The world economy is changing fast and the new emerging markets are rapidly becoming the true driving force of global growth. Consequently, many companies are now looking to get an early foothold in these economies to take advantage of where the growth is happening right now, and will continue to happen for the foreseeable future. These new developing economies are seeing projected growth rates three times higher than the more established economies such as the United States, indeed one of the reasons why US companies are doing better right now is from growth in their non-US markets.
South Africa counts itself among the most bullish of the emerging markets. Located at the southern tip of the continent, the country holds fantastic opportunities both inside its own boarders and, crucially, as a gateway to the rest of the continent, or to put it another way, a potential market of close to a billion people.
In contrast to other emerging markets, South Africa counts on that rare combination of a properly developed “first-world” infrastructure and a highly vibrant and exiting emerging economy. It is also undoubtedly the most diverse and productive economy in Africa right now. The country prides itself on its high-tech industry and its technological research standards, particularly those relating to energy and fuels, telecommunications and information technology, which are renowned the world over. The government is also eager to attract new investment and provides huge incentives for small business, research and development and high tech industry.
Gauteng – the Heartbeat of South Africa’s New Economy
Gauteng is the smallest of South Africa’s nine provinces but is very much the heart of the nation’s economy. While it only covers 1.4% the nation’s total landmass, it contributes a staggering 33% to the national economy and an even more impressive 10% to the entire continent. A huge 97% of the province’s population now resides in urban areas, by far the biggest and most important of which is the capital Johannesburg, a city often compared to Los Angeles for its urban sprawl and huge highway system. Having been built largely on gold mining, the province has since moved on and its economy is now diversifying into ever more sophisticated areas such as finance, media and telecommunications.
There are many reasons to choose Gauteng for your new tech based start up. The area is very stable, both economically and politically, and the government is very keen to create an enabling environment in which to invest. The area is also home to the country’s telecommunications, media and information technology industries. Recently, the Gauteng province made a conscious decision to move away from its traditional reliance on heavy industry, and is now committed to enhancing its reputation as the continent’s “Smart Centre”. As a result, the province now counts on Africa’s largest concentration of universities and research and development institutions, the most qualified population in terms of tertiary graduates, and is a genuine hub of technological innovation. Any new firm therefore will find a highly skilled and adaptive potential work force, as is obvious when you look at the large number of new IT Recruitment Agencies in Gauteng.
The Blue IQ Initiative
The state is always on hand to support and enable new hi-tech start-ups in Gauteng. One of the most important initiatives introduced by the Gauteng Provincial Government to help the Technology and Communication industry is called Blue IQ. This initiative aims to stimulate economic growth and job creation by diversifying Gauteng’s economy. Through a combination of direct investment, economic incentives and private partnerships, the project is actively moving the province’s economy towards more modern technology based services, and has been instrumental in opening up the area to investment. Blue IQ recently formed a partnership with the academia and R&D communities to form the Innovation Hub. This project is housed in a fully-fledged science park which is also home to FabLab, a finalist in the Visionary Project of the Year awards in 2005. The park houses many leading local and international hi-tech firms and start-ups, specialising in knowledge intensive research and development in biotechnology, electronics and information technology.
Now is the time to take advantage of the global economic shift that is fully underway and get into a fast growing and forward thinking economy. The combination of first world infrastructure, great transport links, economic incentives and a high skilled flexible workforce served by the IT Recruitment Agencies in Gauteng create a truly exciting location for any adventurous hi-tech start up. So come and help the Silicon Cape challenge (maybe even overtake) California’s Silicon Valley for innovation and be a part of shaping the new world economy.
[author ]Ian Appleton has been living and working in Johannesburg for the past five years and helps new businesses fulfil their staffing needs by providing a link with the best IT Recruitment Agencies in Gauteng.[/author]