Africa ready to accommodate ICT start-ups


Image: Marnus Viljoen. By BiztechAfrica
Marnus Viljoen

Now is the time for startups to embrace the many opportunities within the burgeoning ICT sector, says Marnus Viljoen, Chief Technology Officer at FOXit.

The ICT market would not be where it is right now without the contribution and significance of startup technology companies.

This is the view of executive management at FOXit, an Independent Software Vendor and Microsoft-certified Gold Partner.

Marnus Viljoen, Chief Technology Officer at FOXit, says “startups are the heart and soul of the ICT market. They are that special place where dreams become innovation and innovation becomes success.”

Viljoen believes now is the time for startups to really embrace the many opportunities within the burgeoning ICT sector. One of the reasons is because of the level of industry-led support, via training and development initiatives, that exists and that entrepreneurs can take advantage of.

He cites the Microsoft Bizspark Program as an example. This program helps startup companies by doing away with the initial cost of both software and servers, allowing them to focus on products and services instead of overheads.

Another similar initiative is that of South Africa's Aurik Business Incubator, a company that is focused on the development of entrepreneurial businesses.

A lack of available capital represents an ongoing challenge to entrepreneurs wanting to enter and sustain operations within ICT.

This shortage has resulted in the rapid increase in angel investors and venture capitalists. Viljoen believes the advantage of establishing a partnership like this is that in many cases it would be impossible for the startup to achieve success without this capital outlay.

But is a startup that has been able to sustain itself without any capital investment from outside the company automatically a stronger operation compared to one that has relied on investors? This is about long-term growth strategy management says Viljoen.

“Although a company that held its own knows how to conservatively grow only where it is truly able to, a company that had the advantage of capital investment will have the advantage of showing more profitability much quicker - and will reach a stronger vantage point much quicker in its life cycle,” he says.

The most important thing for any new company is to minimize overheads and only expand when this expansion can be sustained Viljoen continues.

“Africa has a fantastic supply of skilled resources and, with the constant development of infrastructure, the region’s growing ICT market is an attractive option for potential investors and entrepreneurs,” he concludes. 

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