The world of entrepreneurship needs a well-oiled and balanced ecosystem. Several components must be synergized to unlock sustained value. Sadly, most of the times some of the crucially vital components are ignored. In this article, I will explore some of those components and my discussion will culminate in looking at one particular component – government. The government will always play a huge role in the progression of entrepreneurship in any country. Given how the startup culture is growing in Zimbabwe, it begs the question – does Zimbabwe need a Startup Act?
In this article, I will explore just 6 components that makeup or should be part of an entrepreneurship ecosystem. These are as follows:
Society Or Community
Generally, we cannot talk about anything without society. Society is the pool from which all possible stakeholders and shareholder emerge from. Thus society must be well examined and well understood. It is also from that same society where you take note of the general lifestyles which inform on the state of livelihoods people have. You will also be looking at cultural aspects, ethnicities, and so on.
I have usually stated the importance of learning institutions to entrepreneurship. One of the most notable countries when it comes to patents is Israel. One of the most notable global companies when it comes to patents is Huawei. One of the pivotal reasons why they are that innovative is because of the active participation of tertiary students in learning institutions. Ideally, a student’s final year project must culminate into a game-changing startup. At the very least it must contribute to the innovation of some sort. This is why learning institutions are central to a robust entrepreneurship ecosystem.
The corporate world has a multifaceted role to play in entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe. Many people are employed in the corporate world. If those people are well catered for and well trained they can contribute immensely to entrepreneurship. On the most basic level, well-remunerated employees can best pay for goods and services. This means they can spur the growth of enterprises because they lead to sales. On the other hand, corporates can actively do CSR initiatives which can greatly enhance entrepreneurial activity in Zimbabwe. These same corporates can even bankroll startup ideas which would be great given how aspiring entrepreneurs fail to access capital. These are just some of the aspects but the corporate world is central to the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Then we have a civic society which mainly entails your non-governmental organizations. The civic society contributes quite a lot some of which is strategic partnerships, joint ventures and the like. Civic society can also be an avenue for foreign direct investment. Access to funding can also be facilitated through civic society. Access to top-notch capacity building training can also be provided or fostered by civic society. Civic society is quite important in entrepreneurship.
Scouts – Investors And Financiers
We have I am terming here as scouts to mean investors and financiers. These come in all shapes and sizes spanning from individuals to institutions. Most business ideas never see the light of day due to lack of capital – that is the harsh reality for most aspiring entrepreneurs. Thus there is a need for a comprehensive network of investors and financiers who scout for promising business ideas and bankroll them.
The government can never be excluded from this ecosystem. If they are not properly constituted or involved then entrepreneurship can be seriously compromised. You literally always hear of people complaining about the mercurial and risky operating environment. For the most part, it is due to government policies that can stifle any entrepreneurial efforts – Zimbabwe is a case in point. This all implies that the government is a huge component of this ecosystem.
A Startup Act – Let Us Explore
The aforementioned components need to be streamlined in such a way that there is harmony and coherence. They need to function together in unison otherwise no meaningful value can be generated. I believe one of the starting points in doing that is drawing up legislation that governs the startups’ landscape in Zimbabwe. It is commonplace for promising entrepreneurs to be nipped in the bud due to a lack of legal structures or frameworks that protect them. After all, the startup culture is so relatively new in Zimbabwe. This calls for new operating models to be devised as opposed to dealing with old models. I strongly think Zimbabwe needs a Startup Act now more than ever. In Africa, there are examples of nations that are already working on having such an act. Some of them are Kenya, Rwanda, and Ghana. Such an act can provide much-needed support and legal protection for startups in Zimbabwe.
So, what do you think? Should we as Zimbabwe, have a Startup Act drafted? If so, why do you think we should have one and if not, why do you think we should not? Overall, I feel we need to step up all efforts in endeavouring to streamline every area regarding entrepreneurship. The times we are now in are ripe for marked entrepreneurial growth and we must act fast.