Kizito Okechukwu, left, the co-chairperson of GEN Africa, and former statistician-general Dr Pali Lehohla during their recent visit to Business Report’s Johannesburg offices.Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA
JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu yesterday welcomed the appointment of erstwhile StatsSA statistician-general Dr Pali Lehohla by 22 On Sloane as its research resident adviser.

Lehohla yesterday said he was excited to contribute to the entrepreneurial revolution in the country and continent.

"I am not a business person, but I think I can help business people with information that will help them thrive. The vibrancy and energy in this environment is addictive and I look forward to engaging young people in this space and adding as much value as I can,” Lehohla said.

He will start his duties with effect from the beginning of March.

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Kizito Okechukwu, the co-chairperson of GEN Africa.


Zulu said the appointment of Lehohla was good news for all entrepreneurs in South Africa and the continent.

“I am confident that entrepreneurs will benefit enormously from his sharp intellect and extraordinary ability to utilise data as a tool for planning and decision-making.

“We are confident that effective use of information and research will ultimately contribute to the growth, sustainability and success of emerging enterprises,” said Zulu.

22 On Sloane is the largest start-up campus in Africa and was launched in November by Zulu and Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group.

The campus offers disruptive start-ups and innovative SMEs a complete turnkey solution to scale, from the initial idea all the way to commercialisation, funding opportunities and access to markets.

22 On Sloane is a subsidiary of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), which operates a platform of projects and programmes in 170 countries aimed at making it easier for entrepreneurs to start and scale a business.

GEN said Lehohla was expected to train and mentor the team of researchers working with start-ups at 22 On Sloane.

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Lindiwe Zulu welcomed the appointment of former StatsSA Dr Pali Lehohla by 22 On Sloane as its research resident adviser.

He will also be tasked with co-authoring an annual research report on the state of entrepreneurship in Africa with the team at 22 On Sloane and host master-class sessions with the start-up residents once a month, looking at data and trends in their various sectors.

Jonathan Ortmans, the president of GEN, said the appointment of Lehohla was proof that Kizito Okechukwu, the co-chairperson of GEN Africa, was making strides in supporting the spread of entrepreneurship throughout the continent.

“Dr Lehohla not only possesses a great deal of knowledge of the underlying factors challenging the growth of new businesses, but it was clear to me the first time we met that he has an extraordinary, almost magical talent for communicating it in a way relevant to those looking to start and scale,” Ortmans said.

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Lehohla’s tenure as the country’s number one numbers cruncher ended in October with the expiry of his contract, ending a 17-year term at the helm of StatsSA.

- BUSINESS REPORT