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10 Of The Best South African Seed Stage Start-ups Compete At The Seedstars Summit

On 30th June, 10 of South Africa’s best seed stage start-ups will compete to represent the country at the Seedstars Summit and win up to USD 1 million in equity investment.

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Seedstars World, the global seed-stage start-up competition for emerging markets and fast-growing start-up ecosystems has brought its pre-selection rounds to an end.

In partnership with Standard Bank, Seedstars World hosted the pre-selections in Cape Town, Durban and Soweto and is inviting the top 3 start-ups from each city to compete at the grand finale, which will be hosted at the Standard Bank Incubator in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

South Africa was previously represented by Giraffe, who was crowned the “Seedstars World Global Winner 2015” for their innovative solution to reduce unemployment in emerging markets.

Related: GrowthHub To Help Entrepreneurs Help Themselves

“The award has given us massive exposure, which is something we really need, and there are a lot of investors and potential partners contacting us in order to collaborate. But this award is not only affecting Giraffe, it’s also putting South Africa on the map.” says Shafin Anwarsha, co-founder of Giraffe.

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The top start-ups to advance to the grand final are:

  • Crew Pencil: An online crew booking and diary service for the film industry that allows diary, bookings and invoicing all in one.
  • Pargo: A convenient logistics solution that lets customers collect and return their parcels at a local store when it suits them best.
  • WumDrop: It allows people to pick up and drop off anything with the click of a button.
  • Guardian Angel Safety Solution: A GPS tracking product that offers an affordable personal safety solution for children, adults, elderly, and even pets.
  • You, Baby and I: An online platform that allows moms to experience brands by matching them to location and interests.
  • Vitls: The start-up building a revolutionary wearable medical device for homes and hospitals, allowing vitals to be monitored continuously and undisturbed from anywhere.
  • Sortd: A communication-centric organiser that transforms email and instant messaging into a set of organised to-do lists.
  • UmoyAir Communications: A provider of free calls from mobile phones to any number without airtime or data.
  • Riovic: A micro-insurer that provides digital and P2P insurance backed by crowdfunding.

In addition, Seedstars World has decided to introduce a wildcard, and will invite 1 additional start-up to compete in Johannesburg.

Seedstars World is closely working with Standard Bank, in order to deliver the best possible event and to provide local entrepreneurs with this opportunity.

“We are proud to be the country sponsor of Seedstars South Africa. This year we were able to take the Seedstars competition to three provinces, Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. The Standard Bank Incubator team has adjudicated in all of the regional finals and we are looking forward to presenting the top 10 start-ups to the Finals on the 30th June at the flagship Standard Bank Business Incubator situated in Rosebank. Last year’s SA winner Giraffe Jobs proudly won Seedstars Global in Geneva earlier this year and we are hoping this year SA is able to produce another global contender. This competition highlights the amazing talent we have not just in SA but on the continent and we will continue to grow and nurture entrepreneurs through our incubators.” says Jayshree Naidoo, head at Standard Bank Incubator.

Related: Attention Black Entrepreneurs: Start-Up Funding From Government Grants & Funds

“South Africa has world class entrepreneurial talent, and this was proven last year by Giraffe who won at the global summit in 2015. Our priority for 2016 is to cast the net even wider and give the opportunity to the whole country to participate and become part of a global journey”, says Marcello Schermer, Regional Manager for Africa at Seedstars World.

The startups will pitch in front of a jury that consist of Jayshree Naidoo, Head of Incubator at Standard Bank, Polo Radebe, Chief Executive Officer at IDF, Ravi Naidoo, Executive Director for Economic Development & Tourism at City of Johannesburg, Charmaine Padayachy Principal at Omidyar Network, Fritz Milosevic, Managing Partner at Dotadvisors and Marcello Schermer Regional Manager for Africa at Seedstars World.

In order to provide local entrepreneurs with this opportunity and aiming to deliver the best possible event, Seedstars World is also closely working with Entrepreneur Traction, who is representing the initiative throughout the year as an ambassador.

“We have really enjoyed working with the Seedstars team in sourcing and helping mentor some of South Africa’s best startup talent for the second year running. Speaking on behalf of our ecosystem, we believe that aligning with a global initiative such as Seedstars will definitely help to drive global market access for local start-ups.” says Dean Cannell, Co-Founder of Entrepreneur Traction.

Further support for the finals in Johannesburg is provided by partners Omidyar Network, Payfast, Glocell, Red Bull, Dot Advisors, and Duo Marketing. In addition Seedstars World has partnered with TRECC to bring the “Transforming Education Prize” which will award the best startup in the education space from around the world with a prize of over USD 50,000.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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This Is A Call To The Curious – Applications For The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellowship Programme Are Open

The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation is calling on all young, entrepreneurially-minded South Africans to enlist in the most comprehensive and stimulating Fellowship opportunity in Southern African. Applications opened on 22 January 2018.

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The Foundation takes a holistic approach to entrepreneurial development and believes that entrepreneurially-minded individuals with ethical values and strong leadership skills hold the key to change in South Africa and the globe. The Foundation supports entrepreneurs to improve the socio-economic landscape of Southern Africa. Further, it provides youth who demonstrate the highest potential access to education and assists them with cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset.

The Fellowship’s entrepreneurial and personal development programme runs throughout the academic year alongside the Candidate Fellow’s university studies. The Fellowship provides access to university education and includes comprehensive tertiary financial support to selected students.

Criteria for Grade 12 Learners

  • Level 5 in Pure Mathematics for Grade 11 final results
  • Level 6 average for your final Grade 11 results (excluding Life Orientation)
  • Completion of the National Benchmark Test by 30 September 2018
  • Under the age of 21 in your application year
  • South African citizens.

Related: 10 Young Entrepreneurs Under 30 Share Their Start-Up Secrets

Intention to study towards a degree in Commerce, Science (excluding Medicine), Engineering, Law or Humanities (majoring in Politics, Philosophy or Economics) at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS); University of Johannesburg (UJ); University of the Free State (UF); University of Cape Town (UCT); Nelson Mandela University (NMU), Rhodes University; the University of the Western Cape (UWC); University of Stellenbosch or the University of Pretoria (UP).

What it covers

  • The full cost of university tuition
  • The full cost of university accommodation, meals, books and tutor allowance
  • A monthly living stipend
  • Academic support and access to entrepreneurial and personal development programmes
  • Mentorship from individually assigned Foundation staff as well as business mentors
  • Access to potential postgraduate funding for graduated Candidate Fellows
  • There are no postgraduate contractual obligations with the Foundation.

Related: 9 Top Tips For Young Entrepreneurs

How to apply

Visit www.allangrayorbis.org to download an application form or SMS “Gr12 and your fax number or email address” to 36777. The application closing date is the 11 May 2018.

Watch this video to learn more about the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. More information is available at www.allangrayorbis.org and www.facebook.com/allangrayorbis.

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Facebook Launches A Classifieds Marketplace In South Africa

Facebook has launched Marketplace in South Africa, offering users a single destination on Facebook where they can easily discover and buy and sell goods with other people in their local community.

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Available in 47 countries, with more than 550 million people from around the world visiting Facebook to buy and sell goods each month, Marketplace makes it easier for people to trade with others on Facebook.

Using Marketplace

  • To use Marketplace, tap on the Marketplace icon
  • To find what you’re looking for, search at the top and filter your results by location, category or price
  • To sell something, take a photo, describe your item, set your price and you are done
  • Buyers and sellers can communicate with each other using Facebook Messenger.

Related: 10 Motivational Quotes from Facebook Genius Mark Zuckerberg

Trading Safely

Facebook helps you trade safely on Marketplace by offering safety tips, privacy controls and easy-to-use reporting tools.

Top tips for trading safely on Marketplace:

Commerce Policy

Items, products or services sold on Facebook must comply with Facebook Community Standards and Commerce Policies. Please view the list of items prohibited on Facebook.

Verify the item

When buying an item, examine it carefully for quality, condition and authenticity before paying. For high-value items (watches, luxury bags), consider requesting a certificate of authenticity or proof of purchase.

Related: How You Can Avoid The ‘Facebook Effect’

Be shipping savvy

facebook-shipping-productsIf the seller offers to ship the item rather than exchanging it in person, you may not have the opportunity to verify the item before completing your purchase. You can use a service such as Standard Bank’s Shepherd to arrange safe payment and shipment. Shepherd keeps the money for a transaction in a trust account and releases it to the seller once the buyer verifies he or she has received the correct item in good condition.

Meet in a safe location

Don’t invite buyers or sellers to your home. Meet in a public place like a coffee shop or the mall. Before going, tell a family member or a friend where you will be, bring your cell phone, and consider asking another adult to come with you.

Use cash, COD, or person-to-person payment methods

Buyers and sellers may offer or accept cash or person-to-person (P2P) payments. If you choose to pay electronically using EFT, avoid payment links and log in directly through the payment method’s website. If the value of the item you intend to buy or sell requires a significant amount of cash, you might consider using a person-to-person payment method, such as PayPal or FNB eWallet.

Protect your privacy

Don’t share your financial account information (example: Payment login and password, bank account info) with buyers or sellers. Additionally, make sure your Facebook Privacy Settings are up-to-date. These settings help limit what other people can see (example: status updates, location, photos) on your profile page and what you share on Facebook.

Report someone

If you’re having a problem with someone in Marketplace, you can report them.

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5 Things SME’s Need To Be Thinking About In 2018

In 2018, small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) will be looking for a glimpse of inspiration to chart a new growth path and scale their businesses. This is off the back of a tough 2017 and previous years which have inhibited the growth of local SMEs.

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In 2018, small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) will be looking for a glimpse of inspiration to chart a new growth path and scale their businesses. This is off the back of a tough 2017 and previous years which have inhibited the growth of local SMEs.

Jesse Weinberg, Head of the SME Customer Segment at FNB Business says “Small business success becomes a monumental task when there’s arguably very little to no real economic growth overall. However every challenge presents an opportunity, and in South Africa, not only are we fortunate to consistently have SME development as a key objective on the national government agenda, but most corporates are also  hungry to shift spend to smaller businesses as part of the procurement policies.”

Weinberg says as 2018 begins in earnest, there are some important insights that business owners should consider in order to grow their businesses.

The digital economy is in full swing

SME’s that are comfortably operating without adopting digital technology in their business will likely be outperformed by their competitors unless they adapt to the current reality. Across the globe, consumers and businesses are rapidly migrating services to digital channels for its sheer efficiency, convenience and scalability. This includes basic elements like digitising accounting processes with software, through to using social media to campaign to customers.

If you’re ever unsure where to start, start by observing your customers and listening carefully to how they expect to be dealing with a business like yours – you can’t go wrong by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and then reflecting on your business through their eyes.

Related: 4 Unique Marketing Ideas For SMEs On A Budget

Expect little to no help from the economy

The Word Bank recently predicted that SA will grow at roughly 1.1% in 2018 and while this is not cast in stone, it’s a relatively firm indicator that SME’s will have to do the hard yards to engineer any form of business growth. The focus should thus mainly be on differentiating your business, products or services from your competitors through marketing or even innovation if possible.

Maximise your banking relationship

Banks are investing a lot of time to understand the needs of businesses and have some of the tools to help SME’s run efficiently. The relationship should not be only be limited to just banking. With the multitude of rewards and value-add services offering by most banks, with just a bit of time spent understanding the offerings, great value can be derived for you and your business. Examples of these offered by FNB include eBucks rewards, free Instant Accounting software and CIPC registration services.

‘Think Local, Act Global’

Your business may be based in South Africa but its potential to scale shouldn’t be hampered by your location. In other words, be open to the opportunity of growing your business beyond South African shores, especially if your service or product has universal appeal and relevance. With global marketplaces such as Alibaba and AirBnB, the world market has never been more accessible and easier to do business with.

Related: SchoemanLaw Shakes Up The Legal Industry To The Benefits Of SMEs

Avoid the race to the bottom

Market forces continue to show that consumers aren’t only focused on the cheapest product or service despite the tough economic conditions. These days offering great service will build trust and loyalty with customers and keep them coming back. If you combine this with good quality, accessible products and services you will generally have an edge over your competitors offering the same or similar products and services.

“Even though 2018 is unlikely to come with an SME development boom, a solid homegrown business can still grow sustainably. More than ever, business owners need to arm themselves with as much information and insights as they can to grow their businesses or even reduce the risk of total business failure. With South Africa’s level of unemployment showing little to no signs of reduction, we need to sustain the spotlight on growing our SME sector and offering as much support to it as possible. SME’s represent one of the most effective ways to create employment in local communities, especially if these businesses find ways to trade with customers beyond their normal operating territories.” says Weinberg.

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