Start-up Index set to boost entrepreneurs

THE very first South African Start-up Index was launched at the Wits Business School last week.

Sasi will enlist the top small businesses in various sectors to attract investors, partners and clients.

But for now the first sector to benefit from this innovation is the technology industry.

It was launched last Monday at the Wits Business School, coinciding with the beginning of the Global Entrepreneurship Week, which was also hosted by the university.

The idea of a start-up index made its debut in San Francisco, in the US, 18 months ago and is now available in this country.

Professor Mthuli Ncube, executive dean of Wits' faculty of commerce, law and management, said they chose the technology sector because of its robust advertising and that it had required information easily available.

The index was created in association with the start-up tracker YouNoodle.

Ncube described the index as a product of a collaboration between government, academia and business.

Registration with Sasi is free but before any company can be listed it has to be screened.

"We look at the vision of the company, the sort of investors from which the company has raised its money, the number of hits on the website and the possibility that the company's idea could be replicated worldwide," Ncube said.

"We also look at the sustainability of the business."

The whole screening process takes just over a month, depending on the availability of the information.

"There is no stipulated benchmark of profit which a business should have before they can be listed on Sasi," Ncube said.

He said Sasi would help profile businesses for investors, partners and customers.

"It will also help funding agencies to see how their beneficiaries perform in various sectors.

"We are doing this as a social responsibility, not to make money, hence registration is free," he said.

Sasi's chief executive officer Fredel Jacobs said more industries would be enlisted soon.

"We are hoping that some businesses will graduate to AltX and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange," Jacobs said.

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