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1GIANTleap’s Start-up Programme In Full Swing

“South Africa’s next tech hero” to be revealed during final pitch event on August 16.

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Ntando Shabalala
Ntando Shabalala

Ntando Shabalala

1GIANTleap’s start-up programme is in full swing, with only two more weeks to go. On Wednesday, August 16, the final event takes place in Johannesburg, hosted by Edge Growth at the stunning Exclusive Books in Hyde Park. During this event, the start-ups will pitch their businesses to a judging panel of successful entrepreneurs, specialists and investors.

Amongst the panelists are Llew Claasen (Partner at Newtown Partners), Clive Butkow (CEO at Kalon Venture Partners), Professor Barry Dwolatzky (Founder at Tshimologong) and Stephen Newton (ex-head of Google). The event will be attended by many respected players in the tech, start-up and investment space. The top two winners may have great prizes to look forward to.

Related: 9 Answers You Need About Yourself Before Starting Your Own Business

The current “South Africa’s next tech hero” programme was launched on June 8 in Johannesburg. 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 eight entrepreneurs, the “Tech Heroes”, were cherry-picked for their promising business acumen, resilient entrepreneurial spirit and savvy technical insight.

Amongst the Tech Heroes are: Alex Gabriels and Jade Venter from Spritzed: “The Airbnb for office space”, Patrick Machekera from Ispani: “A brand activation agency focused on township communities”, 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 personalised travel platform” and Ntando Shabalala from Graft House: “Tinder for job seekers”.

The purpose of the programme is 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 has a secret recipe for this: It offers a combination of weekly Bootcamps by our 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.

While incubators all over the world are generally playing a ‘numbers game’, 1GIANTleap takes the opposite approach: A human-centered approach.

“The word ‘business incubator’ suggests a nurturing approach to growing start-ups, but it’s still quite rare to run a business in a nurturing way. 1GIANTleap is a “conscious incubator”; our philosophy is to focus on building people, so that their businesses will be built. We do this by providing an opportunity to get up close and personal with successful entrepreneurs and investors, who – besides sharing their entrepreneurial insights and achievements – share their mistakes and personal struggles in an honest way. This human-centered approach creates an open environment for people to connect and learn, and that’s where the magic happens,” says 1GIANTleap Head Moniek van Erven.

Related: What Business Should You Start In Africa?

Moniek van Erven continues to explain: “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.”

1GIANTleap’s technology partner VSpace adds to this: “We support the entrepreneurs with building quick and cost-effective tech products that they can use to get feedback from potential customers. Creativity and speed are key in this process, as we often offer an unusual way of testing these solutions on their customers,” says Vinu Nair, CEO at VSpace.

1GIANTleap’s unconventional approach is further emphasized by its choice of Bootcamp topics: Where else could you learn about “mental health for start-up founders” from an innovation expert? Or how to “Use Artificial Intelligence to boost your business” from IBM research experts?

As one of our Tech Heroes so aptly put it: “Bootcamps are intense, fast and without fluff.”

Our list of mentors, just to name a few, includes Justin Drennan (Founder at Parcel Ninja), Davis Cook (CEO at RIIS), Gavin Symanowitz (Founder at Feedback Rocket), Matthew Barclay (MD at Meltwater Africa) and Llew Claasen (Partner at Newtown Partners).

“We’ve gathered a whole lot of great minds within this program who are genuinely motivated to help the Tech Heroes to succeed. All that the Tech Heroes need to do is to tap into that knowledge; to use that brain power to their advantage. Our mentors had to find out everything they know today by trial and error: Our Tech Heroes can save themselves a lot of time by learning from the mentors’ mistakes and insights,” says van Erven.

Tech Hero Patrick Machekera, Founder at Ispani, has this to say about the mentors: “The mentors are definitively a highlight for me. All of them are brilliant and non-conventional. I had originally thought that it would just be a quick meet and greet because they are such busy and successful entrepreneurs, but they truly took an interest in me as a startup entrepreneur, making an effort to fully understand my business and my purpose and, ultimately, connect me to the right people to roll out my business on a large scale!”

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Empowering Township Entrepreneurs

Big drive to bring ideas to life in the townships this Global Entrepreneurship Week.

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As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Experian teamed up with Rhiza Babuyile and Township Fleva – two organisations responsible for supporting township communities – to assist entrepreneurs in transforming their innovative ideas into thriving businesses.

The annual event ‘Tshogo’, which took place in Tembisa yesterday (Thursday, 15 November), is the culmination of roadshows in Gauteng’s populated townships, such as Diepsloot and Orange Farm. These involved up-and-coming start-ups pitching their business ideas to a panel of experienced judges, including Simon Rudman, Social Innovation Lead at Experian SA.

Twenty winners received funding to the combined value of R280 000 to kickstart their business venture, while our others received marketing packages to equip them – and their ventures – further.

“Throughout the competition we were greatly inspired by each and every one of the entrants. There is definitely no scarcity of bright ideas,” says Rudman. “By keeping our entrepreneurs top of mind and providing continuing support, we can grow the township economy for the greater good of the country.”

Experian is pleased to support Rhiza Babuyile, by providing the JoZi Business Hub participants with career counselling as well as credit and financial education aimed at empowering and equipping entrepreneurs with the financial know-how to manage and grow their business and to make smart credit decisions.

“We believe data has the power to transform lives and societies for the better and our corporate social responsibility programmes pioneer how we use our business skills, products and services to promote financial education, financial inclusion and support small business entrepreneurs.

Related: FNB Kicks-off Global Entrepreneurship Week By Engaging Township Entrepreneurs

“These engagements also provide a great opportunity for us to include the entrepreneurs in our solution development process. Their feedback is invaluable in helping to shape products which will hopefully contribute to their success”, adds Rudman.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is a celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to live and drive economic growth. The JoZI Business Hub’s Tshogo roadshow could not be a better example of this in action.

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Call For Applications: Young Entrepreneurs Global Exposure Trips

Closing Date: 30 November 2018

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Investec CSI’s Young Entrepreneurs Programme provides South African entrepreneurs from various sectors with global exposure.

Every year Investec, in partnership with En-novate, sends a group of young entrepreneurs from various sectors to specifically selected countries in order to gain global exposure. Each itinerary provides them with opportunities to network and engage with venture capitalists, funders and captains of their specific industry. The aim is for them to gain learning and exposure to innovation, technology and process advancements. The programme also offers networking with subject and sector experts.

Applications for the Global Exposure trips are now open to ALL entrepreneurs – regardless of sector – who meet the criteria. Closing date is Friday 30 November 2018.

Applications link:

https://www.investec.com/en_za/welcome-to-investec/corporate-responsibility/our-community/Entrepreneurship.html

The programme itinerary and each trip is customised according to the profiles of the candidates, stage of business and specific sector.

By way of example, Investec recently sent 14 entrepreneurs from South Africa to Berlin to meet people doing Out of the Ordinary things in textiles: https://www.investec.com/en_za/focus/young-entrepreneurs/sa-entrepreneurs-return-inspired.html

Related: En-novate Goes Toe-To-Toe With The Best In The World

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Business Lessons From Women For Women: If You Have To Fail, Fail Forwards

Lessons from three young black South African women on how they have turned an idea into a profitable business.

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Just 70 years ago, black women in SA were largely regarded as legal minors with no power to open bank accounts, lease property or conduct legal transactions without their husbands’ permission. Some remnants of this legacy remain, but, increasingly, traditional roles are being subverted and women are building businesses.  However, women entrepreneurs still remain part of a small minority of thriving business success stories.

The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs found women in early-stage entrepreneurship decreased by 15.7% in 2018 and only 18.8% of all business owners in SA are women. Suffice to say there’s more to be done, and a lot of it starts with support. When Lebogang Ndlovu, owner of Amare Beauty Hub, announced her intention to start a small business shortly after matric, her parents weren’t happy. She forged ahead despite the lack of support and tenaciously founded three different ventures, which all, unfortunately, failed. She then decided to attend consumer financial training offered by Santam through Mzansi Financial Education. From this training, she learned to ‘fail forwards’ and started her current company – a highly successful Soweto-based spa. She credits the support and mentorship she received as imperative to this success.

That says Tersia Mdunge, Santam’s Corporate Social Investment Manager, is what Santam’s Consumer Financial Education (CFE) is all about, “To grow entrepreneurship, South Africa needs to provide enabling conditions, opportunity and support. As the cornerstone of our economy, it’s pivotal we do so. At Santam, our Consumer Financial Education and Mentorship programme helps young, black entrepreneurs from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to turn their ideas into tangible businesses. We’ve assisted 1 595 individuals so far, and we’re absolutely committed to continuing to do so.”

Although Africa has the highest growth rate of female-run businesses globally, according to the World Bank, South Africa lags behind countries like Ghana.

Here, three women entrepreneurs from Johannesburg share their entrepreneurial journeys and the difference mentorship made:

1. Lebogang Ndlovu, owner: Amare Beauty Hub

lebogang-ndlovu

Although young, Ndlovu knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur after matric. It was tough convincing her parents to get on-board. “I come from a typical black family background where the norm is to be employed and not create employment.”

After getting her parents on-side, she used the allowance they provided to start a home executive concierge service. That, unfortunately, failed, and she tried two other ventures, which also didn’t last. It was then that she decided to attend Santam’s training. She did thorough research before jumping into yet another business. She realised that, “It does not matter how many times you fail, learn from your mistakes and move along.”

Ndlovu finally found her passion in beauty. She currently runs Amare Beauty Hub in Soweto; a fully-fledged beauty and health spa that focuses on “beauty on a budget”. With her business partner, she’s already considering expanding the business into micro-franchises to empower other women who are interesting in the beauty industry.  

Related: Watch List: 50 Top SA Business Women To Watch

2. Nthabeleng Nhlapho, owner: Afro Kids Salon

nthabeleng-nhlapho

Before 2016, running her own business was just a dream for Nhlapho, even though she always knew that she was an entrepreneur at heart, because of her family background.

“Getting into business has always been an idea I have toyed with, and after many years of procrastination, I finally decided to take that leap of faith. My dad’s side of the family is quite entrepreneurial as a number of my brothers have started and are sustaining their own businesses. So, in a sense, I think I was born to be an entrepreneur.”

After doing research, Nhlapho saw a gap in the market for an ethnic hair salon for kids. Having a daughter with ethnic hair herself, Nhlapho says, “It became apparent that many mothers like me are uncomfortable with having to take their young daughters to adult hair salons where the environment is not conducive for little budding minds, and stylists do not have the patience with children.”

Nhlapho’s Afro Kids salon is based in Sandton. She opened her door in September 2016 soon after she attended Santam’s training sessions. She gives credit to the mentorship she received and to support from friends and family for her success.

3. Phumzile Nala, owner: Pumzi’s Pretty Petals

phumzile-nala

Phumzile Nala’s grandmother inspired her love for flowers. “My grandmother loved flowers and used to do flower arrangements at friends’ and family events, which is where I was introduced to flower arrangements.” 

Nala attended the Santam CFE workshops in Vilakazi Street in April this year. Her mentor, Martine Solomon, says, “Phumzile started the training with the hope that she would go into public speaking and training and development, however, that changed when she realised her passion for flowers. Phumzile was very helpful during her time in the programme, assisted with the roll-out of the CFE programme as well as CFE training and development.”

Now, Nala is a proud owner of a beautiful flower shop in Roodepoort called Pumzi’s Pretty Petals. In just six months, the business is showing steady growth. Nala’s other mentor, businessman Donnie Koetzee, played an instrumental role in this growth, helping Nala buy stock and get through start-up hurdles. Nala says, “At the beginning, I went through a lot of teething problems and had to take credit in order to keep the shop open.” 

Even though Nala cannot compete with big retailers in terms of pricing, she gives her clients a far more personalised and meaningful experience. “We take time to teach our clients about our different offerings, and that is something they will not find in bigger stores.”

Nala found her unique value proposition, which is something that all entrepreneurs need to identify in order to compete. She also gives credit to social media as she makes use of it to advertise her flowers. Her dream is to open four stores in the four major cities of South Africa.

This programme is a direct response from the Department of Treasury for financial services companies like Santam to educate their clients and prospective clients on financial knowledge.

“We went above and beyond what is required of us and turned this into a successful initiative that empowers many to fulfil their dreams. Our programme has been dedicated to empowering our people to becoming financial savvy consumers and entrepreneurs. We have also made it our mandate to focus on risk management and understanding business insurance. Many small businesses do not consider the risks that come with running a business and how they would bounce back if they would be faced by a law-suite for instance;” concluded Mdunge.

For those who would like attend Santam’s Consumer Financial Education, please look out for an invitation on Santam’s website, the requirements are that as a consumer you need earn less than R250 000 and as a business owner, your business need to have a threshold less than R10 million.

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