A new partnership between Murdoch University in Western Australia and the South African-based Kingdom Business Network (KBN) took the first step towards formation after a visit to Perth for Africa Week by a delegation of five of its members.
The KBN is a programme created and funded by the South-African diversified investment company, the Beryl Group, to inspire entrepreneurs to create and acquire sustainable wealth, enabling them resources and training to build and develop their communities and positively impact their generation.
Murdoch hosted KBN Chief Executive Officer Joarina Matthys and four of its entrepreneurs to participate in a panel at the 9th Annual Africa Australia Research Forum and meet with Murdoch Alumni, members of the Perth African diaspora and entrepreneurial community.
The KBN was founded 10 years ago by Neverland Beryl Kambasha and has a goal to empower 1,000 entrepreneurs across Africa by 2022.
“We are passionate about developing quality entrepreneurs who will have a positive impact on their communities,” Ms Matthys said.
“After 10 years of operation in South Africa, we have made the decision to expand our reach, to other parts of Africa and to seek partnerships within Australia, including with Murdoch.”
Murdoch University Africa Research Group Chair David Doepel said Murdoch was keen to understand what structures facilitated creative and innovative thinking and to harness the formidable African brainpower globally.
“This is absolutely critical to Africa’s participation in the creation of the 4th Industrial revolution,” Mr Doepel said.
“Our digital interconnectedness holds great promise, but it only works if we have the human networks formed to leverage the digital ones.
“We have been exploring how we can be more embedded with each other to ensure the success of this burgeoning phenomena on the continent.”
Mr Doepel said there were 314 tech hubs in Africa in 2016, which had grown to more than 618 in 2018.
“More than 50 per cent of those tech hubs have incubators with in-kind support for the idea and early-stage start-ups, developing innovations in agtech, health tech and fintech focused on African solutions for African opportunities.
“Coming together to ensure the success of these entrepreneurs, and finding ways to straddle continents with ideas that lead to businesses that solve problems, exploit opportunities, create jobs and deliver inclusive growth, is the work we must support.”
Ms Matthys said the KBN could also provide a trusted partner for companies interested in investing in African companies or your partners in Africa.
“A key role we play is developing and maintaining strategic partnerships to create a web of networks for our entrepreneurs as well as for people looking for opportunities in South Africa and Africa generally.
“We understand how government and local systems work; if you don’t know who to trust we are the place to come to.”