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Enter The Awethu 2016 Entrepreneur Development Programme

Reach your full entrepreneurial potential with the 2016 Awethu Programme. Entries close 23rd March.

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The Awethu Project is hosting another five-month long entrepreneur development programme. This practical business programme is offering R45 000 worth of entrepreneurial training to lucky participants.

The Awethu programme offers assistance to entrepreneurs by focusing on growing and formalising your business, while simultaneously building it into an asset.

The deadline for this amazing opportunity is the 23rd March 2016 so you’ll need to register quickly.

What is the Awethu Project?

Awethu started as a R60 000 start-up and over the last six years it’s expanded into a company worth hundreds of millions. It offers assistance to entrepreneurs and their business through their entrepreneur development programme.

This programme has incubated and supported hundreds of entrepreneurs and their business dreams. Creating new business doesn’t just impact the business owner, but entire communities are positively impacted by one person’s experience with Awethu.

The Awethu Project has been internationally recognised by the Echoing Green Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative. It was locally recognised by institutions such as Discovery, the South African Government and prominent individuals including Archbishop Tutu and Nku Nyembezi-Heita.

Related: 10 Steps To Starting Your Business For Free (Almost)

What is this entrepreneur development programme about?

Awethu 2016 is offering 500 fortunate entrepreneurs the opportunity to experience 22 weeks of personalised mentorship. It will help to develop entrepreneurs by exposing them to real-life practical advice and activities that are targeted at growing your business.
You get to work with other entrepreneurs and get a chance to network with people relevant to your business. In case you thought you had to cover all the costs, Awethu will give you access to R5000 as part of its kick-starter fund when you start working and developing with the incubator.

For those talented entrepreneurs who manage to make the top 10% of the entrepreneurial development programme you could receive a further investment of up to R250 000.

Lethabo Mokoena, Owner of Walk Fresh explains her experience gained from the programme:”My business was launched in the Incubator and has more than tripled its revenues since inception. The business now operates from three different locations and has four employees.”

Who should apply for this entrepreneurial assistance programme?

Anyone who would like to go into business for themselves and be an entrepreneur, and who live in Gauteng should apply.

Entries are limited to Gauteng as Awethu currently only has offices based in Johannesburg. All of those participating are required to attend weekly meeting and mentorship sessions at the Johannesburg office. The Awethu Program is hoping to expand countrywide in the future, to be able to reach even more budding entrepreneurs.

This entrepreneur development programme is for those interested in running their own small business but is uncertain how to get going. The Awethu Project is designed to guide and support you and provide both experience and assistance for entrepreneurs.

This programme also applies to those who have already developed a business idea or are already running a small informal business. Awethu will help you to formalise, grow and make a success out of your business.

Any kind of business or business idea are welcomed. If you’re unsure of where to start, this programme was created to guide, support and provides assistance for entrepreneurs. However, if you start up a new business, it is required to be trading within six weeks in order for you to remain in the programme.

In order for you to participate in the entrepreneur development programme you’ll need to apply and register to join Awethu. There will be a launch pad session where we will give you all the information you need and then you decide which day you want to start on.

“I was given the practical experience of running a business on a day-to-day basis. I was taught how to manage finances, how to budget and how to deal with customers and build a strong customer and supplier relationships,” says Rejoice Majola, CEO of we.can.talk

Limited free registration

Awethu-Project

If you are one of the lucky participants selected for #Awe250K, you’ll need to pay a subsidised fee of R500. This payment goes to the six months you’ll spend at our academy. This is a commitment fee for the entrepreneur development programme to ensure scholarship winners treat this opportunity with the necessary respect and dedication that it deserves.

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

Can you still apply if I have a full-time job?

Yes, if you know you can commit to 3-4 hours of in-person training and mentorship each week for 22 weeks.

Do you need to have any formal qualifications to apply?

No, you do not need a matric or any other qualifications to apply. You just need a passion for business and becoming an entrepreneur.

How to Apply

It is quick and easy to applying to this programme designed to provide assistance for entrepreneurs. All you need to do is fill in the form on Awethu’s website. If you are one of the lucky future entrepreneurs who get selected, you’ll receive an invite via your email address. The invitation will give you all the details to attend one of their weekly Launch Pad events in Johannesburg.

At the Launch Pad event they will interview you and those that are successful will progress. The next stage of your journey will then be a five month long mentorship and training programme.

More about the Awethu Project

This business incubator was created to provide assistance for entrepreneurs and help them to build up the country. Every South Africa has the opportunity to realise their potential and make something of themselves.

Awethu is a home grown innovative SMME investment company. It invests in all types of businesses, whether you’re a spaza shop owner or an industrialist there is an entrepreneur development programme designed just for you.

The concept behind Awethu works by flexibly combining ideas, people and funding. With this combination they can build-up fast-growing, sustainable and unswerving SMME’s, which is just what South Africa needs.

If you want to get in touch with The Awethu Project you can contact them on: +27 (0) 11 024 1606. For more information visit their website: http://www.awethuproject.co.za/

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Global Guide For Entrepreneurs, Innovators Launches In Johannesburg

Startup Guide partners with SAP Next-Gen, Tshimologong Precinct to bring global guidebook to Johannesburg innovation ecosystem; calls for nominations.

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Calling all entrepreneurs, accelerators, innovators, co-working spaces and experts in the City of Gold: Startup Guide, the leading global guide for start-ups in high-growth innovation hubs in Europe, the US and Middle East, is open to nominations in Johannesburg.

Founded in 2014, Startup Guide is a creative content and publishing company that produces guidebooks and tools to help entrepreneurs to connect to communities and resources in the leading start-up cities around the world. Its global footprint covers some of the most innovative and thriving start-up ecosystems in the US, Europe and the Middle East, including those of London, New York, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and Stockholm. After launching in Cape Town earlier in the year, Startup Guide now moves to Johannesburg.

According to Sissel Hansen, Founder and CEO of Startup Guide, South Africa’s largest city is emerging as a key innovation hub for start-ups.

“Johannesburg has recently emerged as a growing ecosystem for start-ups and entrepreneurs in Africa, particularly in the tech industry. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to create a comprehensive guide of resources for aspiring founders wanting to do business in South Africa’s largest city.”

Startup Guide Johannesburg was launched at Wits University’s Tshimologong Precinct, one of Johannesburg’s newest high-tech addresses in the vibrant inner-city district of Braamfontein. Tshimologong, which means “new beginnings” in Setswana, focuses on the incubation of digital entrepreneurs, commercialisation of research and the development of high-level digital skills for students, working professionals and unemployed youth. Lesley Williams, CEO of Tshimologong Precinct, says: “South Africa is fast-becoming a go-to source for innovation, especially in the tech sector. We believe the introduction of a dedicated resource for the startup ecosystem in Johannesburg will unlock significant opportunities for innovation hubs such as ours to more easily connect with entrepreneurs, experts and other roleplayers, ultimately providing a more supportive environment for growth.”

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

Startup Guide has partnered with SAP Next-Gen, a purpose driven innovation university and community for the SAP ecosystem enabling companies, partners and universities to connect and innovate with purpose linked to the UN Sustainable Goals for Development. Ann Rosenberg, Senior Vice President and Head of Global SAP Next-Gen says:

“We strive to connect digital innovators in an open innovation community to drive the future success and growth of industries through the use of technology. As we have witnessed in other high-innovation cities around the world, the introduction of knowledge resources – supported by opportunities for collaboration and partnership in an open ecosystem – enhances the overall success of entire start-up communities. Johannesburg’s world-famous energy and business acumen will greatly benefit from the launch of Startup Guide Johannesburg and the support of industry partners, including SAP Next-Gen and the Tshimologong Precinct.”

Cathy Smith, Managing Director of SAP Africa, adds that the partnership with Startup Guide aligns well with the company’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. “As an organisation we are committed to achieving the high ambitions set out by the SDGs. However, it is virtually impossible to do so alone: the concept of partnership with likeminded purpose-driven organisations and initiatives is vital not only to realising the SDGs but to foster a greater and more inclusive innovation ecosystem in Johannesburg and across the African continent.”

Nominations for the Johannesburg edition of Startup Guide are now open. If you know a start-up, entrepreneur, programme, space, accelerator, or experts and would like to see them featured in the book, please visit https://startupguide.com/shop/startup-guide-johannesburg and submit your nomination.

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

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Aspirations For SMMEs In South Africa

Research released earlier this year, revealed that there are only 250 000 formal SMMEs in South Africa.

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Entrepreneurs who have started up a business over the past 10 years have done so in an environment that has been largely negative, with slow economic growth and an unstable political landscape. “So, all in all, a very difficult setting to launch, grow or even maintain a business,” says Bizmod MD, Anne-Marie Pretorius.

Pretorius says that many entrepreneurs who operate in South Africa can be forgiven for often wondering if the slog is worth it. Yet they continue – despite economic uncertainty, strikes, retrenchments and downscaling.  “It is this tenacity that sets entrepreneurs apart, and I often wonder how much more successful they would be in an easier and more supportive environment.”

Below, Pretorius shares her ideal pro-entrepreneur outlook for the future:

  • Greater policy certainty on all key government policies from land reform to regulations surrounding labour broking.
  • Being able to do away with bad policy faster. An example of where this did not happen was in the changes of visa requirements; leading to an unnecessary dent in our tourism industry, an industry that should be targeted for growth.
  • Lower compliance requirements for companies with a turnover under R50 million. The cost of compliance for smaller enterprises is significantly higher in comparison to their income and the cash they have available. Smaller companies need simpler frameworks where compliance is required. A portal similar to SARS e-filing, which makes compliance across various pieces of legislation clear and simple, would be ideal.
  • The Labour Relations Act is a key piece of legislation that has done a lot to protect the rights of the employee. It has attempted to balance the power relationship between employee and employer. Some innovation is however required in labour practices, allowing for mutually beneficial flexible working relationships that keep pace with the changing work environment.
  • Buy small, buy South African! A framework whereby large corporations and government would have to allocate a certain minimum percentage to buying from smaller local companies. There are encouraging signs that this is happening more, however this is still not an ingrained practice. In addition, consumers should be more informed on what items are South African produced, in order for them to be encouraged to purchase locally.
  • Easier access to funds enabling entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. There are currently a few options available, but all of the options require significant governance and red tape. Whilst this is understandable from the lenders perspective, it does hamper the agility and growth of companies.
  • Make good financial governance aspirational, attractive and easily accessible.
  • The process for tenders to be corruption free and fair, enabling more companies to add value.
  • Pay SMME’s on 30 days or less. Enormous pressure exists on smaller companies when not paid on time. They simply do not have the cash flow to carry a debtor’s book of 90 days and this inevitably hampers their growth.
  • Tax SMME’s at a lower tax rate. Profit tax should be lowered in order to drive entrepreneurship.
  • Creating a platform that makes it simpler to employ young individuals with potential and create support programmes for SMMEs to upskill them. There is a significant financial and time investment required to train a young person, which can make SMME’s sometimes wary to do so.

“If we are able to make only some of these ideals a reality, there is no doubt that we would see economic growth, entrepreneurial growth, and more employment opportunities,” concludes Pretorius.

Related: A – Z Easy Small Business Ideas

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South African Students Win R50 000 In The Universities Business Challenge

Students from Mangosuthu University of Technology beat 500 students from 13 different universities across South Africa.

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The Overlings from Mangosuthu University of Technology are the 2018 winners of Cognity Advisory’s Universities Business Challenge (UBC), sponsored by General Electric (GE). The winning team of four students are walking away with R50,000 to turn their business idea into reality.

Launched in July this year, the UBC has seen 500 students from 13 different universities across South Africa participate in a business simulation competition designed to develop entrepreneurship skills.

When the competition launched, all teams were challenged to form virtual companies and to virtually manufacture and sell bicycles.

The final 10 teams were from the University of Limpopo, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Vaal University of Technology, University of KwaZulu-Natal and North-West University.

During the two-day final, the teams played six rounds of simulations. Each simulation gave the teams a chance to re-evaluate their progress and better certain areas that needed improving. The winning team realised during one of their simulations that in order to maximise profits they would need to introduce two new products and market it differently from their initial product. They paid special attention to their customer’s needs. 

The aim of the UBC was designed to tackle South Africa’s high level of youth unemployment. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) announced that South Africa’s official unemployment rate increased by 0.3 of a percentage point to 27.5% in the third quarter of 2018.

Nkosinathi Sokhulu from the winning team said, “Even though we didn’t have a great presentation we made the most profit. This experience taught us a lot about ourselves and business. Most of the decisions that we made came from serious debates. We learnt that market research is crucial when starting a business. We learnt that marketing starts and ends with the customer.”

Related: 20 South African Side-Hustles You Can Start This Weekend

“Based on this market research information we realised that it was important for us to introduce two new products and this, in addition to the main product we were selling, helped us to maximise profits. We saw an opportunity to add more products and it paid off” said Mbali Tshozi.

Tope Toogun, development advisor and CEO of Cognity Advisory said, “All the teams showed tremendous promise and I was very impressed by their levels of engagement with one another and their tenacity.”

“We really want to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary skills to not only start a business but to run it effectively. While we have selected one winner, our hope is that each team has benefitted by having learned the skills needed in the workplace.”

“The competition is designed to develop the ‘soft skills’ that are important for those wanting to set up their own business or simply be successful at work. With rising unemployment and ongoing talent shortages, having these skills is crucial for those wanting to get a job.”

The UBC, now in its second year in South Africa, will continue into its third year in 2019 and will run as the Africa Enterprise Challenge (AEC).

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