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1GIANTleap Grand Finale Reveals South Africa’s Next Tech Hero

1GIANTleap’s startup program finale event, hosted by Edge Growth, took place at the Social Kitchen & Bar at Exclusive Books in Hyde Park, Johannesburg on Wednesday, 16 August 2017.

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1GIANTleap’s start-up programme finale event, hosted by Edge Growth, took place at the Social Kitchen & Bar at Exclusive Books in Hyde Park, Johannesburg on Wednesday, 16 August 2017.

After seven impressive tech entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a crowd of respected players in the tech, start-up and investment space, the judging panel’s decision was final: Cape Town based iSpani, a brand activation agency focused on township communities, were the winners of a trip to Silicon Valley in San Francisco, USA, to meet tech unicorns, multi-nationals and investors.

The judging panel was made up of entrepreneurs, specialists and investors in the tech space, Llew Claasen (Partner at Newtown Partners), Stephen Newton (President at Illuminate-Africa), Matthew Barclay (MD at Meltwater Africa), Clive Butkow (CEO at Kalon Venture Partners) and Professor Barry Dwolatzky (Founder at Tshimologong).

Related: How To Start A Business With No Money

Twenty-three-year-old final year UCT Accounting student Patrick Machekera from iSpani echoed his elated business partners, 22-year-old Prince Nwadeyi of Queenstown (BCom Economics and Marketing student at UCT) and Ntandoyenkosi Shezi, 22, (BSc Finance, from Port Shepstone KZN), when he said: “I feel so happy, but our success is not certain yet, this is where the hard work begins!” Machekera and team have huge ambitions fuelled by the prize they won.

Machekera describes iSpani as “A decentralized marketing and sales platform that connects brands seeking to enter unreached, informal and undeserved markets with an on-demand sales force that represents and assists them to expand their reach within the respective community in which the brand activator lives.”

“Our business focuses on removing the extractive relationship that exists between consumers and brands by facilitating partnerships that do more than just create employment but rather enrich communities, which then creates brand loyalty as a result,” says Shezi.

iSpani joined the 1GIANTleap program, says Nwadeyi, because “We wanted to make a change in society, but we couldn’t alone. We were desperate, we needed structural assistance. We needed guidance in our business processes and help in managing finance and our business culture. We want to thank Moniek van Erven and Vinu Nair of 1GIANTLeap for their tireless investment in us.”

“1GIANTleap aims to create the job of the future for Africa; those that are still relevant in say 10 or 20 years as they haven’t been made redundant by automation. We believe that technology is the answer to this.”

The current “South Africa’s Next Tech Hero” program was launched on 8 June in Johannesburg by 1GIANTleap’s Moniek van Erven and 1GIANTleap’s technology partner VSpace’s Vinu Nair. Entrepreneurs from both Johannesburg and Cape Town were invited to pitch “a tech idea that will disrupt the African continent”. After a rigorous selection process, both on-and offline, the seven entrepreneurs – the Tech Heroes, were cherry-picked for their promising business acumen, resilient entrepreneurial spirit and savvy technical insight.

Van Erven says iSpani won because “They are firstly a great team with complimentary skills. Moreover, they are clever and have the advantage of youth which enables them to absorb knowledge quickly. They obviously have a profitable business model but they are not guided by money; they are driven to create a positive social impact, which gives them an authenticity that people connect with. We are incredibly proud of them.”

Said Meltwater’s Barclay: “I could feel iSpani’s passion and they were well prepared. They are also addressing a massive opportunity. I wasn’t only impressed that they have already made R150 000, I was impressed that they have already had repeat business. Congratulations guys, exciting times ahead!”

Newtown stated: “There is not a lot of data on the African market, yet there are more than a billion African consumers. I can’t imagine who wouldn’t want to use iSpani to get a pulse of what is happening on the ground. I also like the fact that you have a social upliftment aim of providing employment, it’s a great model and answers a specific need.”

Related: 3 Ways For Social Entrepreneurs To Access Fundraising

The other six Tech Heroes were: Alex Gabriels and Jade Venter from Spritzed: “The Airbnb for office space”, Aubrey Nyaguse from Skills Gorilla: “A talent matchmaking platform”, Anthony Bruce from Flippen Clever:

“A textbook rental service for students”, Tannon Balanco from Bazinga Services: “On demand transportation services”, Thomas Hart from Rover: “A personalized travel platform” and Ntando Shabalala from Graft House: “Tinder for job seekers”.

Professor Dwolatzky emphasised that “There are so many good ideas here tonight with huge potential. They must carry on taking their ideas forward.”

The purpose of the programme was for the startups to take their wild idea to a validated business model, with their prototype created and their first customers onboarded. The focus is on the lean and agile: How to onboard your customers, which can usually take over a year, in the space of just 12 weeks while not spending any money.

1GIANTleap offered a combination of weekly bootcamps by mentors who are highly successful entrepreneurs and investors, field trips to partner organisations such as Facebook Africa and IBM Research, weekly one-on-one mentorship by both business and tech experts as well as product development.

Says Nair: “The entrepreneurs have gained invaluable connections and new business opportunities, both during the 12-week program and during tonight’s pitching event. We have incubated 24 start-ups to date and we are excited to roll out this program on a large scale, within South Africa as well as in other African countries”.

All talented tech entrepreneurs are invited to register for 1GIANTleap’s next programme – starting in October – at www.1giantleapstartups.com

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How Kiran Rai Became A Global Brand Ambassador With Over 10.5 Million Facebook Followers At The Age Of 26

Kiran Rai has been featured in 600 international newspapers worldwide and has hosted 80 major events including 50 entertainment events and 23 major sport events. Find out how one of Britain’s most influential young people has made it to the top.

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Now, Kiran Rai is a global brand ambassador traveling the world promoting Social Box. He was also recently appointed as sponsorship director of the Cake Bake and Sweet Show currently running in Australia. But his life wasn’t always global travel and fancy titles, at 23 he stood outside Waterloo station for a month holding a sign saying, “please support me.” He managed to raise £15 000, which allowed him to follow his dreams and catapult himself into the entertainment industry. Find out how he did it:

Getting started

Kiran Rai started out very young, he realised early on in life that if he didn’t take his dream and himself seriously, nobody else would. His mindset developed out of what he learnt from his school life and his family, he also developed a thick skin from watching his mom and his aunt.

“The strategy I used was phoning people constantly and making sure that people heard me, it was a gruelling process.” He says that there were even times when he would bang on directors and casting agents’ doors and send them numerous emails and letters.

He exhausted every option in trying to achieve his dream. “I would do open mics late at the night hoping that maybe someone would spot me,” he says.

Related: Making Money From Your Baking Hobby

Lessons learnt

Kiran Rai learnt quickly the importance of standing on his own two feet. “I just want to keep proving to myself that I am good at what I do, and I kept pushing whether I succeeded or not,” says Rai.

He is constantly on the move and learning new things, he feels that being versatile and gaining experience will help him achieve his dream. “I have a very fierce mentality when it comes to learning that once I complete something I need to move on to something else straight away,” he says.

“I’ve also learnt to be humble – it’s the most important thing. Yes, there are times when you need to be confident to show people that you know what you’re doing but being arrogant puts people off,” says Kai. “I’ve learnt to keep pushing despite people telling me no, I’ve had so much rejection and I still get rejected, I just learn to handle it.”

Putting in the time and effort

“I’ve produced my own work for years, and I’ve put in the time and effort. I’ve learnt my craft and travelled across the world to make my dream happen. I am very grateful to everyone who helped me and for how far I’ve come,” he says.

“Working with Cake Bake has really improved my business mindset and thanks to Ralph and Binu Pillai and Aka Samara who have made this happen for me. I have great mentors around me, who motivate me to try harder.

There have been times when I’ve become demoralised as it’s difficult to see where my career is headed, but I just keep reminding myself that it will take time to realise my dream and improve myself.

Related: How To Start A Bakery Guide

What he’s up to now

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“I’m just a 26-year-old having fun, travelling the world and being able to achieve my dreams and work with great brands including Social Box, 3LT and of course being the sponsorship director of Cake Bake and Sweet Show in Australia,” says Rai.

“Currently, I’m leading a team of 8 and it’s incredible to work with a great company. I will be presenting on stage at the Cake and Bake Show happening in Sydney and Melbourne and I’m excited about it.”

Plans for the future

“My plans are to head to Mumbai and Los Angeles. I am targeting both cities as my dream is to become an established actor. I am also learning Hindi right now to improve my chances when auditioning for Bollywood projects. But I’ll also continue to keep pushing and never settle,” he says.

“The Cake Bake and Sweet Show is a great opportunity to learn. I’m learning how to work with people and work in a team, whereas previously I was very much on my own hustling every day and I haven’t worked closely with people for numerous of years,” says Rai. 

A word of advice

To the youth looking to follow their dreams he says: “Do whatever you can, don’t be scared and make your voice heard. Never let others keep you down.”

He continues to say that you should remember to focus on your education. “I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s important, and that I should haven listened to my parents and followed their advice.”

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South Africa Joins Global Impact Investing Body

South Africa will take another step toward meeting its development challenges this week when it becomes the first African country to join the Global Steering Group (GSG) for Impact Investing.

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A global body promoting investments that not only generate a financial return, but deliver positive environmental and social outcomes as well, the GSG currently comprises 21 countries, plus the European Union.

South Africa will be represented on this important global body by the National Task Force for Impact Investing – that was established recently to grow local support for the impact investment sector. The Task Force is made up of representatives from government, private capital and research institutions. The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) is acting as the secretariat for this new initiative.

“This is an amazing development, as it signifies South Africa’s leadership role in the area of impact investing,” says Elias Masilela, Executive Chairman of DNA Economics and Chair of the Impact Investing National Task Force. “South Africa’s entry into the GSG will usher in a new perspective in thinking about investing.”

According to the Global Impact Investing Network, the amount of money committed to impact investing around the world has doubled in the last year. From $114 billion in mid-2017, there is now $230 billion in funds targeting investments that not only generate a financial return, but deliver positive environmental and social outcomes as well.

This rapid growth has been largely due to a greater awareness of how private investment can contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. Yet there is still a long way to go. It is estimated that the world needs $2.5 trillion per year to hit the UN’s targets.

Meeting these goals is crucial in South Africa, where poverty and inequality remain significant challenges. Attracting more private capital to support projects in fields such as education, housing and water is imperative.

Related: Investment Support For Black Business

According to Susan de Witt, Innovative Finance Lead at the Bertha Centre and head of the Impact Investing National Task Force Secretariat, being part of the GSG will give the movement in South Africa international credibility and allow the country to learn from the experiences of other countries.

“One of the major advantages of joining the GSG is that local representatives from the mainstream capital markets will be exposed to the global shifts in asset allocation,” says de Witt. “They will also be able to develop the appropriate contextual vehicles and tools to do this effectively spurred on by the efforts of major players such as Blackrock, Credit Suisse and UBS.

Giving Africa a voice in this forum is a crucial development, says Masilela. “With the strategic role that the country holds on the continent, as well as its representative voice on BRICS and other global fora, it is imperative that South Africa continues to drum up the need for this consciousness towards investment.”

Not only will the country benefit enormously from the learning opportunities, but it will be able to make a meaningful contribution to discussions as well. As many international impact investing projects are focused on Africa, there is a need for local insights to guide international investment allocations.

“Having sat in a number of these meetings, there a noticeable lack of African opinion,” says de Witt. “Working groups with an international strategy often focus on Africa, but there is rarely an African in the room.”

As a member of the GSG, South Africa will be a fully-fledged member of the global impact investing movement. This will unlock meaningful opportunities for the country.

“There is no better time than now,” Masilela says. “Done right, it will reverse many of the domestic and global imbalances we face. It is particularly important, with South Africa’s economy struggling to record a much needed turnaround.”

Along with South Africa, similar Advisory Boards in New Zealand and Bangladesh will also be admitted to the CSG this month.

“The impact revolution is a truly global movement, and its expansion to Bangladesh, New Zealand, and South Africa underscores that the pivot to risk, return, and impact is spreading to all corners of our world,” said Sir Ronald Cohen, founder and chair of the GSG.

The GSG’s Board of Trustees approved the new member countries amid preparations for the annual Impact Summit on 8-9 October in New Delhi, India. The Board also approved sites for its next two Impact Summits: Santiago, Chile on 7-8 November 2019, and Johannesburg, South Africa in 2020.

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FNB Announces The 7th Franchise Leadership Summit

FNB is hosting the 7th Franchise Leadership Summit at Montecasino on Tuesday, 13 November 2018. The summit is a well-attended industry discussion amongst high calibre franchisors and industry stakeholders.

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The Summit is aptly themed “Equipping you to future proof your franchise”. The discussions will include exploring the impact of technology on the franchising industry.

To this end, Morne Cronje, Head of Franchising at FNB Business explains that “the rise in online applications in franchising means we need to find innovative ways on how to continue to grow and improve this new dimension to this already robust industry.”

The South African Fast Food Landscape Report of 2018 backs the position that Cronje speaks to as it revealed that a growing number of consumers are opting for the convenience of online delivery services when purchasing fast food, this has a far reaching impact that the Summit will begin to talk to in this year’s leg.

Related: Don’t Tread On Toes – Why Investing In A HIQ Franchise Will Offer You More Opportunities

The speaker line-up includes:

  • Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO of FNB Business; Marcel Klaassen, Executive Head at FNB Business: Opening address
  • Mamello Matikinca-Ngwenya, Chief Economist at FNB: She will talk about the state of the economy and what it means for entrepreneurs.
  • Morne Cronje – Head of Franchising at FNB Business; Eric Parker – Franchising Consultant at Franchising Plus; Stephen Walters – GIS Specialist and Co-Founder at Fernridge Consulting & Tony da Fonseca – MD at OBC Chicken: Panel discussion on future proofing franchise.
  • Richard Mulholland – founder: Beware of the Fox, a look at the actual impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on business
  • Andy Higgins, Founder of Bidorbuy and Managing Director of uAfrica.com: Will E-commerce replace traditional retail? – How to adapt your business model.
  • Dion Chang – Trends Analyst: Pivoting your skills for the second wave of disruption.
  • Dr. Sarah Britten – Independent shopper marketing and social media strategist: Check ins and check outs – how franchises can use social media to build their businesses.
  • Dr. Rosy Ndhlovu – Founder: Social Franchising – Is this the future for Healthcare?

Cronje says the great line-up of industry experts will go beyond the digital discussion and the subsequent challenges it presents, each speaker will offer workable solutions on how to improve and navigate the move to the 4th Industrial Revolution as a business.

“Franchising is a healthy and resilient industry in South Africa. However, we need to continuously improve it and keep adapting to the ever-changing landscape. Therefore, unpacking online applications and trends in franchising is at the centre of this summit amongst other things,” concludes Cronje.

Buy tickets or find out more information on the Summit here: www.franchisesummit.co.za

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