Cape Town’s Startup Ecosystem is Teeming with Innovation and Rich Culture

Within the startup space, there are literally hundreds of companies around the world that are competing with each other using similar ideas. Taking a glimpse at software alone, things get pretty apparent – go through the App Store or Google Play and you’ll find different apps vying to be the next big social medium. So, what will it take to push one startup past another? Creativity – and the innovative solutions that it spurs – is, arguably, the single factor that determines whether one startup survives and another falters.

When it comes to determining where to start your company, it’s important that you choose an environment that will allow you to nurture inspiration and creativity – someplace that will allow you to take a break from the stresses of the workplace every now and then. For the challengers at last month’s 1776’s Challenge Cup Cape Town competition, Cape Town’s limitless opportunities for leisure and culture provide a high-quality of life that greatly contributes to the creative ethos of its startup ecosystem.

Working on a startup can get stressful, and it’s necessary for founders and employees to take a break every now and then to re-energize and rediscover their initial inspirations for pursuing a startup idea. Time away from work also provides an opportunity to rethink particular strategies, product features, or core ideas; in the long-run, this can contribute to the improvement of an end-product.

That, paired with innovation, has conveyed itself through some of the ideas that were presented at Challenge Cup Cape Town – from Anasodiabitiz, a diabetes self-management application, to Khaya Power, which is innovating ways to provide power to those still living on a paraffin grid (both startups are moving on to the Challenge Cup Global Finals competition in May). Get in on what some of the competitors had to say about Cape Town’s startup ecosystem, and how inspiration is literally just outside of their doors:

“Cape Town has…a culture that embraces entrepreneurship. We have the luxury of being able to experience world class tourist destinations from our own backyards…There is, so much to stimulate creativity and a fanstastic opportunity to create balance between work and play. This allows you to escape the rat-race of the business world from time to time,” says Beverley Paly, Cofounder and CEO of SPOTTM

“[It] is an amazing place to live. There are a lot of things to do after the close of business day. [It] has one of the best food/wine cultures in the world, which certainly keeps spirits high when business isn’t going to well. So if anything, quality of life in Cape Town is one of the biggest benefits of living here.” – Douglas Hoernie, founder of Rethink Education

“[The city] has established itself as a hub of creativity and innovation. That has seeped into the culture of the city. Wherever I end up chatting to people in Cape Town, it seems they are busy with some sort of entrepreneurial initiative.” – Willie Maritz, Cofounder of SquirrelThat

“Cape town has lots of sun, beauty, [and a] rich history with great people. [This contributes to] big variety of business opportunities. I am amazed by the beauty and the great food, wine, and agriculture that provides a perfect ecosystem…I am aways outdoors. The mountains, sun and diverse landscape makes me come alive. I literally can wait for the sun to come up every day.” – Billy Hadlow, Owner and Inventor of Khaya Power

“Cape Town has an unparalleled allure because of its natural beauty…It is a place to start a company if you want to find poetic forms of inspiration.” – Panha Chheng, Founder and CEO Medyear

“Just look[ing] at Cape Town, it’s supremely beautiful with the mountains and beaches. [There’s] a high quality of living, the food is great…we have the winelands, education is good, and it’s quite safe. [This amounts to] an amazing creative culture. – Neil du Preez, Director at Mellowcabs

The Challenge Cup is produced by 1776 in partnership with Tech Cocktail and iStrategyLabs.

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Written by:
Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.
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