Original Research

Early-stage venture capital in South Africa: Challenges and prospects

M. Jones, C. Mlambo
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 44, No 4 | a164 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v44i4.164 | © 2018 M. Jones, C. Mlambo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 April 2018 | Published: 31 December 2013

About the author(s)

M. Jones, Investment Banking Division, Merrill Lynch, South Africa
C. Mlambo, Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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The aim of this paper is to assess which factors impact the development of early-stage venture capital in South Africa. Factors identified for other markets and countries are explored and their relative importance in South Africa determined from the perspective of market participants. These include venture capital and private equity fund managers, government institutions, intermediaries and university research coordinators. The study used both an online survey, to capture a broad representation of opinion, and interviews, for in-depth responses. There was broad consensus among respondents with regards to the key factors requiring attention, which include the lack of funds targeted at early-stage investments, the lack of specialised fund managers, and the low entrepreneurial skillsets in the country. Through a detailed analysis of the responses, certain measures are proposed that can enhance the development of early-stage venture capital in South Africa such as engaging more with angel investors and improving the cooperation between the different market players in the sector.


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