With a superb line-up celebrating technology and creativity by Africans for Africa, the 2016 Fak’ugesi African Innovation Festival was once again a resounding success.
This year’s festival ran from 19 August to 3 September 2016 and brought together diverse digital and technology sectors to collaborate and share skills in digital media and technology innovation. Fak’ugesi was first founded three years ago by Prof Christo Doherty and Tegan Bristow from Wits Digital Arts, together with Prof Barry Dwolatzky from the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE).
“A very special thank you must go to our primary sponsor, the City of Johannesburg, and the partners we worked with to make 2016 Fak’ugesi Festival come alive,” says Tegan Bristow, 2016 Festival Director.
“The City of Johannesburg has a vested interest in developing Johannesburg as a technologically advanced and engaged city, and with this is a dedication to supporting the digital creative sector as well as making technology accessible to all those who want to learn more and innovate,” she adds. The festival’s partners also included the JCSE, Wits University, the British Council’s ConnectZA and InnovationZA, and the Goethe Institut, and new partners for 2016, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg and the Innovation Hub.
Among the many highlights of the festival was the Smart City Day, a celebration of Johannesburg’s innovations and developments for service delivery which included a special showcase of the young graduates enrolled in the COJEDI (City of Johannesburg Educating Digital Interns) programme.
Annual favourites also made a return to Fak’ugesi including A MAZE Johannesburg – a festival in its own right focused on local and independent gaming, playful media and game development.
The British Council’s Connect ZA 2016 programme again brought innovation and creativity to life and hosted a Maker Library for the duration of the festival, as well as the ever-popular annual Market Hack, as well as the Soweto Pop Up; a special collaboration with local artists and dancers with British digital artists, SDNA.
The SDNA collaboration resulted in show stopping giant projections that could be seen on the buildings of Braamfontein for the official Tshimologong Precinct launch and the Alight party held with Future Sounds and Between 10 and 5 on 1 September.
“For the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation festival, these collaborations and their respective developments are paramount to the definition of the festival; as not just a festival where you can come to see and hear, but a festival that is a location for learning, making, developing and innovating,” explains Bristow.
The spirit of sharing, fun, making and collaborating was also evident in the Goethe Institut’s partnership with Create Africa and film maker Lebogang Rasethaba to create Future Sounds; a week-long festival development between performers and technologists based in Joburg and Cape Town, and German based digital interactive group The Constitute. The outcome of these developments was performed at the Alight party stage and through various installations throughout Fak’ugesi.
An important collaboration is that of the Fak’ugesi Digital African Residency. This year Pro Helvetia (the Swiss Cultural agency) in their ANT project funding supported three young artists from the SADC region to be official festival artists in residence for a month prior to and during the events. Residents explored in their artworks the role of traditional African cultures in the Digital sphere.
All outcomes point to the Fak’ugesi Festival as truly African and collaborative festival of arts and technological innovation. Bristow says preparations are already underway for next year’s festival which is preliminarily booked from 5 to 16 September 2017 and will feature a full calendar of unmissable events together with exciting collaborations and a celebration of all things digital.
Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
Herman Mashaba To Talk On City Of Jo’burg Job Creation Initiative
Herman Mashaba to talk on City of Jo’burg job creation initiative at 2019 Business Day TV SME Summit.
Leading organisations at the SME Summit
SME Insurance Checklist For New Year
Malesela Maupa, Head of Product and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers, advises SMEs to consider the following factors when reviewing their policies.
Business owners who are planning for the year ahead should not overlook the importance of reviewing their insurance policies to ensure they are adequately covered against insurable risks.
Malesela Maupa, Head of Product and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers says, every year businesses face unique challenges ranging from credit and market risks, technological disruptions, compliance, operational and regulatory risks, amongst others. As a matter of precaution, insurance policies should at least be reviewed or updated once a year.
He advises SMEs to consider the following factors when reviewing their policies:
- Employee movements – if there are any employees who have left or joined the company, ensure that your policy is updated accordingly.
This type of cover normally depends on the role and contribution of the employee to the business. For instance, directors may be covered for Key Person Insurance and Directors & Officers Liability insurance.
- Protest Actions – this year is the national election year and leading up to elections we can expect to see an increase in the frequency and severity of protest actions, riots and strikes. Thus, it is essential to ensure that adequate special risks cover is in place from the South African Special Risks Insurance Association (SASRIA).
SASRIA provides cover to both individuals and businesses against special risks like civil commotion, public disorder, strikes, riots and terrorism at affordable premiums.
- Cyber risks – it is essential to communicate with your insurer or broker and find out if there are any new risks that your business should be protected against. Cyber incidents continue to be a major risk for businesses especially in the SME sector. Over the last couple of years there has been a major increase in the number of reported cyber incidences.
More businesses are now facing increased cyber threats due to their increased dependency on technology, relating to their internal and customer data being compromised by fraudsters. It is therefore essential to have some form of cyber risk insurance cover and/or enhancement of data security protocols.
- Regulatory changes – every year there are a number of regulatory changes that impact businesses directly or indirectly, which may result in fines and penalties for non-compliance.
- Natural catastrophes – the increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather conditions, coupled with intensifying natural catastrophes will continue to have a significant impact on businesses.
Businesses should ensure they are adequately protected against these risks to avoid incurring sever financial losses.
- Business changes – should a business consider moving to a new location, purchasing new premises or venture into new business activities, these types of changes could have a major impact on its risks profile. As a result, the policy needs to be updated accordingly.
- New and Enhanced products – An innovative culture has taken over the insurance industry and ever so often we see the introduction of new products or the enhancement of existing products. Get in touch with you broker to advise you on any new products that might add value to your existing insurance portfolio.
“Reviewing your policy regularly gives you peace of mind knowing that you can focus on running your business effectively, without worrying about unforeseen risks,” concludes Maupa.
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