Gauteng premier, David Makhura, has lauded the innovations emerging from startups across the province that are helping make citizens’ lives better and contribute to improve the province’s economy and called on big corporates and the public to give startups the support they need to grow.

Makhura highlighted this during the closing keynote at the first Gauteng eGovernment and ICT Summit held at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand this week.

The summit showcased the province’s current and future plans for what it terms “egovernance”, a way of incorporating online solutions into every day service delivery and entrepreneurial operations in Gauteng.

“Let’s give the small guys a big round of applause,” Makhura said. “If you thought the paperless classrooms are an exciting innovation, you haven’t seen what the startups are doing.”

“They’re really doing amazing things which can solve the problems of our economy. The things I’ve seen from the young people in our midst here is like going to the new Jerusalem for me. I’ve read a lot about what young innovative entrepreneurs are doing in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. I thought it would take South Africa time to catch up to them, but it’s happening right now,” he added.

Makhura mentioned that what was needed to support such startups was enabling regulation and funding from government and bigger players in the private entrepreneurial sector and urged corporations to offer whatever help they can to mentor and help grow startups.

“Small businesses can not get anywhere on their own…We can solve the problems of our economy if we work together with the small guys, offering them support, taking them in into incubation hub and so on and this is something that this summit has represented,” Makhura explained.

“Let’s keep pushing to give young people training, incubation, especially in the townships. On that case, we will be on our way to building a greater province,” he concluded.