It shouldn’t come as a surprise that creating a new technology business can be extremely difficult. For this reason, new research suggests that SA should identify sectors in which it sees potential to become a global leader, and focus attention and resources on these.

"Fast-tracking Our Ecosystem", a report released by business consulting company Elevation last month, says health-care technology, financial technology (fintech) and renewable energy are the three areas where SA should invest resources. These are the most likely sectors in which SA can contribute to world-class research and commercial activity, it says. Start-ups, mainly in technology, have sprung up in recent years thanks to the greater availability of bandwidth. Fintech enterprises — aimed at making banking easier and more accessible in real time — have had the biggest growth. While a little less than 40% of national GDP is generated by small, medium and micro enterprises, a tiny proportion of that comes from high-growth, high-impact ventures or start-ups, says Elevation MD Jason Levin. Globally, Levin says, innovation-led businesses are growing at 4.5%, against overall economic growth of only 2.6%. But can start-ups find the right support in SA? SA has more than 300 incubators an...

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