuleni and Monash SA. The two-day conference, held at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, is focusing on innovation in business incubation and acceleration, repositioning the sector to prepare and sustain the entrepreneurship ecosystem for the future.

Speaking at the event, Minister Lindiwe Zulu, highlighted the critical need to reduce the crippling effects of government bureaucracy on small business growth.

“Africa is no longer playing catch up with the rest of the world, we are competing with it. And we are competing in a digital economy with a rate of change faster than the world has seen for the last 300 years. Through SEDA and initiatives like the SABTIA Tech Conference, we can unlock the economic potential of South African Entrepreneurs, enabling them to access high quality and innovative business support. We also have to ensure that we are driven by local realities and ensure that our support mechanisms are relevant to the South African realities of rural and township economies.”

Other key debates coming out of the conference include:
The launch of the South Africa Business Incubation Conference in November.
Integrating the new skills sets, required for Industry 4.0 and the knowledge era, into our education institutions.
Ensuring the implementation of cross-departmental (transversal) agreements inside Government (i.e agreements between DSB and DST) which will support inclusive innovation and development.
How to localise critical global content and best practice

“Incubators, traditionally designed as support systems, are developing into growth acceleration mechanisms, critical to the improvement of the SMME success rate. SABTIA aims to build a more inclusive incubation and acceleration system which will better serve small businesses and start-ups, including those in the informal sector – a sector that has largely been ignored by incubation programmes in the past,” says SABTIA Chairperson, Zaid Mohidin.

Southern Africa Business and Technology Incubation Association (SABTIA) is an independent and private association formed to promote and coordinate business incubation in Southern Africa. SABTIA was set up to serve as the industry standard practitioner and members association, by providing the dissemination of knowledge, skills, training and expertise to the ecosystem nationally, continentally and internationally through partnerships with SEDA, DSBN, EBN as well as INBIA.

With the industry entering a new cycle we see more and more countries not only consolidating their ecosystems but more importantly also ensuring that appropriate local models are developed in alignment with global standards. The push to cross-pollinate and to collaborate to develop effective ecosystems – with best practices and standards – is fast becoming a priority. SABTIA has been reformed to address this priority.