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Supporting Innovation by Embracing “Problems” not Solutions

When Daniel Maloba founded Maloba Consulting, he had no idea the impact he would be making on the lives of entrepreneurs struggling to navigate the entrepreneurial landscape. Inspired by a vision to positively impact poverty through innovation, Daniel set out to focus his consultancy on the pressing needs of impoverished communities in Africa. 

As an electrical and electronic Engineering graduate, Daniel spent most of his days as an early-stage Venture Builder mentoring entrepreneurs at the Stellenbosch University LaunchLab. After two years, he made the decision to start his own venture. 

Daniel’s motivation for starting his consultancy was strengthened when he came across a book titled “The prosperity paradox-How to lift nations out of poverty through innovation”. He explains that ‘the paradox refers to the observation that traditional approaches to poverty reduction, such as foreign aid and microfinance, have not been effective in creating sustained economic growth and prosperity in developing countries.’ He goes on to say that ‘the paradox lies in the fact that the most effective way to reduce poverty in the long run may not be by directly addressing poverty itself, but rather by creating the conditions for economic growth and prosperity.’ 

Maloba Consulting offers a range of services aimed at entrepreneurs and corporates wanting to innovate. Their investment readiness accelerator programmes are aimed at supporting entrepreneurs through capacity building, fundraising journey and strategic guidance. In addition, startups receive access to relevant ecosystems and networks. The consultancy specialises in early-stage startups, seed and pre-seed stages who seek to raise funds. Lack of sufficient funding is a notable issue within the African startup ecosystem, made evident by the 46% VC funding decline in 2023. 

Despite the operation only being a year old, Maloba Consulting has supported upwards of 50 startups and over 100 student entrepreneurs. Their most recent achievement is a nomination in the 2024 Global Startup Awards Africa in the Accelerator/incubator category. 

“We are pan-African. As such we aim to become the best accelerator in Africa by becoming our own version of the Y-Combinator. This will require partnering with various stakeholders, from Angels to VCs to CSI, governments etc.” says Daniel. 

Furthermore, Daniel has spearheaded partnerships with Sillicon Overdrive, BluePearl and the MTN Chenosis for technical support of startups in their network. The are also currently collaborating with a Canadian organisation called Nobellum, bringing more opportunities for their startups including possible expansions to Canada through their startup visa program. 

When asked what advice he would give to aspiring entrepreneurs, Daniel encourages us to “care deeply about people (your target market) and to see every obstacle as a potential opportunity. Once you’ve come up with a “brilliant” innovative idea, fall in love with the problem, not the solution.” 

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