Connect with us

Entrepreneur Today

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.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

ispani

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

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.

Advertisement
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Entrepreneur Today

3 Stealthy Tax Hikes Payroll Managers And Employees Need To Take Note Of

By Rob Cooper, tax expert at Sage, and chairman of the Payroll Authors Group of South Africa

Entrepreneur

Published

on

tax-increase

“Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.” 

The adage summarises the difficult decisions government and the Finance Minister faced when balancing the country’s books, rescuing state-owned enterprises, and reviving the growth of our economy. Given the economic pressure that most taxpayers are facing, government ideally needed to achieve all of that without direct increases to personal income tax in the most recent Budget Speech.

Personal income tax has comprised at least a third of South Africa’s total tax revenue in recent tax years, despite growing unemployment. The 2019 Budget, presented in February, forecasts that personal income tax will account for nearly 39% of tax collected during the upcoming (2019/20) tax year. Given that we are in an election year and that the tax base is fragile, it’s not surprising that the Finance Minister and the National Treasury avoided direct increases to the statutory tax tables used to calculate PAYE for employees in the budget.

Nonetheless, government has made inflation work in its favour to impose some tax increases by stealth. Here are three ways government is raising more revenue without direct tax increases:

1. Bracket creep

The statutory tax tables used by payrolls and employers have not been changed for 2019/20, nor have the brackets been adjusted for inflation. This effectively amounts to an indirect tax increase that will yield a revenue saving of approximately R12.8 billion for government’s coffers.

It is not unusual for government to use ‘bracket creep’ to effectively raise more revenue. But unlike previous tax years, even low- and middle-income earners are not getting much relief. Rebates and the tax threshold are being increased by small amounts to allow some relief, but many people this year will feel the pain as inflationary salary increases push them into a higher tax bracket.

2. Medical aid credit not adjusted for inflation 

As proposed in the 2018 Budget, the Finance Minister did not apply an inflationary increase to the Medical Tax Credit, which allowed him to raise an extra R1 billion in revenue for the year. Surprisingly, these funds will be allocated to general tax revenue rather than ring-fenced for healthcare. In previous tax years, revenue generated from below-inflation increases on medical scheme credits was used to fund National Health Insurance (NHI) pilot projects.

There is still no clarity on how the NHI is going to be funded except for a general statement that the funding model is a problem for the National Treasury to solve, and that the principles of cross-subsidisation will apply. One wonders if any real progress will be made soon, given the fiscal constraints government faces.

3. Business travel deduction left untouched

The Budget leaves the per-kilometre cost rates used to determine tax deductions for business travel untouched. By not increasing travel rates to account for inflation, government effectively increases income tax collection at the cost of the taxpayer. This will be a blow for people who need to claim from their employers for business travel in their personal vehicles. This change has slipped through largely unnoticed and the budget does not provide numbers for the expected increase in tax revenue.

Closing words

Amid political turmoil and uncertainty, the Finance Minister presented a balanced budget for 2019/20 that offers hope for the future along with some tough love. With government taking steps to accelerate economic growth and improve revenue collection, we should hopefully see a steady improvement in government finances, which will translate into less pressure on the taxpayer in future years.

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

SMEs: Staying On The Right Side Of The Taxman

Remaining SARS compliant can be a constant challenge for small- to medium-enterprises (SMEs), especially when they are trying to focus on growing their businesses and streamlining their operations.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

tax

EasyBiz Managing Director, Gary Epstein, says submitting taxes can be a seamless process that does not have to take up more time than is necessary. “If business owners understand what is required of them and they put a few processes into place to deal with their tax submissions properly, their lives will be so much easier.”

What are the top three considerations for SMEs when submitting tax returns?

“Firstly,” says Epstein, “SARS returns must be accurate and submitted in terms of the relevant Act. Secondly, returns should be submitted and paid on time to avoid unnecessary penalties and interest, and thirdly, business owners must follow up on queries issued by SARS. “Do not ignore these queries, act on them as soon as possible”.

What are the major SARS submission deadlines for SMEs?

Epstein points out that small business owners need to adhere to various tax deadlines, each with their own particular dates for submission. “It is important that business owners diarise the dates (and set advance reminders for themselves) and/or enlist the services of an accountant or financial adviser to help them keep abreast of requirements.”

Value-added tax (VAT)

VAT payments need to be submitted in the VAT period allocated to the business, according to various categories and ending on the last day of a calendar month. This may mean making payments once a month, once every two months, once every six months or annually, depending on the category.

Provisional taxes

Provisional tax should be submitted at the end of August (first provisional) and at the end of February (second provisional) – for February year-end companies.

Employee taxes

In addition to submitting an annual reconciliation (EMP501) for the period 1 March to end of February for Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), Skills Development Levy (SDL) and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), employee tax, in the form of an EMP201 return, needs to be submitted by the seventh of every month.

When can SMEs get extensions and is it worth it?

Epstein says SMEs can apply for various extensions, but these are subject to the Income Tax Act and Tax Administration Act.

“It is best for SMEs to consult their tax professionals to get advice regarding extensions for their businesses.”

What is SARS not flexible about?

SARS is not flexible when it comes to late returns and late payments.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for SME owners to ensure their tax returns are submitted on time. In this way, they will avoid the inconvenience and expense of additional fines and interest,” notes Epstein.

What skills do SMEs need in their organisations to be able to submit to SARS efficiently?

Business owners often don’t have the time or expertise to deal with tax submissions throughout the year. If the business cannot afford to employ a full-time accountant or financial services expert, it would do well to outsource its tax requirements to a registered tax practitioner.

“I would recommend that even if they are not submitting the tax returns themselves, business owners should have a broad understanding of the tax regulations and what is expected of them. There is a lot of helpful information on the various Acts and tax requirements on SARS’ website,” says Epstein.

How does the right software help SMEs remain SARS compliant?

SME’s (and their accountants’) jobs can be made easier by using reliable accounting software to calculate accurate VAT reports. These reports are only as accurate as the data entered into them, which means care needs to be taken when inputting data into the accounting programme. Epstein says a good accounting software package must be reliable, easy to use and functional.

“SMEs need to check that the software has thorough reporting capabilities and can interface with other software solutions. Of course, it is also important to find out whether the software is locally supported by the vendor or not.”

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

4 Dangers Of Business Under-insurance

A common short-term insurance peril that many SMEs face when submitting a claim following an insured event is the risk of being underinsured.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

business-insurance

Malesela Maupa, Head of Products and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers says, many small business owners mistakenly believe that by merely having a short-term insurance policy in place they are adequately protected against unforeseen events.

“This is technically correct provided that the business is covered for the full replacement value of the items insured. However, in circumstances where the sum insured does not cover the full replacement value or material loss of the item insured, the business is underinsured,” explains Maupa, as he unpacks the dangers of business underinsurance:

1. Financial loss

The most common risk is financial loss on the part of the business. If the business is underinsured or the indemnity period understated, the short-term insurance policy will only pay out the sum insured for the stated indemnity period as stated in the schedule, with the business owner having to provide for the shortfall. This often leads to cash flow challenges, impacting profit margins or rendering it difficult for the business to recover following the financial loss.

2. Reputational damage

Should an underinsured business not have sufficient funds to replace a key business activity or critical component following a loss, this may impact its ability to fulfil its contractual obligations, leading to a loss of business or market share, and irreparable reputational damage in the worst-case scenario.

3. Legal action

A small business also faces the risk of customers or clients taking legal action against it, should it fail to deliver on goods and services following a loss or be unable to honour its financial commitments that they committed to prior to the loss.

4. Survival of the business

A catastrophic event such as fire, which could result in the loss of stock or company equipment and documentation, could threaten the survival of a small business that is not yet fully established, if the business assets are not adequately insured.

Working with an experienced short-term insurance broker or insurer is essential when taking up short-term insurance to ensure that business contents are covered for their full replacement value.

Furthermore, depending on the nature of the business or item insured, the policy should be reviewed on a regular basis to avoid underinsurance as the value of items often change overtime due to fluctuations in economic activity. Where it’s necessary, evaluation certificates need to be kept up to date.

“Lastly, SMEs should ensure that the sum insured does not exceed the replacement value, which would lead to over insurance. Should a business submit a claim following a loss, the insurer would only pay out the replacement value, regardless of the higher sum insured,” concludes Maupa.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending