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A Strong Culture Of Entrepreneurship Emerges In South African Schools

High schools across the country have wrapped-up the 2018 Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge (AGEC).

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South Africa’s leading digital learning game that seeks to grow an entrepreneurial mindset among school going children using gamification.
For now, participants are urged to sit tight till 11 October when the top learners and schools will be announced at a special awards evening in Johannesburg. AGEC was designed to develop a culture of entrepreneurship in the minds of grades 8-12 using digital learning. For the 2018 season, entry participation doubled from 4 000 in 2017 to more than 8 000 in 2018, and more than 600 schools across the country have participated in this year’s six-week Challenge, which culminated last week.

AGEC inspires learners to consider how they can influence change in their community, their country and the world by completing weekly micro-challenges that exposed them to a variety of entrepreneurial skills, which were then applied to real-world scenarios. During weeks one to three, learners began their entrepreneurial journey by exploring local challenges and opportunities in the areas of social entrepreneurship, transport and healthcare. In weeks four to six the competition shifted focus to global themes of climate change, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.

“The competition aims to directly address unemployment in South Africa, using entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking as a vehicle for change. Entrepreneurship has the power to lift South Africa from the clutches of joblessness, to get there is going to take work, and there is no better place to start than with our youth,” says Anthony Selley, Head of Gameplay for the AGEC.

He explains that the web browser and mobile app-based game was built to tackle the demands of 21st century education, and incorporates a mixture of self-development and cash-prize incentives to drive competition. Further, it uses gamification to sustain and grow engagement and represents a unique style of digital-learning that places South Africa at the forefront of global initiatives to develop entrepreneurial thinking among youth.

AGEC was established by long-term investment company Allan Gray and developed by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation – a Foundation committed to investing in the education and development of individuals with entrepreneurial potential in Southern Africa for the past ten years. The competition focussed on developing five overarching ‘habits of thought’, which have been identified through academic research as key components of an entrepreneurial mindset. These include: intellectual imagination (innovation); personal initiative (initiative); courageous commitment (resilience); spirit of significance (change maker) and achievement excellence (drive).

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

“The micro challenges were designed to equip learners with the skills and mindset to think more entrepreneurially, whether they choose to pursue an entrepreneurial journey or not. Thinking more innovatively and adopting an entrepreneurial mindset can be beneficial to learners entering any work environment, as well as to those wanting to start their own businesses one day. It’s for this reason that businesses need to continuously innovate to survive, and it is those that think like entrepreneurs who will be at the forefront of that innovation,” Selley says.

The top performing learners and their respective schools now eagerly await the pinnacle #AGEC18 Awards Evening in Johannesburg on October 11th where the grand-prize winners of an all-expenses paid 10-day innovation tour to Silicon Valley, USA will be announced, alongside the ranking of South Africa’s most entrepreneurially-minded schools. Amongst those attending the prestigious Awards Evening will be the top 20 performing learners and high-schools from across the country, which is announced in no particular order below:

Top 20 Performing High Schools

(No Particular Order)

Top 20 Performing Learners

(No Particular Order)

•           Kitsong High School

•           Theodor Herzl High School

•           Horizon International High School

•           Generation Schools Hermanus

•           Glenwood House

•           Crawford College La Lucia

•           Bishops Diocesan College

•           Durban Girls’ High School

•           Sutherland High School

•           Bridge House School

•           Maris Stella

•           Kloof High School

•           Somerset College

•           Curro Hazeldean

•           Rustenburg Girls’ High School

•           Jeppe High School for Girls

•           Crawford College North Coast

•           Eden College Durban

•           Westville Girls’ High School

•           Reddam House Constantia

•           Sabrina Isaac

•           Lesli Jane Williams

•           Sam McQuirk

•           Malaika Maharaj

•           Lesedi Mnguni

•           Emihle Tshangana

•           Aphile Shabalala

•           Sara Gopal

•           Michael Kotze

•           Zuhayr khan

•           Michael Dunlop

•           Jacquiline Isaac

•           Tahir Omar Carrim

•           Sachiel Subramoney

•           Kai Lemel

•           Saheel Rajnarain

•           Nina Lewis

•           Sachin Mohan

•           Shriyaa Sooklal

•           Kai Parsons

Selley says he applauds the efforts of all the schools, teachers and learners involved in the competition in 2018, explaining how: “the kids and the teachers have poured blood, sweat and tears into the competition and we can’t wait to celebrate their success at our Awards Evening in October.”

Related: Funding And Resources For Young SA Entrepreneurs

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The Innovator Trust And Citi Are Searching For Black-Owned Smes Who Are Ready For Growth

The Innovator Trust, an enterprise development organisation, and the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), Africa’s oldest incubator, are calling on Cape Town-based growth-stage ICT entrepreneurs to join the intensive 2-year enterprise development programme.

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The ICT sector has gone from strength to strength and is one of the fastest-growing industries on the African continent. Yet African entrepreneurs are still finding it a difficult business landscape to navigate. That is why The Innovator Trust and CiTi, through exposure, training and mentorship, now aim to equip entrepreneurs and businesses in the sector with tools that will keep them on track, assist them to achieve their goals and create tech leaders of the future.

ICT entrepreneurs in need of mentorship, skills development and business support who have been operating for more than 2 years and are fiercely committed to growing their business, can now apply to the prestigious 2-year Innovator Trust programme, co-developed and run by CiTi at the Woodstock Bandwidth Barn and remotely in Cape Town. Applications close on 22 February and the selected candidates will be announced on 4 March.

The Innovator Trust programme aims to support the: increase annual turnover, equip businesses with the necessary accreditation to remove red tape, as well as increase profitability and number of employees. Get ready to move the dial on your business.

Celebrating its 20th year of supporting entrepreneurs, CiTi currently runs a number of incubation programmes from idea to growth stage. After a very successful first cohort of the programme, completed in 2018, CiTi confirmed a second collaboration with the Innovator Trust to support further Cape Town businesses over the next two years. Applicants need to be in “ICT”, but this has included a broad range of focusses in the past, from IT recruitment, network security to cabling service provider and software solutions.

Related: Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

The programme, designed by CiTi and Innovator Trust, is not to be taken lightly. Monthly training, mentorship sessions with industry experts, and a strong focus on technical improvements means a substantial time and focus commitment by the entrepreneur. But this intensive design enables significant business progression over the two years.

 “Once the entrepreneurs who take part in our Enterprise Development programmes become more established, they turn their focus to growth. This accelerator is especially for entrepreneurs who’ve created businesses with high-growth potential and provides them with the skills to scale at speed and responsibly,” says Tashline Jooste, CEO of the Innovator Trust.

Cape Town was recently confirmed as the Tech Hub of Africa, by an Endeavor Insight Report commissioned by CiTi and partners, presenting growing opportunities for those businesses serious about growth, and with the right support.

“I believe strongly that ICT entrepreneurs are going to be critical to South Africa’s economic growth, which is why we need to focus on equipping these businesses with the skills they need to grow, create jobs and stimulate our economy,” adds Jooste.

In order to be considered for the programme, prospective applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • A company defined in South Africa as an SMME, QSE or EME;
  • Must be operational and trading for two or more years;
  • The business should be at least 51% black-owned;
  • A minimum Level 1 – 4 BBBEE status according to the DTI or ICT Codes;
  • The business must be a registered company with key focus in ICT and be based in Cape Town and surrounding areas.

In addition, applicants will need to supply copies of their company registration, company profile, and annual financial statements along with their BEE certificate and IDs with their applications.

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

“We had a fantastic experience on the Innovator Trust programme, perhaps most beneficial was the advice and mentorship on our financial management, up-skilling of our team, and establishing a 3-year budget and growth plan for the business. Our advice to entrepreneurs considering the course is “JUST DO IT!!!” The skills and knowledge you gain are invaluable and put us on a serious growth trajectory.” states Jennifer Classen, Founder of Ngaphaya Y2K10, and Participant in the 2015 – 2018 Innovator Trust programme.

Ready to grow your business? Learn more about the programme and submit your application HERE.

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Rocket Challenge Targets Local Coding Skills

The Rocket APT Challenge is open to undergraduate students 18 years of age or older who are currently studying engineering, science, or technology at an accredited college or university.

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Addressing the growing skills gap within software development, local information technology value added distributor, Axiz has sponsored the Rocket APT Challenge and encouraged 39 students to participate in the regional round of the Rocket.Build coding challenge. This comprises 40% of the total numbers of entries received globally. Hosted by Rocket Software and APT Solutions, this annual challenge provides a forum for participants to develop applications on Rocket’s MultiValue platform.

Colleen Becker, Axiz pre-sales engineer, says that the response to the challenge was exceptional and the company is excited to be part of this global initiative: “This is a fantastic innovation challenge that provides students with an opportunity to hone their coding skills on a leading software platform. South Africa is by far the bigger pool of entrants and we are excited to see who is selected for the global Rocket.Build 2019 Hackathon.”

Participants are required to design an app on Rocket’s MultiValue application platform in support of the challenge theme: ‘Improve your Community’. Consisting of three regions: EMEA, Asia-Pacific, and the Americas, three winners from each region will be selected and awarded a cash prize of:

  • $1,000 (USD) – third place
  • $2,500 (USD) – second place
  • $5,000 (USD) – first place

Related: Want To Take Your Coding To The Next Level? Check Out These 7 Productivity Hacks

The nine developers will also be given an all-expenses-paid trip to Massachusetts, USA in June 2019 to participate in Rocket.Build 2019, where they will compete in teams of three to decide the global winner of the Rocket APT Challenge. The winning team will share a grand prize of $24,000 (USD).

Becker says that this is the first year Axiz is participating and the company will definitely register for the 2020 challenge, recruiting of which starts in September 2019: “We are committed to grow the number of young coders on the Rocket platform. There is a global opportunity for students to graduate into a developing industry and support the growing shortage of MultiValue-certified coders. Participants also stand the chance of receiving an internship from participating partners across all industry sectors.”

The Rocket APT Challenge is open to undergraduate students 18 years of age or older who are currently studying engineering, science, or technology at an accredited college or university.

For more information, contact colleen.becker@axiz.com

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SMEs: Have You Completed Your Financial Planning For 2019?

While small to medium enterprise (SME) owners may not have a great deal of control over South Africa’s broader economic issues, they do have control over how they plan and manage their finances, says EasyBiz Technologies Managing Director, Gary Epstein.

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“The failure of many SMEs to make it past the critical 3.5-year mark is more as a result of their inability to get the fundamentals right, rather than being able to deal with issues such as political uncertainty, crime or credit-rating downgrades.

“Several SMEs do not gain an adequate understanding of their markets or the competition they are up against. In addition, failure to manage their finances properly or to access funding and adapt to changes in the marketplace can also be serious hindrances to success.”

Epstein believes without proper financial planning and management, businesses place themselves on the back foot. “Business owners can only make informed decisions when they have a clear view of what is happening with their finances.”

That’s why having the proper financial management tools in place is so important for start-ups and SMEs. “At EasyBiz Technologies, we offer accounting solutions that are aimed at helping businesses manage their finances properly and placing them on a sound financial footing,” adds Epstein.

Tangible outcomes of a good system include increased productivity, reduced monthly expenses, improved accuracy, simplified tax compliance and better financial security. An effective system can also provide critical business insights and allow business owners to make informed and proactive decisions.

Epstein says efficient accounting solutions can help speed up business processes, affording business owners more time to focus on their core processes and growing their operations. “After all, time and money are the most precious resources when it comes to running a small business.

Related: 6 Steps Of Financial Planning

“Our solutions include analysis tools, report making applications and payroll assistance. In addition, income and expense trackers provide valuable information for tax and audit preparations,” he adds.

Epstein urges SMEs to plan for 2019 if they haven’t done so already. “It’s not too late to prepare for the year ahead and, with the financial year end for many businesses looming, now is the time to get a good system in place.”

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