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Entrepreneur Competition Top Five Heading For The Finish Line

One more workshop, the workshop for the final five followed by the contestants’ last chance to pitch their businesses, and then the winner will be announced on 13 September 2018.

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The five finalists in an entrepreneur competition run by co-working operator The Workspace and MiWay business insurance have been chosen.

One more workshop, the workshop for the final five followed by the contestants’ last chance to pitch their businesses, and then the winner will be announced on 13 September 2018.

The finalists are cloud based loyalty management platform and app for SMEs, Loyal 1; finance solution company, Matla Risk Management; events and catering business Sindi’s Best for All; mining tech integration partner, Dwyka Mining Services; and Minatlou Trading 251, supplier of general and women-specific protective personal equipment/clothing.

CEO of The Workspace, Mari Schourie, said it was vital to support and recognise entrepreneurs and small businesses as a prerequisite to growing South Africa’s economy. While competitions such as this helped give emerging businesses a leg up, it also fell to corporates and consumers to do their bit too.

Phakiso Tsotetsi – entrepreneur, Ambassador of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship and co-founder of the Hookup Dinner and one of the judges – said a pitch-readiness workshop helped whittle down the top 10 and deciding the top five businesses.

“It helped the entrepreneurs in developing concise, repeatable sales pitches for their businesses, which afforded them the opportunity to get closer to being chosen into the top five,” he said. “As it stands we are very excited about the decision we have made and looking forward to the rest of the journey in this competition,” he said.

Related: A Comprehensive List Of Angel Investors That Fund South African Start-Ups

The workshops and pitch interventions have been invaluable, personally and professionally.

What the finalists said

“Personally I have grown in self-confidence,” said Mpho Mpatane, managing director of Minatlou Trading 251. “I’ve learned I should learn to listen more and be open to learning from other people’s experiences. Business wise, I have learned how to pitch better so that my value proposition is clearer and is more attractive to possible investors. I have learned that I have much to learn from my peers and I can get business from my peers as well. We can procure business from each other and start improving our skills and expertise.”

Dwyka Mining Services’ Rethabile Letlala said the competition has been a “rather uncomfortable yet extremely exciting experience overall. I was forced to confront my public speaking insecurities and even more, learn how to enjoy it and use my own personality to influence and improve my presentations”, he said.

“Entrepreneurs are the true drivers of the economy. Competitions like this not only give entrepreneurs a chance to grow, but plainly the confidence to know that they are noticed, they are making a difference. That affirmation alone is all that someone needs to keep pushing and working towards their dream.”

Thabo Moodie, who runs Matla Risk Management, said he’d learnt how to structure his pitch. “It’s much more crisp and precise. You may have a lot to say and you may know about your product and service, but knowing how to translate that to your potential investor or partner is crucial,” he said.

Besides being an invaluable networking opportunity, the entrepreneur competitions such as this one help entrepreneurs get an edge on the bigger competition, said Sindi’s Best for All founder, Sindiswa Beverly Gqogqonyeka.  “When we are groomed and mentored correctly at an early stage of a business, our success rate becomes higher as we end up knowing what good business practices are. And then we can become profitable,” she said.

Loyal 1 creator, Tshireletso ‘TY’ Hlangwane, said he had been given the opportunity to learn from judges, as well as a shot at prizes that would help grow his business and become a “well-oiled machine”. “Many entrepreneurs in South Africa need such skills in order to improve the business and grow their businesses,” he added.

Related: Government Funding And Grants For Small Businesses

The prizes

The prize, worth over R350 000, includes 12 months free office space for up to four people at The Workspace’s Village Road premises, free Wi-Fi, free phone rental, free business insurance and business advice, as well as all risk equipment insurance, free tea and coffee, free usage of meeting and board rooms, free security and 24-hour access, free parking and a new laptop.

There’s also a brand new responsive design website and content management system plus training in how to keep digital collateral updated; a share portfolio from Opulentus Wealth and a complete brand communication strategy and two strategic sessions from Oxigen Communications worth over R50 000.

Beyers Müller, a judge and CFO of the Intespace Group, said The WorkSpace and MiWay Entrepreneur Competition was a great initiative that “showcases the hunger and spirit of up and coming entrepreneurs in South Africa. I’m thrilled to see how every entrepreneur is a broker between ideas and resources”.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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Entrepreneurs! Now Is The Time To Change Lives And Grow Revenues

All signs point to Africa as the most extraordinary place to be and do business in the future.

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So, how are we going to do business?

This is the question posed by Musa Kalenga, the enthusiastic entrepreneur and strategist who was named one of the Top 200 young South Africans by Mail & Guardian, at a recent Entrepreneurship To The Point Session hosted by Property Point, the Growthpoint Properties initiative.

The answer to doing business that he offers entrepreneurs, even in this digital age, is humanity.

“Humanity is the new black; it is how we are going to be the next powerhouse of this globe,” says Kalenga. “Being human is the one thing that will enable us to survive in the age of augmentation.”

Kalenga is obsessed with using technology to empower the digitally invisible. “We can send people to the moon but we can’t feed people on earth? This is a problem,” he cautions, “because unless we’re making fundamental business model changes, we won’t have a market for the future.”

He took the Entrepreneurship To The Point audience on a journey, highlighting the sweet spot where technology and creativity merge.

Looking at how African entrepreneurs should respond to the age of augmentation, he uses the shocking November 2015 Paris attacks as an example. Facebook activated its Safety Check function, Uber alerted its drivers to take people to safety, and Airbnb operators took in anyone in need.

Related: How To Make (A Lot Of) Money On Airbnb

“While these are tech businesses at their core, they displayed decidedly human responses. They also didn’t have to redo their business model to respond in a more human way,” points out Kalenga. “The technology journey that communities and consumers have to go through must match ours as brand creators, value seekers and entrepreneurs.”

Doing this is simpler than you may think. Technology’s intersection with humanity is all about finding simple, meaningful solutions.

He points to the trend of impact investment – an approach taken by some of the world’s richest family businesses. Impact investment means finding opportunities that are solving human-centred problems and creating value for the humans that we seek to serve, and then figuring out how to make revenue as a business. Essentially, it puts doing good before making money. This is where humanity, technology and entrepreneurship are on course to meet and power the extraordinary future of business in Africa.

“Human beings are at the top of the food chain because we can understand a small and simple thing, then develop it for different purposes all the time. Also, because we can rally around common cause and purpose. Enhancing quality of life in the way people experience technology is key to continuing to solve problems, not only in Africa but across the globe,” concludes Kalenga

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Futureproofing The Next Generation Of Entrepreneurs

Futureproof – a business built on purpose.

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The South African labour market remains vulnerable, particularly in the youth employment sector. While there is a call for more entrepreneurs, further support for SMME’s and increased youth employment by government, the youth of today lack the skills, knowledge and opportunities to answer to the call.

Riddled by poverty and unemployment, South Africa remains a country in crisis. With more than 3.3 million* unemployed youths, entrepreneurship has been highlighted to eradicate our unemployment woes; here’s the catch though: a recent study on education depicted the effect that poor education has had on entrepreneurs, who are largely ill-equipped to run their own businesses as a result. (Businesslive.co.za (2017)).

Getting youths to grips with entrepreneurship

By combining a background in education and entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial educationalist, speaker, radio presenter, mother of two and all-round go-getter, Lisa Illingworth co-founded Futureproof to educate youths from as young as primary school on real-life entrepreneurship.

Related: Kid Entrepreneurs Who Have Already Built Successful Businesses (And How You Can Too)

As an ex-teacher, Lisa recognised a serious need for educating children on the practical application and art of entrepreneurship to create a generation of informed, thriving youths. “Young adults in the 21st century are entering the working world equipped with knowledge and skills that are irrelevant for the workplace,” explains Lisa.

Futureproof is built on an unwavering commitment to entrepreneurship as a mechanism for intervening in the poverty cycle that our youths are caught up in. “I don’t want to watch another generation driven by poor education standards, self-entitlement and helplessness”.

Lisa believes that entrepreneurs possess qualities that each of us can aspire to in order to take charge of our own futures: they identify a problem or a gap and create a service or a product to solve this problem and generate a flow of money. “Their tenacity is something that few can relate to. Entrepreneurs sacrifice short-term gain to deliver a long-term solution and derive an income from their efforts and passion. Nothing comes easy to an entrepreneur, so persistence is key” she emphasizes.

In a country where many simply admit defeat, Lisa and her team believes that possessing an entrepreneurial mindset can set our youths apart and accelerate them in the working world. “Futureproof exists with a massive transformative purpose to educate the future generation of entrepreneurs,” explains Lisa.  “We aim to identify and grow the 5% of high impact entrepreneurs that will create the much-needed economic transformation that this country requires but organically, this process allows kids to learn how to create their own income opportunities” Lisa continues.

Futureproof – for purpose, for profit

Today, Futureproof is a “for purpose, for profit” business. We sacrifice neither. “This business is built on a model that was based on authentically practicing what we teach. Many social enterprises default to a charity and this business is unapologetically not a charity. We teach kids to build sustainable enterprises and we mirror this through the way we do business”.

Related: The Ultimate 101 List Of Business Ideas To Start Your Own Business In South Africa

Futureproof provides kids the opportunity to craft their own futures by applying the entrepreneurial skills gained in their real-life situations. “By instilling an entrepreneurial mindset, we look to cultivate a generation of hungry entrepreneurs who are able to identify and build-on opportunities. Our courses teach problem solving at the highest level to the youngest kids, and we have seen some amazing success stories come out of this in kids as young as eight years old”.

At its helm, Lisa says that Futureproof’s Board of Directors is made up of some of the country’s top business minds – a team driven by passion and purpose. “We attract incredible people in business and for this reason I am pleased to be surrounded by top women in their respective fields such as S’onqoba Maseko and Chairperson of our Board of Directors (previous head of innovation for FNB and now the COO of Future Nations Schools) and Masenyane Molefe – our Human Resources Specialist and HR Director of Hyundai South Africa.

For more information on Futureproof’s programmes and how to get involved, visit: www.futureproofsa.com

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Nedbank Brings Silicon Valley’s Plug And Play To Africa In Disruption First For The Continent

Nedbank launches The Disruption Agenda to connect the best technology start-ups to major corporations and business leaders.

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Nedbank announced today the expansion of their US partnership with Plug and Play, the world’s largest innovation platform, to include South Africa for the first time.

Together, the entities will connect 10 visionary entrepreneurs from around the world to business leaders at The Disruption Agenda to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa in September.

These startups are at the leading edge of digital transformation. They have been accelerated via the Plug and Play platform and identified as relevant disruptors to solving cross-sector business challenges at a corporate level within the local market.

“Nedbank recognises that building an innovation strategy at a corporate level can present a number of significant challenges. To help corporate leaders, we have structured The Disruption Agenda, a first of its kind event on the continent, to simplify how corporates connect to world-class start-ups,” shares Stuart van der VeenHead of Disruption and Innovation at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB).

“The problem is that innovative thinking is too often limited to finding new ways of doing old things, when what businesses really need to set themselves apart is to find completely new things to do. And that’s where the successful integration of disruptive technology can be an unparalleled source of comprehensive transformation for any business.”

Related: AutoTrader South Africa’s George Mienie Knows Disruptive Innovation Is More Than Shifting Gears

Nedbank’s participation in Plug and Play’s FinTech accelerator programme abroad supports its commitment to source innovative digital enhancements to meet the changing needs of its clients.  Nedbank has sponsored Play and Play’s Fintech initiative for close on two years and for each of the four batches that Nedbank has been involved in, the bank’s teams actively engaged with the start-ups to source new ideas and partnerships with the aim of delivering delightful client experiences and disruptive client value propositions.

“Our partnership with Nedbank has given our start-ups a successful route to expand their business to South Africa,” said Max Koenig, Director of Plug and Play FinTech, Silicon Valley. “The CIB group, responsible for innovation within Nedbank, has been instrumental in sourcing start-ups to digitally transform their company.”

The Disruption Agenda is a closed event structured for Nedbank’s clients, while a public event for broader access to Plug and Play is envisioned to take place later in the year. The success of these engagements will form the basis of Plug and Play’s decision to accelerate plans to establish a permanent presence in Africa.

“The opportunity in Africa as a whole is endless and we view this event in September as an integral first step for opening and developing an Innovation Hub in South Africa in 2019” noted Saeed Amidi, Founder & CEO of Plug and Play.

“We believe that successful disruptors are those organisations that are able to see through their traditional functions and create new realities for their clients and businesses. In the process of transforming innovation thinkers to disruption leaders, these organisations have real potential to transform the economic reality of entire communities,” shares Van der Veen.

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