African Small and Medium Tech Startups Defy The Pandemic

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William Jackson, M.Ed., Educator, Blogger, Advocate for STREAM

The pandemic has been disruptive globally and disrupted the growth and stability of businesses globally. The United States has projections that up to 60% of small and medium businesses will close permanently. The closure of these businesses will have economic effects on the communities they are in and a gradual spread of economic issues will expand as workers that are unemployed cannot pay rents, mortgages, car payments, utilities and even shopping for food. The human tragedy will grow. Unemployment statistics are rising faster than the rates of the Great Depression in comparisons show that once businesses are closed they will never return. The ramifications will be felt locally then nationally as monies are not available to provide tax payments that support services that support communities and cities. When compared globally countries around the world are strategically changing their business models. The African continent has experienced economic shifts in the beginning of the pandemic, business leaders have looked at how they can strategically change their business models to support businesses at all levels. The decisions were difficult, but African business leaders have made rapid changes that are increasingly solid and foundational to saving many business that are better than the United States model of hands-off and slowly helping small and medium


The African Continent

African Tech Startups are still growing even during a pandemic because African businesses are providing services that Africans need and collaboration is available. The original thought was that funding’s would drop, which they did as a result of the COVID19 crisis. To help Startups adjust they were told to continue to develop their ideas and make adjustable terms when asking for investments and funding. Even if it would slow growth, but slow growth is better than no growth. The annual African Tech Startups Funding Report from Disrupt Africa showed that startups on the continent of Africa in January thru March raised totals. In US dollars $100 million in funding even though there was a big decline of investments there are signs of rapid recovery. COVID19 still presents a change and challenge in economic recovery, because attitudes of investors are still cautious. This does not stop African digital innovators, African content creators and STREAM advocates from still following their dreams to start their businesses. The wonderful news to African business owners is that some investors remain active throughout this pandemic crisis and African business startups have avenues to go if they need additional funding. Many investors are already looking past the pandemic unlike American and even British businesses that are looking at bailouts, safeguards, bankruptcy strategies and quick sales of all or portions of the business to keep it alive. Too many global businesses are not looking at the well-being of their employees and throwing them to unemployment lines, food-lines, potential for homelessness and even families going hungry. African businesses are putting in strategies that help build adjustments to save

small and medium businesses.

KidsCamp Lagos

Systems set in place in Africa are not perfect, because many small and medium businesses do not have a relationship with banks and cannot apply for loans, grants and other services. So those older businesses face closure and will affect families because they are family owned businesses. Even though some of the news is dire the year of 2020 is still on course to beat last year’s record and become the best yet for investment into African tech startups, and more opportunities will be done over the course of the year. The simple fact of the matter is that plenty of investors have funds that need to be invested and waiting for the right business model to invest and watch those business grow. The pandemic shows that intellectualism matters, business networking matters, building a professional learning network matters, collaboration matters and helping people humanely and humanistically matters. African businesses see the need to help the people of Africa in their respective nations. Africa is learning from the United States financial decisions what not to do and what the political administrations are not following American models of leadership. Doing some research of investment leaders I found information about Zachariah George, chief investment officer at Startupbootcamp Africa. He is a principal at Nedbank Venture Capital, he states “So any VC fund in Africa that was raised in 2017 or later – and there are plenty of them given that the African VC industry is only seven to-eight years old at best.” That means that VC’s have cash to invest, they just need to be impressed by digital innovators to see the value in their ideas. Investing through the crisis, African startups still have places to go during COVID-19 African technology startups have a better chance of funding than many American technology startups. Historically those businesses during extreme disasters with vision benefit because they attack the issues and problems of the times and fill a gap. They are unique, diversified in their services and know that even during disasters like a pandemic this is the time to expand,

collaborate, invest, build, create and grow.

African businesses that are small, medium and large need to take advantage of any and all business Zoom meetings, GotoMeetings, Webinars and digital workshops to build their network, build relationships with potential

Venture Capitalists, banks and the diversity of investors.

As a blogger and content creator I encourage African small and medium business owners to research VC firms to find resources to keep them going, expand or even tech companies to seek additional investments. As an educator of STREAM, I’m not a financial expert, strategist nor advisor just providing encouragement, opportunities and inspiration to follow their dreams even in a pandemic. There are always risks with investments during challenging times like this pandemic so African business owners need

to be sure they have done their homework and research.

Africa On The Blog

The flexibility of technology allows for flexibility in seeking funding, investments, collaborations and even partnerships. Africa is growing to be a technological powerhouse by providing workshops, classes and conferences for youth, teens and young adults that will be future leaders for Africa. These youth, teens and young adults will provide STREAM, Technology-driven and real world solutions that have the potential to be great investments. This pandemic has created a need to change the thinking of African investing by bankers, insurers, VC and the government. There is more optimism on the continent being shown from collaborations with China and even future investments by Mexico, Canada, Japan and other European markets that are locking out the United States not just because of the pandemic, but because of slanderous words and disrespectful behaviors toward

African nations by the American administration.

As an educator, content creator, sponsor of technology conferences and advocate for African educational growth and ministry the existing calamity has many challenges, and the opportunities at hand for investments far outweigh the challenges, and many investors are excited about the unique opportunities to invest in businesses on the

African continent.

Want to learn more about what is developing with technology in Nigeria? Join the Lagos, Nigerian WordPress Group

William is the digital innovator for his brand My Quest To Teach using the hashtag #MyQuestToTeach sharing his journey teaching,  mentoring,

community activism and community collaborations.

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