Beyond mentorship, African entrepreneurs need more “validators”, according to Dr James Manyika, a director of the McKinsey Global Institute, the business and economics research arm of McKinsey & Company.Manyika, who is based in Silicon Valley and has experience working with global companies, said the various start-up hubs across the continent are helping to build an ecosystem for entrepreneurs, assisting with access to mentors.
But what many of these entrepreneurs require more of in order to get investment is a “validation” of their idea or start-up by credible individuals.
“There clearly are a lot of people trying to be entrepreneurial – that’s a good thing. But very often the people on the other side of that who could make those ventures happen – either private equity funds, venture capital firms or even corporates – have no way of validating [which start-ups or ideas to invest in],” said Manyika in an video published by the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance, a network for young African entrepreneurs from leading universities.
For this reason there needs to be more individuals on the continent who can direct investors to, and connect them with, the continent’s credible entrepreneurs.
“I am asked quite a lot which entrepreneurs I like in Africa. Not because I’m an expert, but because quite often people who are asking me, know me. So therefore presumably if I can say ‘okay this is a good idea, listen to it’, that’s helpful [to their decision-making],” he explained.
“So I think quite often this notion of validators may actually be the bottleneck between connecting great entrepreneurs, in which there is a growing number in Africa, and people on the other side of that who can be facilitators, or platforms, and thus enable those initiatives African entrepreneurs are pursuing. I think that is a bottleneck we are going to have to solve.”