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R6.5 Million Fund For Cape Innovators

Innovation in the Western Cape is set to get another healthy boost, with the announcement today (Friday, 14 October 2016) that designers, inventors, entrepreneurs and product developers can apply for grants of up to half a million Rands each from the second round of the Design Innovation Seed Fund (DISF).

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The DISF is a project of the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) with investment and management funds respectively provided by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

The Fund is inviting individuals and SMME’s in this round to apply with pre-revenue innovative technologies and tech-enabled ideas and products with the potential to positively impact the agri-processing, health and bio-tech, and the manufacturing sectors.

Launched in 2014 as a World Design Capital project, the first round of seed funding was allocated to develop 12 innovative Western Cape ideas. These 12 were selected from a pool of 151 applications.

The grants were used for a large range of activities, including developing prototypes, producing market samples, undertaking market research and investigating intellectual property rights. All of the beneficiaries have made significant advances in developing their innovations and have moved to the next stage where they are either prototyping, doing market testing with clients; or going to market.

The 12 participants are already proving the value of the investment with the registration of IP for three new products; the creation of 18 new jobs and a collective turnover of over R2.4m in the past six months from the early stages of marketing their new products/services. Three businesses are showing a market potential of over R7m collectively for the next twelve months.

Related: Uzenzele Holdings Unpacks The How And Where Of Business Funding

Erica Elk, Executive Director of the CCDI, said that the DISF has shown that the right funding at the right time put to the right use can have a tremendous impact on small businesses and help them turn ideas into reality.

”Ideas are a dime a dozen; everyone has them. But it’s a whole other story to be able to bring your ideas to life. It takes time and resources – not just money. It is a process that is full of twists, turns and challenges, and you need to be passionate, resilient and tenacious. The Seed Fund has given these innovators and entrepreneurs a little bit of breathing space and an opportunity to flex their muscles – which is all they really needed to take their next steps.

“More importantly though, we didn’t just give them the money. We walked beside them every step of the way over the two years providing support, advice and access to additional expertise when they needed it.”

She added that the DISF and other fund projects have enabled the CCDI to develop exceptional systems, capacity and networks to effectively manage funds, both in the design and other sectors. Another recent CCDI success has been the investment of R14.5m, over three years, made into 45 companies as part of its first Jobs Fund project.

These businesses collectively created 464 new jobs in the process doubling in size and turnover. These fund implementation successes have led CCDI to launch its own SMME investment vehicle, CCDI Capital, which will be managing the second round of seed funding and a second Jobs Fund project it hopes to launch later this year.

The DISF is open to: Western Cape based early-stage small and medium enterprises/entrepreneurs/researchers; Students at Western Cape tertiary institutions as long as the institution does not already have an Intellectual Property claim to the product/service; Pre-revenue businesses in incubation or entering incubation; or Existing SMEs with a new products/innovation that is still pre-revenue.

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Related: Now You Have Funding, Use It Wisely To Grow And Scale Your Business

Applicants to the DISF need to show enough evidence of innovation in design, technology and/or its application; market appetite or sufficient evidence of market potential or competitive advantage; and a management team able to drive the process.

The business, product or concept must have a knowledge focus and should include technological innovation or design. The business should not be able to raise funds easily from traditional banks or funding agencies because of the risks involved.

Strong preference will be given to businesses with at least 25% black ownership and/or good job creation potential. Entrepreneurs must match 20% of the funding in cash or in-kind contributions.

Saberi Marais, Head of Seed Funding at TIA, says that DISF has made a significant impact on the local early stage funding landscape.

“Seed funding such as the DISF assists recipients to inform their opportunities by building prototypes and validating their assumptions around the technical and market-related challenges. Entrepreneurs at this stage have traditionally faced challenges when it comes to access to funding. The other challenge that DISF helps recipients overcome is that of non-financial support and mentorship – this has also proven to be of great help to recipients,” said Marais.

Marais added that partnerships such as this one with the CCDI and DEDAT are extremely valuable. “Now that the model and partnership has been demonstrated to work, we have to focus on ramping the potential impact the programme could have in relevant economic development sectors locally. We need co-funders and follow-on-funders to come onboard and support the entrepreneurs who have commercially feasible opportunities.”

Related: Gearing Up For Funding Applications: What Does It Take For A Small Business To Be Funding-Ready?

Alan Winde, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Economic Opportunities, said that innovation was a key economic enabler.

“As the fourth industrial revolution starts to shake up the world, we need to embrace innovation in our approach. That is why we support initiatives like this fund. Some of the businesses and ideas developed through the first DISF have the potential to go global.

“We have an ecosystem taking shape here at the southern tip of Africa because of programmes like this, because of the environment we are in, and because of the mindset of young people coming into the system. I encourage every person with an innovative idea in the focus areas to apply. This is an excellent platform to take your idea or business to a new level.”

Applications close on 04 November 2016. Visit www.ccdicapital.co.za to apply.

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Amaphiko Academy Calls For Innovative Change Makers

Applications must be submitted by 6PM on 30 November 2018. Only South African citizens or residents will be considered.

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The world is constantly experiencing a myriad social problems and is thus always in need of strong innovators to bring about changes and fresh solutions.  Red Bull Amaphiko Academy is searching for new, innovative social change makers for 2019. Applications to be part of the Amaphiko Academy will be open between 01 October and 31 November 2018.

The Academy gives a platform to entrepreneurs who use their skills, talents and energy to solve social problems. The Red Bull Amaphiko program gives a platform to innovators who are transforming their communities through sustainable, socially-minded, grassroots solutions to make a bigger impact.

The Academy, which was launched in South Africa in 2014, has been home to over 50 participants over the past five years.  It has expanded to another 20 countries around the world. 2019 Will see four Red Bull Amaphiko Academies launch worldwide. The Academy inspires and enables social entrepreneurs to make a difference by giving them access to networks, information, skills, opportunities and exposure.

“Exposure to a broader international network of Amaphiko SEs and various specialists opened endless opportunities and gave me the most memorable lessons in my journey as an entrepreneur. By exposing me to a larger social network, Red Bull challenged me to expand my vision. Through it all I learnt that the calling to be a change maker fulfils more than just the financial goal. It is for the greater good of humanity.” Says Murendeni Mapfumo, Kusini Water co-founder and 2017 Red Bull Amaphiko graduate.

Related: Learning Innovation Africa To Showcase How Our Continent’s Learning Is Being ‘Uber’ed

The Academy, which takes 16 Social Entrepreneurs per cycle, starts with a ten-day residency program. It is then followed by 18 months of mentorship, coaching and expert guidance, helping entrepreneurs develop their enterprises and business acumen.

South Africa’s 2019 Red Bull Amaphiko Academy will take place in Durban between 16 and 26 May. Durban is one of South Africa’s biggest cities, and a hotbed of innovation and talent. Red Bull Amaphiko is looking for innovative, inspiring people to be part of this wonderful journey.

If you fancy yourself to be a creative social entrepreneur with a strong innovative edge, please log onto https://www.redbull.com/za-en/events/Amaphiko-Academy-Applications-2019/Red-Bull-Amaphiko-2019-Apply-NOW

Applications must be submitted by 6PM on 30 November 2018. Only South African citizens or residents will be considered.

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The Moldova Citizenship-by-Investment Program Is Officially Open To Applicants

The MCBI program, with its highly competitive pricing structure, will appeal to those who are not necessarily looking to relocate but who would like to secure a ‘plan B’ or expanded traveling access for themselves and their families.

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The Moldova Citizenship-by-Investment (MCBI) program — the latest and most exciting new investment migration opportunity in Europe — has been officially launched and is now accepting applications. Henley & Partners, global leaders in residence and citizenship planning – in partnership with its consortium partner, the Moldovan Investment Company – are assisting the Government of the Republic of Moldova in designing, implementing, and internationally promoting the much-anticipated MCBI program.

Amanda Smit, Director, Head of Henley & Partners Central, Eastern and Southern Africa, says of the Moldova program: “The launch of this prestigious new European program is momentous in the investment migration community as it boosts the industry’s relevance and value. The MCBI program offers investors a foothold in Europe and access to one of the fastest growing commercial hubs in the region, while also giving Moldova the chance to attract much-needed foreign direct investment and a set of highly qualified and carefully vetted new citizens.”

His Excellency Chiril Gaburici, the Minister of Economy and Infrastructure for the Government of Moldova, provides insight into the program’s origins: “The MCBI program has been specifically developed with the Moldovan people in mind. Our country has come a very long way over the past few years, and many of our most important industries are today thriving and growing. Now, in order to take the next step forward in our economic development, and also support the social wellbeing of all Moldovans, we need to welcome innovative new ways of generating capital. The MCBI program is part of this future-focused approach.”

Related: Enterprise Development Programmes For Black Entrepreneurs

The MCBI program requires applicants to make a defined economic contribution to the country through its Public Investment Fund. In exchange, and subject to a stringent vetting and due diligence process, applicants and their families are granted full citizenship rights that are transferrable without restrictions to future generations. They also gain a passport that facilitates travel access to 122 destinations around the world, including Russia, Turkey, and the countries in Europe’s Schengen Area.

The Moldovan passport is in fact one of the highest historical climbers on the Henley Passport Index, having ascended an impressive 20 places since 2008. The Moldovan Government is working hard to continue this upward trend and has already signed several visa-waiver agreements with foreign countries this year, further boosting the power of the Moldovan passport.

Smit elaborates on the program offering: “The attractiveness of the MCBI program lies in the country’s unique geographic position at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and its robust passport strength, combined with the genuine affordability and accessibility of the program. Moldova is a high-growth, high-potential European country, with strong economic and diplomatic ties with the EU, and many individuals around the world want to be part of its current and future successes. Certainly, Henley & Partners is proud to be a partner to this remarkable nation, whose citizenship-by-investment program is set to redefine the European investment migration landscape.”

Henley & Partners has recently recorded an upsurge of 229% year-on-year in South Africans applying for alternative citizenship, mostly looking into European states such as Malta and Cyprus. South Africa is currently ranked 52nd on the Henley Passport Index, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 102 destinations. This marked increase in applications can be attributed to a growing recognition of the need for global mobility. The MCBI program, with its highly competitive pricing structure, will appeal to those who are not necessarily looking to relocate but who would like to secure a ‘plan B’ or expanded traveling access for themselves and their families.

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Entrepreneur Today

Engen Learn Programme Provides Critical Life-skills

The Engen Learn programme has receive numerous national awards, including an award from Apple for innovation, the Future of HR Best Learning and Development Strategy award in 2017, and a Directors Best Choice nomination for the same award in 2018.

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Engen, in collaboration with FUEL Online Training, has delivered a record 3.5 million training interventions to Engen forecourt attendants around the country since its inception in 2013.

The training focuses on job skills and competencies related to customer service as well as critical life-skills which can be accessed via an iPad training app.

Community support material created for Engen staff includes basic first aid, drug and alcohol abuse prevention and understanding money management.

The programme has also offered 640 000-education interventions concerning people living with HIV, which still affects millions of South African families.

“We are very excited by the level of success achieved by our programme. The Engen sites that implemented Engen Learn have delivered increased customer satisfaction,” says Retail Training Academy Manager, Renee Kemm.

The Engen Learn programme has receive numerous national awards, including an award from Apple for innovation, the Future of HR Best Learning and Development Strategy award in 2017, and a Directors Best Choice nomination for the same award in 2018.

“This a ground breaking solution which, if nurtured, has the power to be a truly transformative force in South Africa. Our reach allows us to directly inspire thousands of employees, who in turn are empowered to impact on their families and communities,” adds Kemm.

Related: How Does One Start a Petrol Station in South Africa?

Below are some comments received via survey from service station staff about Engen Learn:

  • “Ever since the introduction of Engen Learn I learnt so much and not only about the industry but am happy to say am now debt free because I followed what I learned here.”
  • “When I started as a Cashier it was just a job. The Engen Learn modules about the history of Engen fascinated me. Today, even the President, is not as happy as I am in my job. All thanks to a simple app.”
  • “Engen Learn has taught me to be strong and resourceful manager and it has given me some powerful life lesson especially when it comes to budgeting and being a responsible person in life.”
  • “I have learned to identify someone who uses substances. I learned how to budget. I have learned how to deal with someone who is HIV positive.”

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