South African entrepreneurs have the opportunity to win an eight week trip to Silicon Valley in California, home to some of the largest technology companies in the world. There they will have access to knowledge, expertise and mentors who will give guidance on expanding their business?

This trip is the grand prize in the Start-Up South Africa conference presented by SiMODiSA at the CTICC in Cape Town on 10 October (10-10-2014). The SiMODiSA Association was co-founded by Clickatell CEO Pieter de Villiers, with the aim of identifying the barriers that SMEs and start-ups face, as well as determining what can be done to overcome these challenges.

An industry-led initiative developed by key stakeholders in South Africa's public and private sectors, SiMODiSA builds on research undertaken by the Impact Trust, a non-profit advocacy organization. According to a 2010 report South African SMEs contribute 52-57% to the country's GDP and 61% to employment, but only 10% are able to employ more than 50 people, due to various factors hindering their growth. The Start-Up South Africa conference will give entrepreneurs the chance to network with angel investors from around the world to overcome these barriers. Ten start-ups will go head-to-head on October 10th and present their business ideas to compete for the trip to Silicon Valley. You can buy tickets and find more information on the SiMODiSA website and follow the action on the day in the @Start_UPSA Twitter feed.

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