The Western Cape Entrepreneurial Resource Project

 
South Africa is lagging behind other developing countries in the area of entrepreneurship, and has experienced a marked decrease in entrepreneurial activity in recent years. According to the GEM 2014 report the early-entrepreneurial activity rate dropped by a staggering 34%.

Beyond their own talent, experience, access and education, entrepreneurs are enabled by both the policies and legal framework in which they operate, as well as the web of service providers that support them. Without a thriving ecosystem, realising the economic development and job creation potential that entrepreneur’s offer is virtually impossible to achieve.

The first step towards stimulating entrepreneurship is mapping and measuring the existing entrepreneurial ecosystem, this includes the policy environment, financial capital and funding available, culture and societal norms, markets, human capital and support available. This analysis allows for diagnosis of potential challenges and opportunities that can be addressed through specific interventions.

The Western Cape Entrepreneurial Resource project specifically focusses on the support available to entrepreneurs and will form the platform on which future academic research into the other pillars of the ecosystem will be conducted.

The ecosystem map generated from the data collected will serve as a guide for government and other organisations enabling the identification of services currently being supplied, areas where additional service providers are required and areas that are currently being over serviced.

The ecosystem map will be generated using this website where the various support organisations can continually create and update their own profiles, highlighting the services they offer and contact information. Inclusion in the website directory is voluntary. By incorporating the mapping process into a fully searchable user-friendly website, we ensure that support organisations receive an immediate benefit from participation in the project; as well as ensuring that the ecosystem map is up to date and accurate. Entrepreneurial Support Organisations will receive increased exposure and networking opportunities with peers and other organisations within the ecosystem.

The website will also provide an access point for start-ups or potential entrepreneurs (specifically unemployed youth) needing a push in the right direction enabling them to identify the most suitable support and funding opportunities.

The data gathered through the website will be used to create a comprehensive entrepreneurial ecosystem map, allowing government and other interested organisations (including academics and researchers) to make more informed policy decisions and to focus our efforts and funding on the correct areas.

LEAD RESEARCHER

 

Anria van Zyl is a CA(SA) currently employed as a full time senior lecturer in the School of Accountancy at Stellenbosch University. She is lecturing Information Systems focusing on Accounting Information Systems, Risk Management and Sustainable Business Models. She holds a Master of Accounting (Computer Auditing) and an MPhil in Environmental Management. She is currently registered as a PhD student with the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University.