The Amakhosi in Africa

by Patrick Hearn

The South African publication Brainstorm magazine (March 2018) published an article stating incubators and accelerators don’t work and quoted various sources that such organizations, in fact, hurt emerging businesses. Some of the experts quoted pointed to no evidence that incubators make businesses more successful; that those setting up incubators themselves are start-up’s and that successful sustainable start-up’s need to rely on experience and provide regular guidance.  

This guidance is based on teaching the ability to attract investment, focus on industrialization, benchmarking. In short, proper benchmarking. This extends to government-sponsored what are essentially entrepreneurial programs. Basically how to ensure money is well spent. These gaps are not unique and solving them starts with the right mindset almost equally to large companies and point to one overriding challenge. The need for focused leadership or an amakhosi. 

The will to create and focus comes from leadership. To this, Holistic Innovations will be in South Africa with the intent to co-create the Africa-Silicon Valley Innovation Hub with some of its most important business leaders. This private sector initially driven entity is intended to link some of the largest South African companies at the C-Suite level to undertake a dramatic initiative. That being to create an eco-system that dramatically increases Africa’s innovation capacity and capability.  

The creation of an African-led initiative has already attracted prominent Silicon Valley leaders who are looking forward to being in Johannesburg for the September kick-off. This kick-off will drive a permanent infrastructure that funnels the best of Silicon Valley into Africa while driving the best of South Africa into Silicon Valley.  

Areas of focus include connecting leaders from both regions to each other, building innovation expertise and accelerating technology innovation in the African context.  

The difference for the Hub, is that it is intended to be driven and run by C-Suite of companies whose CEO’s practice and own innovation in their own organizations. It is distinct in that the human capital from outside South Africa are not consultants but individuals who have run companies from Series A to Multi-Billion globally publicly traded companies. It is advantaged in that it provides “Before, During and After” methodology. In short, it gives proven credibility to the “intrapreneur” as well as to incubators and accelerators who take part in what will be an exciting new eco-systems. It begins next week… 

Patrick Hearn