Written by: Anazi Piper
One of Africa’s greatest orators, serial entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, Vusi Thembekwayo, graced Smarter Mobility Africa summit in October this year
“The development of startups in Africa is important because Africa has got really large-scale problems so we need large scale solutions to fix them. Startups are amongst one of the most effective ways to create solutions and scale them quickly and impact as many lives as possible,” says Thembekwayo.
The well-seasoned business strategist advises startups to not take a step backwards because they lack funding. But instead, propels them to make strong connections and build a good reputation for their business to secure capital.
“Build relationships, in particular with funders and manage your reputation so that you’re able to access capital,” says Thembekwayo.
He also shares his experiences of working in different countries across the continent.
“I don’t know where I would be but wherever that is I would be home,” chuckles Thembekwayo.
Thembekwayo’s influence spans into policy advocacy, where he advises startups to come out of their small corners and bring policymakers into the conversation to create businesses that scale, impact and grow the economy and its people.
“The challenge is that we presuppose policymakers that make poor decisions. Often, they make decisions based off the information they have, and we are not presenting them with a different set of facts. The next iteration for us is to get everyone on the same table,” notes Thembekwayo.
He concluded by stating that startups need to be intentional about discussing critical issues with policy makers which affect the scale-up of businesses. His vision is to bridge the gap between visionary entrepreneurs and regulatory frameworks, to ensure optimal conditions for high-growth scale-ups in mobility.
“As intentional as we were 10 years ago with capital owners, now we have to do the same with policy makers,” advises Thembekwayo.
Through his multi-faceted approach of strategic mentorship, Thembekwayo’s role in shaping the future of African startups allows for the scale-up of innovative and sustainable solution in the realm of smart mobility.
Thembekwayo went on to meet with startups who were part of the Mobility Startup Village Africa at a book signing he hosted at SMA summit.