A nerd alert has been issued by the Karoo Tech Hub, an initiative run by video production company Piehole.tv in collaboration with ProcurementExpress.com. With an estimated 45% unemployment rate in the Eastern Cape, the tech hub has launched a free programme called the Nerd Academy aimed to uplift the platteland community. By offering online studying opportunities and training in terms of pitching to foreign businesses, Priscilla Kennedy, founder of Piehole.tv, says that the Nerd Academy is one way that the jobless are able to find new and seemingly improbable ways to solve unemployment in the Karoo.
“Education at university level is not always possible for families in the Karoo. It places untenable pressure on the family, and if in rare cases they do complete a course, finding a job is near impossible. The Nerd Academy is one way in which we can assist to upskill unemployed people of any age, and then assist them to market themselves successfully,” says Kennedy.
She says that the programme caters for technical as well as creative skill sets. Creatively driven individuals often don’t believe there are viable careers available and part of the Nerd Academy approach is to assist those who display creative potential to find a way to build a career using that same talent:
“We are currently working with three young people who are good at drawing, so we are coaching them to become storyboard sketch artists, while also putting them onto Photoshop and other design courses, with the ultimate goal being animation.”
Piehole.tv and ProcurementExpress.com predominately service international clients from Somerset East and are encouraging participants from the Nerd Academy to pursue careers working with international companies while based in the Karoo. A rising global trend, these candidates would become part of the Gig Economy, a new approach that is growing the number of self-employed freelancers worldwide. “We believe in earning dollars, spending rands”, says Kennedy.
“Independent workers are on the increase, Freelancer.com alone advertises over 10,000 jobs for ‘medium-skilled’ projects, while writing and content creation lists nearly 33,000 opportunities. By turning our Karoo Tech Hub into a Tech Campus we can assist in developing the right skills and then empowering these individuals to canvas for work across Europe, the United States and Asia,” says Kennedy.
Believing in earning Dollars and spending Rands, Kennedy says Piehole.tv works with over 400 global brands and majority of the roles they have fulfilled have been fully trained without any previous experience.
She says that using this as a backdrop, the Karoo Tech Hub has already assisted in uplifting more than 20 individuals:
“The model works and we are working towards making it more sustainable. We have experience and are passionate about transferring our skills and creating a pipeline of talented youth with sought-after skills in project management, online marketing, pitching, brand management as well as basic English and computing skills.”
The Nerd Academy was recently visited and endorsed by Athol Trollip, Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay. Quoting the initiative as ‘mind blowing’ Trollip was impressed by the Nerd Academy: “Visiting Piehole.tv in Somerset East has been mind-blowing. These guys are creating jobs from this small Karoo town where smart local talent is conducting online international business. They are bringing money and opportunity into the platteland. Well done.”
For more information on the Nerd Academy contact www.piehole.tv or +14152873566.
What Franchises Need To Lookout For From Budget Speech
Franchise business owners are waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the 2019 National Budget Speech to be delivered by Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, as they seek more opportunities to increase their contribution to GDP.
Morne Cronje, FNB Head of Franchising, says the Budget Speech is an important economic indicator that franchises can use to gain insight on the government’s plans on spending and economic growth for the year ahead.
He highlights potential National Budget Speech outcomes that could boost confidence of franchises:
Any form of relief that is likely to bring positive change, rebuild confidence and address some of the key challenges impacting consumers will be welcome by franchises.
Cronje says consumer spending contributes a significant portion to the profit margins of franchises especially in the food sector.
Rating agencies are keeping a close watch on South Africa’s performance and prospects for growth, which will impact our Sovereign ratings for the rest of the year.
Measures that the government puts in place to promote economic growth this year will be of interest to franchises.
Franchise owners will be looking to benefit from regulatory changes that aim to improve growth, operating environment and enhance participation in all facets of the formal economy.
Based on the Mid-Term Budget Review in October 2018, there’s likely to be no major shake up from a business tax perspective. The anticipated relief in tax will go a long way to boost the profit margins of franchisees.
Spending on infrastructure creates vast opportunities for franchise business owners, as well as job creation in the country. The government has signalled an intention to partner with the private sector to develop an infrastructure fund to increase investment in public infrastructure.
“Franchises that operate in South Africa should prioritise the National Budget Speech as key decisions announced by the minister have a direct impact on their growth,” concludes Cronje.
5 Businesses You Should Start in 2019
Here’s the lowdown on consumer and technology opportunities in 2019 and beyond.
Savvy entrepreneurs should keep a close watch on consumer and technology trends in 2019. This, according to Silvertree Internet Holdings Co-founder and MD, Manuel Koser. Having invested in and grown a number of highly successful South African brands (among them Faithful-to-Nature.co.za, UCOOK.co.za, Pricecheck.co.za, CompareGuru.co.za, Petheaven.co.za, Cybercellar.com, and CarZar.co.za). Silvertree’s management team sees several business opportunities set to grow exponentially over the coming decade.
Here’s the lowdown on consumer and technology opportunities in 2019 and beyond.
1. Indigenous and ethical: Personal and home care products
2019 Sees growing potential for personal care products – ‘Those with local and indigenous ingredients, ethical sourcing which is kind to nature and the body,’ Koser explains. ‘There is a lot of room to play in the African haircare market particularly, as it’s often overlooked by the major FMCG companies.’
The Silvertree MD also sees increasing room for innovative natural home cleaners as consumers become increasingly environmentally conscious. ‘Until now, it was all about the well-known cleaning products the major chemical manufacturers put on the shelves. Now, there’s increasing space for new, exciting entrants.’
2. New beverages
‘Locally-sourced ingredients and an earth-first mindset will also play an increasing role in the consumer beverage market. Add to this the fact that major soft drink manufacturers will struggle to produce drinks for increasingly health-conscious consumers. They’re often just not quick enough to adjust to changing consumer tastes – particularly the tastes of millennials. Think less about a standard fizzy drink, but rather one that’s kind to the body, with natural ingredients. Non-alcoholic: water plus, say, cucumber, or another indigenous ingredient. The market for this will grow.’
3. Ethical snacking
Plant-based, vegan, ancient grains, ethical, protein-rich snacks – these are just some of the trends Koser sees dominating in the snack segment in 2019 and beyond. It’s about unique, tasty, functional foods that cater to the modern, time-starved consumer, Koser explains.
4. Buy, sell and compare online
In the technology space, marketplaces, e-commerce sites and classifieds will all gain momentum in 2019 and beyond. This encompasses aggregators as well as more unusual online businesses, which are increasingly able to find and reach consumers interested in niche products and services.
‘Consider an online ice-cream business. Once, something like that would have been unthinkable,’ Koser explains. ‘But as consumers demand greater choice, room for niche products like this grows.’
Yet, dabble online and seamless execution and delivery become make-or-break factors. ‘Many South African consumers use services such as Google, Amazon, Uber and Spotify daily – world-class products that function on a global scale. You can call an Uber and wait for just two minutes before getting a ride,’ Koser explains. ‘It’s quick and totally seamless. Consumers have come to expect that level of service across the board. Aligned to this is the fact that the millennial wave is currently hitting Cape Town right now, and Joburg secondarily, meaning a number of opportunities are opening up. Go after products and services in the right space and consumers will follow.’
5. Reinvent the wheel – and make it better
The final type of business entrepreneurs should keep an eye on is those that currently have low Net Promoter Scores. ‘This means that very few people like them, or the services they provide are of very poor quality,’ Koser explains. ‘Think of postal service providers or telecoms companies. With any monopolistic or oligopolistic structures, the service is often terrible because the heavyweights hold so much power. There’s a huge gap here.’
An allied approach for entrepreneurs is to assess opportunities for automation, or cutting out the middleman with technology. ‘Once, many markets – such as real estate were opaque, meaning you needed a middleman to help you transact. However, as the capabilities of technology have grown, markets have become far more transparent – making it easier for buyers to match with sellers safely. Today, a lot of this is easy to automate services – think about connecting a homeowner to a prospective renter through a digital solution where renters can be qualified, for example, in terms of their finances, personal information and criminal records. Quick and simple. And no middleman.’
The biggest opportunities here centre around where consumers spend the greatest amounts of time and money, Koser notes. ‘Housing and rent are always major costs. In terms of where consumers spend their time, on the other hand, much of it is, on a mobile phone, or PC.’
However, entrepreneurial success is never down to any one magic formula, Koser emphasises. Nor does Silvertree invest in prospective entrepreneurs solely on the basis of the product or service they offer. ‘It’s about passion, perseverance and tenacity as much as it is about the quality of the product.’
Silvertree Internet Holdings is an investment growth partner who aims to understand, grow and scale business, consumer and digital brands to unlock the brands’ exponential growth.
What To Watch For In Tito Mboweni’s First Budget Speech
By Rob Cooper, tax expert at Sage, and chairman of the Payroll Authors Group of South Africa.
Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, delivers his first Budget Speech on 20 February at a difficult time for the South African economy. Even though President Cyril Ramaphosa has done much to restore business confidence in his first year in office, GDP growth remains weak, government finances are in relatively poor shape, and renewed load shedding is hurting business confidence.
Judging from his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in October last year, I expect Minister Mboweni — backed by the team in the National Treasury—to deliver a relatively cautious budget. Much of the focus will be on refinancing the state-owned enterprises and putting them back on to a sustainable footing.
We probably won’t see much in the way of radical thinking since the room for manoeuvre is so limited. Click each header below for an indepth video on the upcoming topics.
Renewal of the country’s public healthcare system with a mandatory health insurance fund and free healthcare at the point of need has been the ANC government’s policy for years, but progress has been slow to date. There isn’t much money in the country’s coffers to fund something as ambitious as NHI, yet the government will want to show that it is advancing the concept ahead of the elections.
With an NHI bill to be tabled in Parliament soon, we could learn more about how NHI will be funded in this year’s Budget Speech — it’s still not clear whether we will pay for it through payroll taxes, VAT increases or other fundraising measures. As an initial step, we could see medical aid tax credits reduced (or at least not adjusted for inflation) to free up some funding for the NHI.
The ETI Act came into effect on 1 January 2014; as a fan of this incentive, I was delighted that President Ramaphosa announced that it will be extended for 10 years another decade in his state of the nation address. However, I have also long argued that the scheme is not performing to its true potential because it is so complex for payroll managers to administer.
The introduction of the national minimum wage adds even more complexity— until and unless the ETI Act is amended, SARS is of the opinion that the National Minimum Wage will not qualify as a “wage regulating measure”. I hope the Budget Speech will announce steps to align the ETI with the national minimum wage and take other measures to simplify administration.
I don’t expect any major increases to corporate or personal income tax this year since the taxpayer doesn’t have much more to give. I think the top 45% rate will remain unchanged, while tax bracket creep relief (to compensate for inflation) will be limited to lower income earners. It seems unlikely that the Minister will increase VAT again this year, given last year’s increase.
That means the Minister is likely to look at ‘moral’ taxes (sin and sugar taxes) to raise more money; we can expect another steep increase in the fuel levy. Perhaps we’ll also hear about efforts to improve SARS’ revenue collection after several years of under-performance. The agency seems ripe for a turnaround strategy, with high-powered team looking for a permanent chief to take the reins at SARS.
Follow us on @SageGroupZA on 20 February 2019 for LIVE expert insights from the annual Budget Speech.
For more information about Sage’s annual tax seminars, please visit: https://get.sage.com/PRL_19Q1_C4L_ZA_EVCU_NPS_AnnualPayrollTaxSeminar2019
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