Victoria Okafor, a member of DePECOS Institutions and Development Research Centre (DIaDeRC) Team, had the privilege of participating in the Cape Town Finance and Entrepreneurship Workshop at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. This workshop, running from November 27th to 30th, 2023, united early-career researchers from across the globe within five years of their Ph.D. graduation. Organised by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, the workshop aimed to drive private sector development in low-income countries, focusing on venture capital (VC) research and addressing challenges faced by African start-ups and underperforming VC funds.
The workshop involved meetings with start-up founders in Cape Town, a leading technological hub in sub-Saharan Africa. Discussions centred on challenges faced by founders in launching technological products, including access to funds, VC funding requirements, market uniqueness, and bottlenecks at various business stages. Victoria was part of a team that engaged with start-up firms like Peach Payments, Ollie Health, and Happy Pay during the event.
Additionally, participants toured Innovation City, meeting with Zachariah George, Managing Partner of Launch Africa, to understand challenges in brokering deals between start-up founders and investors. Challenges highlighted included founder motivation, rigorous paperwork, product alignment with Africa’s challenges, and government restrictions in some African countries. Day one concluded with a dinner at the University.
Day two featured interactions with Founders Factory, a South African-based VC fund, and a presentation by Dario Giuliani from Briter Bridges, focusing on data collection for VC funds and start-ups. Michelle Matthews from Viridan led a plenary session on building networks of Angel investors. The workshop concluded with participant presentations, sharing insights gained from interactions with founders and VC funds. Eghosa Oimogui, founder of Echo VC, joined the final workshop day’s plenary session, followed by arelaxed social gathering at Constantin Glen Winery in Cape Town. At the AESIS 2023 event, Victoria engaged with other VCs and start-ups, exploring areas where researchers could aid in policy interventions for the industry’s benefit.