Sizwe Ndlovu: Pioneering Innovation

Posted on November 15, 2013

I am not amazing. I am yet to do more.

For now, I am just a man who is interested in the space of young entrepreneurs and finding ways to introduce more innovation into the African market. My name is Sizwe Ndlovu, and I am working on a platform that aims to re-invent online collaboration, which is still in stealth.

Last year, I spent an extensive amount of my time, money and energy circling the boardrooms of Silicon Valley angel investors. It became the norm for deals to always “about to come through” when pitching my idea. There is always an interest, and always conditions for money. My closest deal was a significant offer made on the condition that I move to the United States after a year in South Africa, however, given the long process of applying for and attaining a startup visa, my love for Africa, and my lack of credentials as an entrepreneur the deal fell apart. That’s when I had my first experience of the harsh realities of how ruthless investors can be. It’s a begging game. If you cannot stomach the idea of constantly begging people for money, then make another plan. That’s what I did.

I returned to Cape Town and decided to focus on building the platform, and in the mean-time dabbled in some change driving initiatives that I believed would cause further impetus in the journey of establishing Africa as an innovation pool for investment potentials. Whilst in New York, I met the Global Advisor from The Kairos Society. The Kairos Society is a non-profit entity which works to find and empower young pioneers who will push the world forward through innovation and entrepreneurship. Kairos was everywhere, except Africa. I informed him that because they were yet to be in Africa, they were yet to be global. That led me to be co-founding Kairos Society Africa.

Operating at a level where I am constantly interacting with young people who are making footprints across the continent exposed me to global shapers. They invited me to join the organising team of StartupBus Africa (a three day road trip from Harare to Cape Town whereby entrepreneurs conceive, build and launch businesses tackling major problems in Africa). Being new to the continent, the initiative faced its challenges and opportunities. One of which was a factor I was all too familiar with, funding. However due to the enormous support of the public and the greater StartupBus Africa team, what was promised by the team was delivered – which was to drive innovation through entrepreneurship.

Of course I am still at work on my startup. It is constantly on my mind. But whilst I build what I believe to be soon a game-changing platform, I have to do what I do best, which is use my resources and skills to place Africa in its rightful position on the global map.

We are more than a continent of basic resources; we serve as the key supplier of all that makes leading economies lead. We have the potential to pioneer a new era of innovation in the world. It is time we rise to that challenge.


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