SAVCA: “Venture Capital has Power to Address SA’s Challenges, But More Investors are Needed”

There is a strong business case for venture capital (VC) investing in South Africa, not least because of the opportunity it presents for positive social and economic impact. 

This was discussed extensively by a number of key industry players at the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) VC Conference 2021 held in Cape Town last week.

Llew Claasen, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Newton Partners says the country’s dire economic situation is well known. 

“Our unemployment figures are amongst the highest in the world, we are one of the most unequal societies globally and many of our people live in poverty. The big picture is that we have 64% youth unemployment. VC promotes entrepreneurship for people who want to change their circumstances.”

Ketso Gordhan, CEO of SA SME Fund says backing entrepreneurs that are going to invest in science and technology is a key part of the economic solution in South Africa. 

Gladwyn Leeuw, General Partner at Kingson Capital says it is  not just government and development funders’ responsibility to create jobs. 

“In fact, there’s not enough capital from these two sources to solve South Africa’s social issues. “Government is under pressure financially and even the private sector is struggling due to the country’s ratings downgrade.” 

Tanya van Lill, CEO of SAVCA says the VC sector in South Africa is growing and is contributing positively to social and economic development, but it needs more support from big investors to make the impact it has the potential to.

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