Seed Academy provides fast-track and practical training and mentoring to startups and early phase entrepreneurs. The focus is on the tech space but other ideas which are scalable are also considered. Seed Academy is also strongly committed to the development of women entrepreneurs.
Says Lara Rosmarin, CEO of Seed Academy, “We provide practical training by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, targeting their specific needs to help them realise their idea and grow their business. We want our participants to succeed, so our relationship continues up to 18 months after the course ends. We create course content around an entrepreneur’s specific needs. The material is neither theoretical nor academic and the training is carried out by entrepreneurs who have built their own businesses. They know what works.”
The practical sessions are presented once a week over ten weeks between and 6pm and 9pm, as not to interfere with an entrepreneur’s working day.
Rosmarin continues, “Throughout the programme we aim to nurture, develop and train the skill sets mind sets, attitudes and behaviours of potential high growth entrepreneurs and provide them with access to their next growth checkpoints. These include personal and leadership development, sound business skills, a business plan and pitching skills.”
Says Jermain Kallideen, CEO of Kallideen Technologies who attended Seed Academy, “I would strongly recommend Seed Academy to people at an early stage of their business. The programme helped my business dramatically. Six months after completion, Seed Academy arranged for me to pitch to Microsoft BizSpark which I got into. Microsoft has introduced me to critical contacts and we are selling more thanks to Seed Academy.”
Nonqaba Stamper of FundBabies who also completed the training comments: “I met other entrepreneurs facing many of the same challenges that I faced. We were also guided by other entrepreneurs. The course highlighted many aspects that new entrepreneurs don’t know about.”
The Think Be Do Programme delivers success by tackling three aspects:
- Think: The mindset required to succeed, coupled with the knowledge necessary to make it happen.
- Be: The entrepreneurs’ belief in themselves and their ideas; how to keep going and how to make an impression.
- Do: The practical steps that need to be taken to carry a business through to success. How to solve problems, take risks, communicate, understand technology and get things done.
South Africa’s first startup survey
Seed Academy has developed South Africa’s first start up survey to get a national picture of startup entrepreneurs, what challenges they face, what issues relate to funding, what sort of additional support is needed to increase success rates.
According to Jeff Miller, chairman of Seed Academy, “We hope to get up to 1000 responses and we will share our findings. This national survey will develop impetus for industry and government to align efforts to create a more sustainable and successful startup culture in South Africa. It’s essential that we succeed to create an economically successful country and to reduce our high unemployment rate.”
The survey, which targets startup entrepreneurs who have been in business for less than five years, should take about five minutes to complete here. Those that participate could win one of three places at Seed Academy’s entrepreneur training programme valued at R48 000.
The results will be revealed at Seed Engine’s SA Entrepreneur Funding Summit 2015. This one day summit will involve all stakeholders in the SA entrepreneur funding ecosystem and will come up with practical ideas to enhance, grow and develop the funding networks for entrepreneurs in South Africa.
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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