2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report cements Cape Town’s status as Africa’s Tech Capital

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2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report cements Cape Town’s status as Africa’s Tech Capital
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2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report cements Cape Town’s status as Africa’s Tech Capital
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21 October 2021

Startup Genome recently published the 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER), which saw Cape Town being ranked first in both Regional Ecosystem Knowledge and Regional Ecosystem Talent and Experience, and third in Regional Ecosystem Performance.

The report includes a ranking of the leading 140 startup ecosystems broken down by continent, and then measured by their exit value, performance and talent, and sub-sector strengths. According to the report, African start-up ecosystems are collectively worth $6.6 billion (R97 billion) in value, and of that, $6 billion (R89 billion) is concentrated in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi, and Accra. Three South African cities, namely Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban contributed the most to exit value in Africa (over $1.1 billion (R16 billion).

The ranking is consistent with previous ratings by the Financial Times FDI Intelligence, which placed South Africa first overall as the Tech Ecosystem of the Future, and Cape Town second. This was also reflected in a recent Publication by StartupBlink which placed South Africa first as a Global Tech Hub in Africa and Cape Town 3rd, as a Startup Hub in Africa, due to the city accounting for 60% of startups in South Africa.

According to the report, some of the reasons to move your startup to Cape Town include:

  • Cape Town is home to almost 60% of South Africa’s startups, with an internet penetration of 63% - one of the largest open-access fiber networks in Africa, and a bustling community of investors.
  • The City is a popular hub for digital nomads, with the continent’s highest number of accelerators, and more than 20 programs and 25+ co-working spaces.
  • Cape Town is also home to over 30 venture capital firms, including Naspers - one of the world’s top tech investors, as well as an active community of angel investors.
  • There are four world-class universities, two globally recognised business schools, research councils and private and public coding schools within a 50km radius of Cape Town. Together they produce more than 12 000 STEM graduates and more than 500 coders a year, which supply growing companies in the region with a pipeline of talent.
  • The Cape Town – Stellenbosch corridor contains 450 tech firms employing more than 40 000 people, making the ecosystem bigger than Nairobi and Lagos combined.
  • The Report also identifies Cape Town as the first on the continent in knowledge with high H-scores, indicating the City has capacity to develop skills and new inventions.

In response to the ranking, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, said: “These results are proof that the efforts being made by the Western Cape Government, along with our partners at the City of Cape Town and Wesgro, are achieving the desired results. We’re immensely proud to be ranked in the internationally acclaimed ‘2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report’, helping us affirm our status as leader of the African tech ecosystem.

Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos, commented: “Cape Town is a leading African digi-tech hub, home to almost two-thirds of all start-ups in South Africa. We have many support structures in place to assist and encourage entrepreneurship.”

“Cape Town recently topped the African Tech Ecosystems rankings for foreign direct investment strategy, and now this report by GSER not only cements the region’s status as Africa’s Tech Capital but also speaks to the enormous opportunities that the city and Western Cape province as a whole present to foreign investors”, concluded Wesgro CEO, Wrenelle Stander.

To view Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2021, go to: https://startupgenome.com/report/gser2021


Additional information:

In this edition of Pioneers, we celebrate the tech ecosystem in Cape Town and the Western Cape, from the inspiring, ground-breaking companies operating in the province to the greater industry that supports them. We profile 15 companies that have shifted the needle on tech development. From click-and-collect delivery services and fully electric delivery vehicles to world-class intelligence tradecraft and innovative fintech, they are all fantastic examples of those driving the innovation and growth of the local tech space.