Over 40 heads of state and governments, as well as 2,500 leaders from business and society are at the 46th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, running from 20 to 23 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland to discuss the fourth industrial revolution and how this will impact the face of entrepreneurship in South Africa.
“When you think about the fourth industrial revolution it’s underpinned by technology and technology essentially underpins all the industries and that is a great opportunity for entrepreneurship,” said Matsi Modise, Managing Director for SIMODISA.
Modise explains that this is just a function, how do we use that in the South African setting.
“In South Africa how are we going to leverage and take advantage of this new uprising revolution, it is not something that we have to start from scratch
Modise uses ecosystems in South Africa as an example in that the country mostly needs to work with what it has and seek out opportunities.
“There’s a lot that we have to do as a country, it requires entrepreneurs to be capacitated, to be informed, and to have opportunities.”
She adds: “Most importantly, what sets South Africa apart from various entrepreneurship ecosystems is venture capital.”
According to Modise, this is necessary because venture capital (VC) is a function of how to fund ideas but the industry in South Africa still needs to grow.
“It’s currently a very small industry, about 31 VC firms in South Africa and about 8.5 billion under management,
Small in comparison to San Francisco, Silicon Valley and some of the top five entrepreneurship or tech ecosystems she explains because they have a lot of venture capital – a culture of venture capitalism.
“It’s a function of how now do we engage the funders in South Africa, how do we get the public and the private sector to invest in our ability to actually invest in technology – it is very very important because without that, it is not going to enable this fourth industrial revolution,” Modise said.
Modise will also be sitting in on several panels, where they will discuss the 21st century dream, what is needed and how young people will take advantage of this opportunity.
“I will be sitting in on one of the prime panels, I’ll be with Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas, the co-founder of AirBnB and the chairman and CEO of Coca Cola globally Muhtar Kent.”
The message she hopes to emphasise is the importance of education.
“It’s a foundation of this movement, our ability to give young people the ability to have the capability to take advantage of these opportunities… because a lot of countries on the continent are still stuck in the second revolution – now how do we leapfrog them the second industrial revolution to the fourth – the exposure is very very important,” said Modise.