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Over R8,4 Million in Funds Available to Ten Entrepreneurs

Could yours be one of 10 companies selected for the Raizcorp Fast Forward Programme acceleration boost worth R844 800?

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Are you ready to reach your full potential? Are you ready to become 
a high-growth entrepreneur?

Raizcorp has partnered with leading global investment bank, J.P. Morgan, to give 10 South African businesses a chance to grow from good to great. The Raizcorp Fast Forward programme is valued at R844 800 per business, and each business chosen will receive a dedicated Raizcorp team to strategise and facilitate its growth over a period of two years.

Selecting 2012’s Fast Forward entrepreneurs

The fact that only ten businesses can ultimately be chosen means selection will be rigorous. However, for those ten businesses, the rewards will be great.

Raizcorp’s criteria are clear: This is not an enterprise development programme. Instead, it’s open to anyone who has an already operating business, a minimum turnover of R50 000 per month, is based in South Africa, and is willing to work to take their business to greatness. So apply today – you can’t be selected if you don’t fight for the opportunity.

What you get

Entrepreneurs selected for the programme will be allocated a team of five guides who will focus on strategy, finance, marketing, sales and personal development. These guides are employed by Raizcorp and have been trained by the Raizcorp Guiding Academy, which holds the UK SFEDI accreditation.

The Fast Forward programme is unique in that it’s an ‘eat as much as you can’ programme. There is no limit to how much – and how little – you can access your guides. The programme kicks off with a GPS (gaps, positioning and strategy) meeting involving the entrepreneur and all five guides, which is followed by a full breakdown of the areas the business needs to focus on.

From there the entrepreneur can access the various guides as and when required to meet these goals. It is the strategy guide’s role to manage the whole team and ensure the agreed upon strategy is followed.

A full-time team of 
specialist guides will 
support you throughout 
your entrepreneurial journey. With Raizcorp guides at your side, you’ll get structure, purpose and progress. You will have support – people to help you get through the bad times and to show you how to build on the good times.

The selection process

Once you have filled in the application form, and if you meet Raizcorp’s criteria, an 8-step process will follow. You must complete the process to qualify.

  • Attend a first interview with a Raizcorp Entrepreneurial Scout
  • Write an online test that assesses your entrepreneurial potential and drive
  • Complete an assisted audit and 
due diligence process
  • Attend a second interview with your Entrepreneurial Scout
  • Attend a due diligence meeting
  • Present your business to Raizcorp’s panel
  • You must be willing to commit to the full two-year process.

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Tips To Help SMEs Prepare For The New Year

Jesse Weinberg, Head of the SME Customer Segment at FNB Business unpacks key steps that entrepreneurs should consider to ensure a successful 2019.

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January is always a good time for SMEs to reflect on achievements and challenges for the past 12 months, while preparing for the year ahead.

  • Review 2018 goals – business owners should review their short-term goals regularly in order measure progress and learn from their past mistakes.

Furthermore, short-term goals also help a business to determine if it is still on track to meet its long-term objectives.

  • Get your finances in order – given the tough economic conditions, it is essential for businesses to ensure that their finances are always in order. Having a positive cashflow at the beginning of the year will help SMEs weather any unforeseen events that may potentially disrupt an unprepared business.

Weinberg says, cash flow management challenges are also a good indicator of deeper or hidden issues within the business that need to be addressed immediately.

  • Stay ahead of competition – actively monitor the activities of your closest competitors and how the market responds to their goods or services. This will help you identify any shortcomings in your business, allowing you adequate time to address them.

Related: Government Funding And Grants For Small Businesses

For example, if you are still offering products and services in store while your competitors have successfully migrated to digital channels, it may be ideal to consider a multi-channel approach to remain relevant.

This also provides a perfect opportunity to disrupt or innovate by identifying niches within your market or industry that no competitor has tapped into yet.

  • Meet customer needs – the most practical way to measure customer satisfaction is to communicate directly with the recipients of your goods or services.

Online reviews and social media are good platforms for getting feedback.

Weinberg says to remain relevant, sustain the current base and win new customers – SMEs should be agile and constantly reinvent their business models in order to meet evolving customer needs.

  • Celebrate success – business owners often mistakenly focus on challenges and negatives when reviewing their performance and goals.

“It is equally important to acknowledge and celebrate the business successes for both yourself and staff. Not only does it boost morale, but reassures you that you are doing something right and it also motivates everyone. Moreover, the successes can be replicated and improved to steer the business for further growth,” says Weinberg.

“Lastly, once you’ve reviewed performance for the past year, it is essential to set new goals for the year ahead. This should involve reviewing or updating your original Business Plan to ensure that it is still relevant,” he concludes.

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Africa’s Top 10 Tech Start-Ups Selected For #Africa4Future Accelerator Programme

Airbus and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have announced the top 10 African tech start-ups that will take part in the latest Airbus Bizlab #Africa4Future accelerator programme. They were selected after an open public pitch event in front of experts, potential investors, the media and other stakeholders in Kenya’s capital city.

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#Africa4Future is a joint business accelerator initiative of Airbus and GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa initiative together with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a non-profit seed fund and pan-African organisation that brings together startups, entrepreneurs and the tech community, and Innocircle, the South African-based innovation consultancy.

The top 10 start-ups were selected from 314 entries representing 19 African countries that were received when the challenge was opened last October. These were assessed by a panel of Airbus and other independent experts.

The programme aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship in Africa. The continent’s young and increasingly techno-savvy population is likely to be the driving force behind Africa’s socio-economic development. The competition identifies Africa’s own pool of talented entrepreneurs using innovative aerospace based solutions to tackle the continent’s most pressing challenges such as transportation, agriculture and healthcare.

As a global aerospace accelerator, Airbus BizLab is ideally suited to help African startups transform innovative ideas into viable and valuable businesses. In doing so, it increases the aerospace industry’s engagement with hardware and software innovators and entrepreneurs in Africa while helping to nurture the establishment of competitive entrepreneurial ecosystems on the continent.

The Nairobi event kicks off an intensive 6-month business incubation and accelerator programme involving technical, commercial and mentorship activities in France, Germany and South Africa. This includes workshops and coaching sessions with Airbus experts, GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa, MEST and Innocircle coaches.

The programme will culminate with Demo Day events at the biennial Paris International Airshow and a special event in Germany from 19-26 June, when finalists will launch their products, define their collaboration with Airbus and announce their investment commitments in front of representatives from across the aerospace industry.

Related: How To Start A Business With No Money

Finalists:

1. Astral Aerial (Kenya) – using drones for humanitarian cargo transport, surveillance and emergency response.

2. Cote d’Ivoire drone (Ivory Coast) – locally-manufactured drones for various applications.

3. Elemental Numerics (South Africa) – applies computational fluid dynamics techniques to the design of machines and components, ranging from aircraft to heart valves.

4. Lentera Limited (Kenya) – applying remote sensors to monitor and transmit environmental data to enable more efficient and smarter farming.

5. Maisha ICT Tech PLC (Ethiopia) – deploying locally built drones for delivering medicines, blood and healthcare items to remote and rural areas.

6. MamaBird (Malawi) – provides a platform to help Governments, NGOs and other organisations deliver vital life-saving supplies to remote communities.

7. Map Action (Mali) – a solution offering real-time online urban mapping to identify problems affecting water supplies, hygiene and sanitation.

8. MobiTech Water Solutions (Kenya) – an online real-time water monitoring solution that allows businesses, homes and water-service providers to manage their available water using an app-based dashboard and instant messaging.

9. Track Your Build (Nigeria) – a novel infrastructure management tool for construction and operations.

10.WiPo Wireless Power (South Africa) – offers reliable and convenient wireless power chargers for businesses, conference centres, airports, restaurants and other venues for the charging of mobile devices, laptops and drones.

Related: 21 Steps To Start-Up Success

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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.”

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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.”

Tourism

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.

Related: Government Funding And Grants For Small Businesses

Manufacturing

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.

Agriculture

“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.” 

Related: 9 Ways To Elevate Your Small Business To The Next 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.

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