Yesterday, representation of the South African early stage investor community came together in Sandton, Johannesburg to celebrate the launch of SABAN, the South African Business Angel Network. SABAN is a non-profit, professional association galvanising the South African early stage investor community.
The formalization of SABAN follows the launch of the African Business Angels Network (ABAN) in early 2015, and is another step in a growing movement to evangelize angel investing across the continent. Angel investors provide capital, business acumen and market access to early stage businesses when the risk of the business failing is still exceptionally high.
Angel investors invest their own funds so they are free to absorb as much or as little risk as they would like. SABAN represents a sector that will play a vital role in South Africa’s future with the SABAN network fuelling SA’s growth through the creation of wealth and jobs.
SABAN co-founder, Chris Campbell, posed this question to start the launch this morning, “what would the impact be on entrepreneurs if there were 500 active, public Business Angels in South Africa instead of 50?” SABAN is seeking to make this a reality sooner rather than later.
The SABAN team was joined in the morning by ABAN president H. Tomi Davies who is one of the original architects of angel investing in Africa and a co–founder of the Lagos Angels Network – one of the most active networks on the continent. Joining from Washington DC, Connie Tzioumis from the US State Department congratulated the SABAN team on behalf of the LIONS Africa Partnership, a public / private partnership founded to enhance the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in Africa.
ABAN Director General David van Dijk highlighted that investors outside South Africa now also have a clear point of contact: “Angel investors active in international markets are often times less familiar with the African opportunity and find it difficult to know how to engage African based entrepreneurs. These investors are keen to connect with high-net-worth individuals who are on the ground, understand the market and have important networks of contacts.”
South Africa is characterized by high unemployment and low GDP growth and entrepreneurial initiative is greatly needed to boost the economy. And where there are entrepreneurs, there must also be business angels. While private angel groups and small syndicates do exist in the country, SABAN is the first national non-profit industry network.
Another, even bigger launch event for SABAN is set to take place November 10 in Cape Town, and by early 2017 SABAN is expected to be in full force. The organization is headed by a steering committee of Chris Campbell, Bodo Sieber and Mvikeli Hlophe. Newtown Partners’ support as the event sponsors was much appreciated.
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