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Shell Launches Smarter Energy Collaboration To Help Further Develop Cleaner Energy Solutions For Communities

To support innovation and entrepreneurship locally, Shell South Africa leverages Shell LiveWIRE, a global social investment programme, which enables young people to start their own businesses and create employment in communities.

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The Shell #Makethefuture campaign is highlighting the need for greater global collaboration to create more and cleaner energy solutions, by helping to bring to life innovations from six smart energy start-ups.

Technologies from the bright energy businesses will be showcased in Rio de Janeiro’s Santa Marta community this month, before they are installed in communities that require urgent access to cleaner energy.

The entrepreneurs’ innovations are being brought together in Santa Marta as it is benefitting from an installation by Insolar, a solar energy start-up that is one of the featured entrepreneurs being supported by Shell.

Insolar is fitting photovoltaic panels to some of Santa Marta’s most widely used community centres, including a samba school and crèche, which are central to the life of the community’s 8,000 residents.

Young Brazilian entrepreneur Henrique Drumond who founded Insolar sees the project as a significant step in his mission to help to bring cleaner energy to Brazil, where solar accounts for only 0.02 per cent of the energy mix, with only 1,731 small-scale solar systems connected to its grid – despite more than 2,000 hours of sunlight blazing on the country each year.

Related: Become A Green Power Expert With Ellies Electronics

In Rio alone, an estimated 1.4 million residents of the city’s 763 favelas are affected by rising energy prices and unreliable power supply.

The Insolar installation is expected to generate the equivalent of 185,000 days of free, clean power over the lifetime of the solar panels.

Showcasing bright energy technologies in Rio kick-starts a global ‘energy relay’ to show collaboration with leading energy entrepreneurs is vital to help to secure a bright energy future, and to invite the world to support and participate in the creation of smart energy solutions.

The innovations that will be displayed in Santa Marta alongside Insolar include:

  • bio-bean – which explores how to reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions from transport by turning coffee dregs into a sustainable transport fuel,
  • Capture Mobility – demonstrates how roadside turbulence from cars and trucks can generate clean power for local communities,
  • GravityLight – improves health and wellbeing in energy deprived communities by using a simple   pulley and weight system to generate electricity,
  • MotionECO – uses waste cooking oil to help to create a market for renewable diesel in China (in transport, public services and logistics) and discourage the harmful reuse of cooking oil, and
  • Pavegen – converts power from footsteps into renewable energy that can power a community

Joining the #makethefuture movement as ambassadors are six award-winning international musicians: Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, Brazilian singer Luan Santana, British performer

Pixie Lott, American DJ/Producer Steve Aoki, China’s pop star Tan WeiWei and Nigerian idol Yemi Alade.

The artists are uniting with the energy entrepreneurs and Shell to help shine a light on the worldwide need for access to more and cleaner energy.

A new interactive music video will also showcase each of the smart energy innovations.

Shell and the ambassadors are inviting people to show support for the Insolar project to help bring solar power to communities and homes in Brazil. You can sign the pledge by visiting www.shell.com/showyoursupport.

Proceeds from sales of Luan Santana’s latest DVD, 1977, will go towards the Insolar project to help to fund the installation of more solar panels in low-income communities.

Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said: “I’m personally inspired by the ingenuity of these innovators, and the ambition to forge a brighter energy future for our planet. Collaboration and entrepreneurialism are essential to finding energy solutions that can enable development and a decent way of life for people across the world while reducing carbon dioxide emissions. These values are central to our #makethefuture campaign to help achieve a better energy future together.”

Related: Greening South Africa will Create Jobs

Insolar director Henrique Drumond said: “My vision was to create a social enterprise that provides communities with a cleaner source of energy. On my journey through the Shell programmes that support entrepreneurs, including Shell Iniciativa Jovem, and the Accelerator, the company has always supported this vision. I am thrilled to see this collaboration brought to life in Rio. We hope Santa Marta will be an inspiration to other bright minds and unlock more answers to tomorrow’s energy challenges in communities, cities and countries around the world.”

The launch of the global ‘energy relay’ will be celebrated on September 28 with some of the #makethefuture ambassadors performing a series of concerts at the heart of the Santa Marta community, during which the music video for the Best Day of My Life will be premiered.

In October, #makethefuture will move on to Kenya, where Shell is working with GravityLight – a UK-based start-up that has developed a gravity-powered lamp designed to improve health and wellness across Kenya by bringing clean, affordable light to low income homes.

The concert celebrating #makethefuture in Santa Marta and the Best Day of My Life music video will be available on September 28 via facebook.com/Shell.

Jennifer Hudson said: “We all face moments of adversity in life and, often times, it’s simply the hand one has been dealt. But there is so much that we can do to support one another as a unified force and that is just one of the many reasons why I’m supporting the Santa Marta community. My son David turned seven this year, and I want him to grow up and inherit a planet where everyone is working together on one accord for the greater good.”

Luan Santana added: “I am honoured to be one of the six artists participating in this project. I’m committed to make my voice echo Shell and the entrepreneurs’ social action. Music produces an exchange of energy between audience and artist, and I hope #makethefuture rocks the five continents as it takes its energy relay around the world.”

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Fintech Hackathon To Support South Africa’s Entrepreneurs

Xero hosts South African developer technology challenge – and appoints a new General Country Manager.

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 Xero, the global leader in online accounting software has today launched a national competition, to put South Africa’s growing fintech industry firmly on the map. To mark the start of the developer technology challenge, Xero has also announced the appointment of Colin Timmis as Country Manager for South Africa, to take Xero forward.

Launched with Amazon Web Services, the virtual hackathon will enable the region’s technology entrepreneurs to compete with other forward thinking developers on a global scale. To take part, they need to develop an app that can sit within the Xero’s global ecosystem of over 600 apps.

As announced last night at an exclusive event in Johannesburg, the winner will receive R62,720 and the opportunity to attend and exhibit their app at Xerocon the world’s largest conference for over 3,000 accountants and bookkeepers, taking place in London in November.

Related: How The SA Government Can Help Small Businesses Thrive

Xero, which first launched in South Africa in May 2016, is now one of the fastest growing software companies globally, with 1.4 million subscribers around the world. In South Africa, the company is currently supporting tens of thousands of local small businesses, and a substantial support network of accountants. The competition marks the first in a series of Xero-led initiatives created for the South African tech community, as it continues to help more businesses and their advisors thrive.

“Since Xero first set foot in South Africa, I’ve been really impressed by the strong entrepreneurial spirit amongst the small business community. It’s really important that they are supported in the right way; and given space to pursue their best ideas and to grow. That’s why it’s time to open up our global developer competition to a South African audience. Those that have won it elsewhere have instantly been able to propel their business, and compete at a global scale,” said Gary Turner, Managing Director, Xero EMEA.

To support its continued growth in South Africa, Xero has promoted Colin Timmis, to Country Manager. Previously Head of Accounting at Xero SA, he brings a wealth of experience and skill to his new role. Before arriving at Xero, Colin founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice, Real Time Accounting, in 2011 – becoming Xero’s first Global Gold Partner in 2013, and its third fastest growing partner in the global territory by 2014.

“With over 12 years of experience in the accounting profession, promoting Colin to Country Manager will accelerate adoption of Xero in South Africa.” said Gary Turner: “His experience in cloud accounting, software implementation, development, integration and best practice is peerless. He’s already done great work for us during our market entry phase and I can’t wait to see how together we can help more and more South African small businesses realise the benefits of cloud-based accounting.”

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Breaking Down Borders – Top Considerations For SMEs Expanding Into Africa

In light of Africa Day on the 25th of May, more South African small and medium enterprise (SME) owners should be encouraged to look at how they could expand their operations into the rest of the continent.

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In light of Africa Day on the 25th of May, more South African small and medium enterprise (SME) owners should be encouraged to look at how they could expand their operations into the rest of the continent.

This is according to Mark Paper, Chief Operating Officer at Business Partners International (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that Africa has for long been regarded as a region with untapped economic opportunity. “The African Development Bank1 reports that the economic growth in Africa is set to accelerate to 4.1% over the course of 2018 and 2019, which can potentially yield benefits for SMEs.”

Paper points out that entrepreneurs should however firstly consider that each of Africa’s 54 countries represents a unique market with differing challenges and intricacies for doing business.

“The various economies, laws, languages and cultures need to be thoroughly assessed as part of the entrepreneur’s expansion plan, which should be structured around the target region’s strengths, weaknesses, potential opportunities and threats.”

Related: Expansion Funding Options For Your Growing Business

He says that once the enterprise is ready to start operations in a specific region, the entrepreneur needs to ensure that the regulatory requirements of the region are adhered to.  “It is crucial to conduct due diligence and understand all relevant regulations. Most of the companies that make mistakes during this phase find themselves facing massive fines or potentially devastating legal action further down the line.”

According to Paper, the information that should be at the entrepreneur’s fingertips include the required permits, business and property registration processes, credit requirements, tax legislation, labour market regulations, and local content requirements.

He adds that the entrepreneur should also know which laws are in place to protect foreign investors. “Developing robust contracts and using local attorneys to ensure that contracts can be enforced under local laws is therefore imperative.”

Next, Paper says that it is essential to have a strong local presence, knowledge of the local market, and an understanding of customer expectations. “Employing workers from the region can potentially be one of the best ways to support the company’s operations. It will not only benefit the business and its reputation, but the local economy too.”

He notes that finding the right employees, creating cohesive teams and implementing skills training within the organisation relies heavily on understanding the culture of the region, and being able to effectively work around the potential language barriers. “It could help to consult local human resources firms and hiring agencies with strong track records in the region.”

Another point for entrepreneurs to consider, is whether the country has reliable electricity supply, says Paper.

“Electricity supply continues to be a challenge in various countries, and there are many regions that only receive electricity from their national power grids for a few hours per day. Where necessary, the entrepreneur will need to budget for the installation of generators, or even consider signing contracts with mobile fast-track power suppliers who can operate and maintain their own generators on the business’s property.”

Related: Thinking Of Cross-Border Expansion? Consider This First

While entrepreneurs need to consider a number of aspects when expanding across borders, he adds that the rewards for getting it correct are significant, and that the perceived challenges should not deter entrepreneurs from taking the leap, rather serving as a reminder of the amount of research that should be conducted beforehand.”

“Africa is open for business. All it takes is enough drive, passion and perseverance to tap into its growing markets,” Paper concludes.

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President Ramaphosa To Address SA’s Biggest Board Meeting, The Directors Event

President Cyril Ramaphosa will be delivering a keynote address at The Directors event on 8 June 2018, at the Sandton Convention Centre.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa will be delivering the keynote address at South Africa’s biggest board meeting, The Directors Event, which will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre on 8 June 2018.  Dr Jabu Mabuza, Chairman of Business Leadership South Africa will deliver this year’s Chairman’s Report.

Now in its fourth year, The Directors Event invites industry leaders to unpack three issues of national importance and discuss solutions in a public forum, moderated by highly-respected media personalities.

Youth employment & entrepreneurship, the use of technology to promote inclusive growth, and our political economy will be hot topics in this year’s highly focussed discussion programme which attracts participation from the country’s most prominent business and government leaders, and an audience of 300 ‘board member’ delegates.

“We are honoured to have President Ramaphosa address this important gathering of some of the top minds in South Africa. We invited him as a response to the call he made during his maiden State of the Nation Address earlier this year, calling on all South Africans, in their small corners, to help develop this country. We believe, strongly, that corporate South Africa has a massive role to play and we are very excited that everyone seems to have accepted the President Ramaphosa’s “Thuma Mina” call,” says Bongani Siqoko, editor of the Sunday Times.

Nontokozo Madonsela, Chief Marketing Officer of MMI, the JSE listed holding company for Momentum, Metropolitan and other financial services providers says, “We are incredibly honoured and excited that President Cyril Ramaphosa will be delivering the keynote address at this year’s Biggest Board Meeting. Over the past few months, we have experienced a wave of change in the country that has brought with it much needed confidence in what we can achieve. As a company with deep roots in South Africa serving a broad spectrum of citizens and businesses, we are heeding the President’s call to lend a hand in addressing our challenges. We are saying #CountUsIn, we want to be there. We believe this platform creates a space where we can have constructive dialogue and come up with concrete solutions that can positively contribute to improving the state our country”.

Related: President Ramaphosa’s Support Of Entrepreneurs And SMEs In SONA Had Us Cheering

President Ramaphosa will be the highest ranking government official to address The Directors Event with his keynote message.  Previous keynote speakers at The Directors Event have included Caroline Galvan (Lead Economist & Editor: Africa Competitiveness Report for the World Economic Forum), and Mcebisi Jonas (Former Deputy Minister of Finance).

Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, Minister of Science & Technology, and Enoch Godongwana, Chairperson of the ANC sub-committee on Economic Transformation will also be representing the perspectives of Government and the governing party during the round-table discussions at this year’s event.


The Directors Event programme is tailored for corporates, SMEs, educators, and non-profit organisations who are serious about turning South Africa’s socio-economic crisis around.

The Directors Event will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre on 8 June 2018.  To view the 2018 agenda, speaker profiles, or to book tickets: www.thedirectorsevent.co.za 

The Directors Event brought to you by the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies and MMI Holdings Limited, is supported by partners Mancosa (GSB), the Institute of Directors (IoD SA), and Greymatter & Finch.

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