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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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Surge In South Africans Swopping Their Cars For Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.

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The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.

As South Africans are itching to get their hands on the digital currency, there’s been an increase in swops and bitcoin-only sales on Gumtree.co.za, says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Core at Gumtree. “This is particularly true for high-value items like cars, bikes and boats. Many sellers are willing to take a gamble with their assets in hopes of a large pay-out.”

This is on trend with other marketplaces. In the United States a McLaren 720S was put up for sale in exchange for 25 bitcoin, a theoretical value of $425,000.

Related: 11 Things You Need To Know About Bitcoin

While Gumtree does not allow for the sale of bitcoin miners or services, Cobbledick says that customers can exchange goods for bitcoin on the site, but should be fully aware of the risks. “Bitcoin is a volatile currency, so while you could easily see a 50% increase in your investment, you could just as easily end up with nothing. It’s up to the seller to decide if they are willing and able to take a gamble.”

Some cars currently up for sale in exchange for bitcoin includes a Land Rover Defender, BMW X5 and a rare 1970 Mercury Cougar V8.

“There are also a few other sellers accepting bitcoin in exchange for Kruger Rands,” says Cobbledick. “Perhaps proving that gold as a store of value is falling out of vogue.”

But the most unusual swop would have to go to an entrepreneurial seller who is offering carnivorous plants in exchange for the cryptocurrency.

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Zando Sold 80 Items A Minute During Black Friday – By Doing This

Black Friday has brought immense success for numerous local online retailers – reflecting the potential of e-commerce in South Africa. Why not learn from Zando’s success in 2017 to ensure your success during the 2018 Black Friday sales season?

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For South African e-retailers, Black Friday is a big sales event. But you need to ensure you’re prepared for the web traffic and that your e-commerce store can handle the logistics of thousands of orders.

zando-sascha-breussAccording to Zando, they experience 100% up-time during Black Friday and less than a week after the season sales event, 95% of customer orders have already been shipped.

To help fellow e-tailers perform better next year, Zando’s CEO, Sascha Breuss answers some key questions about the company’s preparations and learnings around Black Friday:

1. How did you encourage greater sales on Black Friday?

Over the last few years Black Friday has developed a following in South Africa, so we benefitted from the existing hype around it. We didn’t focus too much on upfront marketing, but put our energy into flawless execution and of course great deals for the customers.

Related: The Evolution Of Retail: From Corner Store To Artificial Intelligence

2. How much planning went into ensuring your store platform ran at optimum?

The real ‘hot phase’ started with the first day of November when our IT department went into a ‘feature freeze’ and we focused 100% on site-stability and scalability.

We went through some intense testing of our site with loads up to 15 times the average daily amount of visitors. So, when the actual day came, we were confident in our systems.

3. How were you able to successfully co-ordinate logistics during Black Friday?

Early preparation and experience from past years have been the key to success. We increased our head count in both Warehouse and Customer Service well in advance so that we could rely on well-trained and experienced colleagues come Black Friday.

4. How did you ensure a seamless experience between your website and your app?

We know that our customers are browsing Zando on all platforms, desktop, mobile and app so we implemented some handy features to make the transition between each platform easier. For example, shared baskets and wish lists are now a feature. Some of the deals however have been app-only and sometimes we reward our app users with early access to shop the best deals. So it is definitely worth it to download our app.

Related: How SA’s Online Retailers Can Cash In On Black Friday Fever

5. How did you scale your entire operation for a single event?

This is easy to summarise in one word – TEAMWORK. The Zando staff did an amazing job and were the backbone of our success. Not only did they put the required extra hours in and worked hard until the job was done, but they also showed real team-spirit. When you called our Customer Service during Black Friday it’s very possible that you spoke to someone in our HR, Social Media or Legal team who helped out answering calls.

6. How did your marketing campaign affect traffic on your platforms?

The most surprising element was probably the high volume of traffic that we saw during the night. Visits started to increase every minute before midnight and during the first two hours of the day we saw peaks that were higher than on our strongest week day. This traffic never dropped with a lot of orders being placed between 2am and 3am on Black Friday.

7. How did your technology systems handle the influx of shopper traffic?

In the build up to Black Friday we added additional server capacity and changed the way we handled the flow of traffic. This made us very flexible to switch on additional capacity wherever required. So it was a combination of intensive preparation, close monitoring and ultimately very little sleep for a couple of days to ensure we monitored our system health 24 hours a day.

8. What was your sales strategy?

For us everything that had a discount of 40%-80%, and was still a relevant and recent look, qualified for Black Friday 2017. Once these criteria were fulfilled we made sure that we had sufficient stock available – in some cases the demand was so high that we brought on additional stock from our suppliers during the Black Friday weekend.

Related: 5 Last-Minute Tips For Small Retailers To Boost Black Friday Sales

9. What were your biggest learnings?

We have been very successful in our approach to remain true to the idea of Black Friday – offering great deals on relevant product and not outdated clearance ranges. The customer is very educated and will identify a good deal, and we have seen consumers’ negative comments on stores who used Black Friday solely as a warehouse clearance opportunity.

10. What surprised you about Zando’s success during Black Friday?

Thanks to extensive preparation we have been able to achieve an uptime of 100% for the full month of November. We also kept the deliveries and returns 100% free regardless of discount or basket size. It seems like our customers appreciated this approach and we have actually seen very positive sales numbers after Black Friday while we expected a drop. I believe the full focus and investment on the Customer Experience has worked for us.

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Team Resolutions: 11 Tips To Uncover Passion And Potential In New Hires

If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires.

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If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires says Michelle Seko, Talent Acquisition Manger at Sage Africa & Middle East.

The importance of a good candidate experience cannot be underestimated. Research has shown that 88% of job applicants are more likely to buy from a company if they’ve had a positive experience when applying for work there. Research has also shown that candidates talk about their experiences with a company, regardless of whether they got the job. Some candidates would even refer a friend to the company and others will re-apply for a future role, if the experience was a good one.

Research also found that:

Related: Why You Should (Seriously) Stop Hiring People

Win-win

Businesses enter into a relationship with a new hire the moment they sign on the dotted line. And, as with any relationship, it will only flourish if built on trust, respect and a commitment to self-improvement.

When you set new hires up for personal success, the outcomes naturally feed into your business’ success, which means you both win.

Here are a few ideas to get the most out of your new hires:

Make them feel welcome

Introduce them to the people they’ll be working with as soon as possible so that they immediately feel part of a team. At Sage, we partner new hires with a buddy, or Sage Ambassador, who helps them settle in and meet new people, contributing to the positive on-boarding experience.

Focus on the benefits

Compelling benefits not only attract the best candidates but also boost loyalty and job satisfaction. People are motivated by different things: one person might value flexi-time while another could place more importance on growth opportunities or bonuses. Focus on the benefits that align with the individual’s values when onboarding.

Set goals early and outline a plan to achieve them

This keeps your team focused, especially if they will be rewarded for achieving their goals.

Assess performance

Monthly, at least. Adjust goals and plans where necessary, reward good performance, introduce new challenges and deal with issues promptly.

Show genuine interest

Regular catch-ups and remembering children’s names, for instance, makes people feel appreciated.

Empower them

Let your new hires apply their knowledge to business challenges and offer training opportunities outside of their comfort zones. Reward ideas that help you do things better and faster.

Related: Hiring The Right Person Is Critical When Growing A Business

Encourage collaboration

People thrive when they can learn from others and when they can share their knowledge. Involve experienced team members in the new hire’s training. This is a great way to recognise and appreciate their loyalty and skills.

Be transparent

Do you have difficult clients? Will the new hire have to work overtime? What are the business’s goals? New hires should know what they’re getting into.

Provide solid training on everything from company culture and benefits, to opportunities for growth

The biggest cost associated with training people is the time it takes for them to become productive. But rushing through on-the-job training could lead to a host of other problems, including repeated mistakes and a lack of confidence.

Openly communicate any changes in the business

Manage your team’s expectations and be clear about yours. Allow new hires to question and understand how you do things and to point out errors – their past experience probably gave them new ideas and ways of working that could boost your team’s efficiency and productivity.

Be upbeat

Your mood sets the tone for everyone else. You can have the best product in the world but unless your team is passionate and enthusiastic about that product, you won’t get the results you’re hoping for.

Keeping people motivated and productive is hard work

But if you provide them with the tools, knowledge and support to do their best work and to contribute their best ideas, motivation and productivity will come naturally.

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