Wednesday, 06 February 2019

Team Southern Africa Startup Awards (SASAWARDS) announce the formation of Setup A Startup Pty Ltd, a new organisation that aims to catalyse entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa

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Team Southern Africa Startup Awards (SASAWARDS) announce the formation of Setup A Startup Pty Ltd, a new organisation that aims to catalyse entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa

Johannesburg, February 6, 2019 – Team Southern Africa Startup Awards today announced the formation of Setup A Startup (Pty) Ltd, a groundbreaking approach to catalyze entrepreneurship and innovation  in Africa. The Southern Africa Startup Awards which is a circuit of the Global Startup Awards will from now on be managed by Setup A Startup (Pty) Ltd.  Mckevin Ayaba, an experienced Startup Ecosystem builder, tech and innovation enthusiast who founded Southern Africa Startup Awards in 2017 and is the CEO, will lead the new organization as its CEO. Mckevin who was recently named Global Goodwill Ambassador for his humanitarian services to the community will take on his new position on Monday February 11, 2019.


The world-renowned Global Startup Awards, the largest independent startup ecosystem competition covering 57 countries in 7 regions of Europe and Asia, arrived in Africa in 2017. It launched the first regional startup awards, the Southern Africa Startup Awards in 2018 which saw over 3000 startups and ecosystem players nominated from the 15 SADC countries. It consisted of 15 categories with 14 countries taking home regional Grand Finale prizes. Three of the regional winners got investment deals to scale. The mission is to find, connect, support and celebrate key players in the national and regional startup ecosystems worldwide and to fuse them together in a global entrepreneurial network, creating a matrix of opportunities for international partnerships, investment opportunities and commercial exchange.“While the Awards were a great success, and there’s no denying that Africa has an abundance of innovative tech talent, it is apparent that the continent’s entrepreneurs lag far behind their global peers when it comes to being investment-ready,” says one of the judges and multiple award winning Female tech Entrepreneur and Founder of Obami, Barbara Mallinson.This is one of the outcomes of panel discussion on innovative platforms to fund start-ups in Africa which took place during the Awards, hosted in November 2018 in Johannesburg.Based on the feedback of the Investors who were on the panel, Leron Varsha from Kalon Venture Partners  representing Section 12J Venture Capital, Shakes Motsilili from The AZIZA Project , Marlon Green representing CABAN Investments and the startup founders themselves,  we have taken upon ourselves  ,through a new parent body, SETUP A STARTUP (SAS) in partnership with CABAN INVESTMENT LTD, to develop a whole range of services for entrepreneurs that include:  Services taking startups through to fully operational capitalised businesses; Raising capital for approved startups through our partners Seedslife Caban Impact Fund, a listed African Impact Fund; An Entrepreneurship Education Programme (EEP) that addresses a clear need amongst African founders: “How to start and grow their businesses” and be ready for investment.


Setup A Startup (SAS) is a startup organization that aims to Develop, Connect, and promote startups in Africa. They facilitate entrepreneurship education, scout startups for corporates,  startup competitions, and innovation-centric media to accomplish these goals. In partnership with Caban Investment Ltd, SAS helps strengthen startups' competitiveness, grow global champions, scale, and raising capital and create opportunities for startups globally. SAS plays a key role in building a dynamic and sustainable startup ecosystem in Africa.

CABAN Investments

Caban, headed by Dave Romero, is a company born from authentic passion to enable entrepreneurs to succeed in business. A core focus is to invest in high-growth opportunities to maximise returns for shareholders, at the same time also providing a comprehensive service offering to cover all business development and professional business needs. From small start-ups to larger companies, CABAN offers the entire spectrum of business services. The CABAN team have over 100 years of combined entrepreneurship experience, have scaled 100s of companies over a 32 year period.  With offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg and London, they are able to scale startups to the European markets.


Africa is increasingly taking its place on the global stage as a continent of growth and opportunity. Yet critical challenges remain, particularly the need to create a significant number of jobs for the continent’s booming population. Africa must build a cadre of home-grown business leaders able to access global markets and drive growth in a sustainable, inclusive manner. Unfortunately, the following barriers impede Africa’s entrepreneurs:

  • Insufficient support services and skill-building resources;
  • Lack of access to key resources, such as funding;
  • Poor infrastructure and weak innovation ecosystems; 

This shared belief, our common view that each of us has a role to play in turning Africa’s challenges into opportunities, have led to Setup A Startup (SAS) and CABAN Investments undertaking to partner for startup ecosystem development across the continent with a focus on the following;

  • Celebrate and connect Startups through an  Awards programme and the Entrepreneur Expo founded by CABAN;
  • Helping startups to scale and internationalise through CABAN Investments and Seedlife Caban Impact Investment Fund listed on the Gilbratar Stock Exchange;
  • Enable startups through our Entrepreneurship Education programme;
  • Driving co-innovation between startups and enterprises;
  • Building an access hub of connected ecosystems across African countries

“Entrepreneurs are most successful when they have access to the human, financial, and professional resources they need, and operate in an institutional environment in which norms and policies encourage and safeguard entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship flourishes in ecosystems in which multiple stakeholders play key synergistic roles, which often requires multi-stakeholder collaboration and partnerships” Says Mckevin Ayaba. With that being said, we will be announcing more partnerships in the subsequent days ahead that will helps achieve these goals.