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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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FNB Sets Its Sights On Growing Female Entrepreneurs In South Africa

First National Bank looks to grow women entrepreneurship in South Africa.

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FNB has set its sights on growing women owned and led businesses in South Africa, a commitment that has seen the bank enter into partnerships to facilitate mentorship for some of the most promising enterprises.

The bank has a good foundation to build on, as 38% of all new business accounts opened with FNB Business are either led or owned by women, highlighting an already established entrepreneurial momentum.

“We are cognisant of the fact that neither government nor corporate South Africa are going to be the sole sources of job creation. We therefore have an obligation to support and grow entrepreneurship. Partnerships such as the one entered into with International Finance Corporation (IFC) enables us to assist in developing women owned business,” says Michelle Geraghty, Head of Women in Business at FNB Business.

Over the last few years, FNB has, through a partnership with the Vumela Fund, assisted businesses such asSAIL, a leading skills and training institute that offers a range of qualifications to the public sector, and Toni Glass who produce a collection of world class tea, to not only scale effectively, but to bolster each of the business’s offering to market.

Related: Watch List: 50 Black African Women Entrepreneurs To Watch

“Our approach is to, much like we have done with the likes of Sail and Tony Glass, enable qualifying women owned businesses in their growth curve by offering help that includes transact, lending, investing and insuring solutions. This will include facilitating the registration of the business online via the FNB registrations system which links to CIPC, to Instant accounting and payroll solutions aimed at reducing operating costs for the business. This will also extend to support in the incubation stage of selected businesses through Vumela. We will carry this right through to private equity funding,” explains Geraghty.

Vumela was established as an innovative model that is aimed at filling the gaps in the current SME funding and support landscape. While Vumela is an SME growth fund, it also functions as the bank’s primary Enterprise Development and Supply Development vehicle, able to fulfil both SME funding and growth needs, and corporate ESD requirements, avenues that FNB will be making use of.

FNB also intends on tracking jobs created through these initiatives to ensure a trickledown effect that not only benefits the business owner but also increases the overall number of women participating in business in South Africa.

“The need to grow the number of women in business is one that if done correctly, can address many of the disparities and anguish that women continuously face. Access to fair opportunities to grow their businesses and in turn make a real impact on the South African economy,” concludes Geraghty.

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Great Bunch Of Entrepreneurs Make Top 10 In The Workspace/MiWay Competition

The top 10 in The Workspace/MiWay entrepreneur competition have been selected.

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After an intense four-month process, the top 10 contenders in The Workspace/MiWay Entrepreneur competition have been notified that they’re through to the next round. These entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses to the judges, who will then whittle down the number of contenders to five, from which the winner will be chosen.

“There has been great excitement over the past four months. As every single new entry came in, we would clap our hands and cheer,” said Mari Schourie, CEO of The Workspace. It was a tough job judging all the entries to reach the top 20 submissions, she said, before having to find the top 10.

“We’ve had really strong entries submitted by people with good business knowledge,” said Schourie. “You can see the willingness to work hard and the great amount of effort they have put into their initiatives.”

Schourie said judges saw “wonderful ideas and fabulous business minds and quality people with big dreams shine through the entries”.

The top 10 are:

  1. Loyal 1
  2. Dwyka Mining Services
  3. Minatlou Trading 251
  4. Sindis Best for all
  5. Convergence Three
  6. Zinde Zinde
  7. Matla Risk Management
  8. Artsort Trading
  9. Iconic Talent Agency
  10. Nthedikgwadi Transport Services

Related: How to Name (Or In Some Cases, Rename) Your Company

Schourie said she wished she could tell President Cyril Ramaphosa, who supports the growth of small business as an economic driver, “the ideas and the passion that these business owners have is inspiring and should be focused on more”.

The prize on offer – worth over R350 000 – will help set-up the winning entrepreneur for a period of 12 months, giving them a boost to help build their business.

Morné Stoltz, Head of Business Insurance at MiWay, said the theme that ran throughout the entries was that entrepreneurs wanted to make a difference and contribute to positive change in South Africa. “Many of the submissions focused on technical and developmental fields,” he said.

“Entrepreneurs recognise gaps in the market and see the potential for growth. Getting into the top 10 was not at all easy.”

Stoltz said South Africa had a “great bunch of entrepreneurs” and that standing together to give them a platform to launch was an exciting opportunity. “To grow our economy we need to help with skills development and give whatever assistance we can,” he said.

Part of the finalists’ road to the top includes a skills development programme for the top 10 entrants ahead of their important date to pitch their business plans to the judges.

As Schourie pointed out, it is vital to encourage South African citizens to act on their dreams and passions because “it can be a great success; they just need make that leap”.

Dates to watch:

  • 21 June: Top 10 skills development programme
  • 3 July: Top 10 pitches
  • 6 July: Top 5 announcement
  • 20 July: Final five workshops
  • 10 August: Final five pitches
  • 13 September: Winner announced

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Top 22 Start-ups Chosen For Final Selection Days – Startupbootcamp Africa

After receiving 1,004 applications from all over the world, the SBC team in conjunction with the programme’s corporate sponsors have narrowed the applicants down to 22 top-tier tech start-ups that will be invited to the Final Selection Days on July 11th and 12th at PwC’s headquarters in Cape Town.

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SBC Africa received 1,004 total applications from 77 countries on 5 continents. The start-ups that applied were exceptionally impressive and have gained more traction in the market than the applicants for the 2017 cohort. The talent in Africa is phenomenal and the corporate sponsors and SBC team dedicated 2 weeks to narrow it down to the Top 22 to be invited to Final Selection Days.

“It’s been an intense process due to the exceptionally high calibre of start-ups applying to the programme from across the continent,” states Philip Kiracofe, co-founder and CEO of Startupbootcamp Africa. “From 1,004 applications we have managed to narrow down to 22 of the most creative teams tackling daunting African problems. One of the key differentiators for start-ups that participate in the SBC Accelerator is the opportunity to secure commercial contracts with our sponsors. In order to make it onto our Top 22, each start-up has been chosen by at least 2 sponsors for potential proof of concept projects. The 2018 cohort is already shaping up to be a milestone moment for Africa.”

Related: How to Name (Or In Some Cases, Rename) Your Company

Zachariah George, co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of Startupbootcamp Africa added, “The investment community across Africa is taking note of the significant traction and access to market that being an alumni of a global accelerator programme like ours provides. We are excited to further galvanize venture capital funding into tech startups through significant de-risking of business models and customer validation with our corporate partners globally.”

From the 22 teams that have been invited to the SBC Africa Final Selection Days, 10 will be selected to join the 2018 cohort. Over the span of the two Final Selection Days, the startups in attendance will have the opportunity to present their pitches to high-profile corporate sponsors, investors, thought leaders and industry experts and will have the chance to sit down with mentors and sponsors alike. At the end of Day Two, the Top 10 will be announced and will be welcomed to the Cape Town-based Accelerator that kicks off in August. During the 3-month period, they will have the opportunity to scale at an incredible pace and seal pilot and proof of concept deals with the corporate sponsors to the programme.

The SBC Africa Accelerator is anchored and endorsed by heavyweight corporate sponsors RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Nedbank, Old Mutual and PwC.

“We’ve seen an increase in the quality of start-ups applying to the programme. The awareness of the value of the programme has increased and the success of the first year of the bootcamp speaks for itself. More mature start-ups are also seeing the benefits of participating in Startupbootcamp Africa,” comments Stanley Gabriel, Head of Innovation at Old Mutual.

The Top 22 start-ups invited to the Final Selection Days come from 7 different countries. The numbers are as follows: 8 from Nigeria, 5 from South Africa, 3 from Uganda, 2 from the Ivory Coast, 2 from Kenya, 1 from Ghana and 1 from Ireland.

Related: Entrepreneurship Is All About Overcoming Obstacles

The names of the start-ups invited to Final Selection Days by country:

  • Nigeria: Bankly Technologies, Biyabot, CredPal, FriendsVow, Kudimoney Bank, Medikal HMS, NebulaPay, and ZEEZZ Planet Solutions.
  • South Africa: Brandbookalytics Big Data, ifileme, LÜLA, Prospa, and Akiba Digital
  • Uganda: CoinPesa Ltd, RoundBob Uganda, and Swipe 2 Pay
  • Ivory Coast: Digitech Group, and DISTRICASH
  • Kenya: Kakbima, and MPost
  • Ghana: Inclusive Financial Technologies
  • Ireland: Pago Payments

It has been an incredible 3-month scouting journey for SBC Africa and now that the Top 22 have been announced, the Final Selection Days is the only hurdle left before the Accelerator officially kicks off on 13 August 2018.

There are high expectations for the Top 10 of 2018 and if the quality of the start-ups at this stage is any indication, 2018 is set to be a great success for the African tech and innovation ecosystem.

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