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South African Venture Capital Company Launches To Help Local Start-Ups Take Off, Globally

Helping start-ups to take off, a group of successful South African entrepreneurs, today launched something the country has never seen before: a Venture Capital (VC) company that doesn’t just invest in early stage start-ups, but personally nurtures them through each phase of their business growth cycle, with the aim of scaling them in readiness for entry to international markets.

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Helping start-ups to take off, a group of successful South African entrepreneurs, today launched something the country has never seen before: a Venture Capital (VC) company that doesn’t just invest in early stage start-ups, but personally nurtures them through each phase of their business growth cycle, with the aim of scaling them in readiness for entry to international markets.

Called FUTURENEERS™, this pioneering company will bring select start-ups together with capital and the necessary management and professional support services, to get them to where they need to go. In addition to this, FUTURENEERS™ (and the chosen start-ups), will be supported by mentors who will not only guide them, but also connect them to opportunities locally as well as abroad.

In so doing, the company will be filling the current gap that exists after early angel investors exit, to where start-ups require an additional injection of capital and experience, to achieve recurring revenue generation.  It is also capitalising on the rise of emerging-market technologies, usually born out of necessity, that are finding resonance in more established markets.

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Related: Is Your Business Fundable? Venture Capitalist Clive Butkow’s Shares His Priceless Insights

Having built unquestionably impressive track records across the globe as both entrepreneurs and investors, the team behind FUTURENEERS™ believe the death of real deal-flow in SA can be attributed primarily to perceptions of risk. Since South African investors often lack the time, knowledge and resources to screen, manage and grow promising start-ups, they tend to invest in more mature, post-revenue businesses.

Heading the group is Johannes (Jo) Booysen, best known as founder of Yonder Media (acquired by WPP’s Group M in 2015) the B-One Group (currently owned by Steinhoff Group) and Hot Dog Café Group.  He’s joined by the likes of ex Price Waterhouse Coopers Partner Jaco Gerber, and Cipla Nutrition co-founder Deon Lewis.

And, because it is all about the people who make the businesses fly, backing the founding team is a powerhouse advisory board of ‘FUTURENEERS™.’  Part of that carefully selected and patriotic group keen to plough expertise back into South Africa’s start-up landscape is Los Angeles-based Brent Cohen.

Brent’s extensive experience ranges from Internet start-ups to high-growth companies, turnarounds, raising capital and IPOs, as well as mergers and acquisitions in the global technology sector. Perhaps best known for his 12 years at the helm of Packard Bell – where they achieved the distinction of attaining #1 market share worldwide – Brent has an equally impressive record in Venture Capital, also having optimised and exited a Softbank Capital and Texas Pacific Group portfolio company with over $1b. in proceeds.

Sharing Cohen’s vision and support for the company’s endeavours, and with similarly imposing track records, start-ups will have the benefit from guidance of local advisors such as the likes of Gustav Praekelt of the Praekelt Foundation, Martin Venter of Val de Vie and Derek White of the Clearwater Group, to name but a few.

FUTURENEERS™ will be addressing the problems that exist in the current South African VC ecosystem and has developed some unique characteristics to help them do so, which are exciting investors and start-ups alike:

Global Bridge

Strategic partnerships in the US, UK, India, China, Australia and Israel, have facilitated the formation of a unique, multi-channel conduit for information, services and capital, aptly named the ‘Global Bridge’.

Accesses to professional services

Start-ups entering the FUTURENEERS™ programme gain unrivalled access to world-class service providers through a one-stop-shop environment.

Holistic Analysis Matrix

Before investments are reviewed and approved by the Investment Committee, they are rigorously screened and vetted against very stringent criteria.

Proven success

Each member of the Management Team and Advisory Board have either started businesses, worked for large corporations, developed them, and then either exited, and/or attracted major investment capital or continued to be market leaders in their field.

Tax Benefit for investors

A Venture Capital Company, in terms of Section 12J of the Income Tax Act, that will enable investors to deduct the full amount of their investment from their income in the tax year in which the investment is made.

Hands-on approach

With active, hands-on involvement in the day-to-day business of the selected start-ups, FUTURENEERS™ will groom and nurture these start-ups through acceleration and product refinement, preparing them to scale globally.

Related: How To Get Venture Capital

By directly addressing the reasons why start-ups fail, FUTURENEERS™ is significantly reducing the risk profile of these start-ups, and enabling solid business success, almost from the outset.

Booysen summed it up by saying: “The start-up space, and especially the technology sector, has always been an exciting place to be.  But today, more than ever – provided the risks are mitigated – it offers incredible returns. For us, the objective is simple: finding, nurturing and guiding the next Roelof Botha or Elon Musk, then introducing them to our influencer and funding networks around the world.

“With our ‘start-up machine’, international footprint and strategy, South African entrepreneurs and investors can experience what we believe is ‘real VC’ for the first time – financial support for early start-ups, professional services, and guaranteed access to a global ecosystem, along with all of the opportunities that this provides.”

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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Entrepreneur Today

3 Stealthy Tax Hikes Payroll Managers And Employees Need To Take Note Of

By Rob Cooper, tax expert at Sage, and chairman of the Payroll Authors Group of South Africa

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“Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.” 

The adage summarises the difficult decisions government and the Finance Minister faced when balancing the country’s books, rescuing state-owned enterprises, and reviving the growth of our economy. Given the economic pressure that most taxpayers are facing, government ideally needed to achieve all of that without direct increases to personal income tax in the most recent Budget Speech.

Personal income tax has comprised at least a third of South Africa’s total tax revenue in recent tax years, despite growing unemployment. The 2019 Budget, presented in February, forecasts that personal income tax will account for nearly 39% of tax collected during the upcoming (2019/20) tax year. Given that we are in an election year and that the tax base is fragile, it’s not surprising that the Finance Minister and the National Treasury avoided direct increases to the statutory tax tables used to calculate PAYE for employees in the budget.

Nonetheless, government has made inflation work in its favour to impose some tax increases by stealth. Here are three ways government is raising more revenue without direct tax increases:

1. Bracket creep

The statutory tax tables used by payrolls and employers have not been changed for 2019/20, nor have the brackets been adjusted for inflation. This effectively amounts to an indirect tax increase that will yield a revenue saving of approximately R12.8 billion for government’s coffers.

It is not unusual for government to use ‘bracket creep’ to effectively raise more revenue. But unlike previous tax years, even low- and middle-income earners are not getting much relief. Rebates and the tax threshold are being increased by small amounts to allow some relief, but many people this year will feel the pain as inflationary salary increases push them into a higher tax bracket.

2. Medical aid credit not adjusted for inflation 

As proposed in the 2018 Budget, the Finance Minister did not apply an inflationary increase to the Medical Tax Credit, which allowed him to raise an extra R1 billion in revenue for the year. Surprisingly, these funds will be allocated to general tax revenue rather than ring-fenced for healthcare. In previous tax years, revenue generated from below-inflation increases on medical scheme credits was used to fund National Health Insurance (NHI) pilot projects.

There is still no clarity on how the NHI is going to be funded except for a general statement that the funding model is a problem for the National Treasury to solve, and that the principles of cross-subsidisation will apply. One wonders if any real progress will be made soon, given the fiscal constraints government faces.

3. Business travel deduction left untouched

The Budget leaves the per-kilometre cost rates used to determine tax deductions for business travel untouched. By not increasing travel rates to account for inflation, government effectively increases income tax collection at the cost of the taxpayer. This will be a blow for people who need to claim from their employers for business travel in their personal vehicles. This change has slipped through largely unnoticed and the budget does not provide numbers for the expected increase in tax revenue.

Closing words

Amid political turmoil and uncertainty, the Finance Minister presented a balanced budget for 2019/20 that offers hope for the future along with some tough love. With government taking steps to accelerate economic growth and improve revenue collection, we should hopefully see a steady improvement in government finances, which will translate into less pressure on the taxpayer in future years.

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Entrepreneur Today

SMEs: Staying On The Right Side Of The Taxman

Remaining SARS compliant can be a constant challenge for small- to medium-enterprises (SMEs), especially when they are trying to focus on growing their businesses and streamlining their operations.

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EasyBiz Managing Director, Gary Epstein, says submitting taxes can be a seamless process that does not have to take up more time than is necessary. “If business owners understand what is required of them and they put a few processes into place to deal with their tax submissions properly, their lives will be so much easier.”

What are the top three considerations for SMEs when submitting tax returns?

“Firstly,” says Epstein, “SARS returns must be accurate and submitted in terms of the relevant Act. Secondly, returns should be submitted and paid on time to avoid unnecessary penalties and interest, and thirdly, business owners must follow up on queries issued by SARS. “Do not ignore these queries, act on them as soon as possible”.

What are the major SARS submission deadlines for SMEs?

Epstein points out that small business owners need to adhere to various tax deadlines, each with their own particular dates for submission. “It is important that business owners diarise the dates (and set advance reminders for themselves) and/or enlist the services of an accountant or financial adviser to help them keep abreast of requirements.”

Value-added tax (VAT)

VAT payments need to be submitted in the VAT period allocated to the business, according to various categories and ending on the last day of a calendar month. This may mean making payments once a month, once every two months, once every six months or annually, depending on the category.

Provisional taxes

Provisional tax should be submitted at the end of August (first provisional) and at the end of February (second provisional) – for February year-end companies.

Employee taxes

In addition to submitting an annual reconciliation (EMP501) for the period 1 March to end of February for Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), Skills Development Levy (SDL) and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), employee tax, in the form of an EMP201 return, needs to be submitted by the seventh of every month.

When can SMEs get extensions and is it worth it?

Epstein says SMEs can apply for various extensions, but these are subject to the Income Tax Act and Tax Administration Act.

“It is best for SMEs to consult their tax professionals to get advice regarding extensions for their businesses.”

What is SARS not flexible about?

SARS is not flexible when it comes to late returns and late payments.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for SME owners to ensure their tax returns are submitted on time. In this way, they will avoid the inconvenience and expense of additional fines and interest,” notes Epstein.

What skills do SMEs need in their organisations to be able to submit to SARS efficiently?

Business owners often don’t have the time or expertise to deal with tax submissions throughout the year. If the business cannot afford to employ a full-time accountant or financial services expert, it would do well to outsource its tax requirements to a registered tax practitioner.

“I would recommend that even if they are not submitting the tax returns themselves, business owners should have a broad understanding of the tax regulations and what is expected of them. There is a lot of helpful information on the various Acts and tax requirements on SARS’ website,” says Epstein.

How does the right software help SMEs remain SARS compliant?

SME’s (and their accountants’) jobs can be made easier by using reliable accounting software to calculate accurate VAT reports. These reports are only as accurate as the data entered into them, which means care needs to be taken when inputting data into the accounting programme. Epstein says a good accounting software package must be reliable, easy to use and functional.

“SMEs need to check that the software has thorough reporting capabilities and can interface with other software solutions. Of course, it is also important to find out whether the software is locally supported by the vendor or not.”

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Entrepreneur Today

4 Dangers Of Business Under-insurance

A common short-term insurance peril that many SMEs face when submitting a claim following an insured event is the risk of being underinsured.

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Malesela Maupa, Head of Products and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers says, many small business owners mistakenly believe that by merely having a short-term insurance policy in place they are adequately protected against unforeseen events.

“This is technically correct provided that the business is covered for the full replacement value of the items insured. However, in circumstances where the sum insured does not cover the full replacement value or material loss of the item insured, the business is underinsured,” explains Maupa, as he unpacks the dangers of business underinsurance:

1. Financial loss

The most common risk is financial loss on the part of the business. If the business is underinsured or the indemnity period understated, the short-term insurance policy will only pay out the sum insured for the stated indemnity period as stated in the schedule, with the business owner having to provide for the shortfall. This often leads to cash flow challenges, impacting profit margins or rendering it difficult for the business to recover following the financial loss.

2. Reputational damage

Should an underinsured business not have sufficient funds to replace a key business activity or critical component following a loss, this may impact its ability to fulfil its contractual obligations, leading to a loss of business or market share, and irreparable reputational damage in the worst-case scenario.

3. Legal action

A small business also faces the risk of customers or clients taking legal action against it, should it fail to deliver on goods and services following a loss or be unable to honour its financial commitments that they committed to prior to the loss.

4. Survival of the business

A catastrophic event such as fire, which could result in the loss of stock or company equipment and documentation, could threaten the survival of a small business that is not yet fully established, if the business assets are not adequately insured.

Working with an experienced short-term insurance broker or insurer is essential when taking up short-term insurance to ensure that business contents are covered for their full replacement value.

Furthermore, depending on the nature of the business or item insured, the policy should be reviewed on a regular basis to avoid underinsurance as the value of items often change overtime due to fluctuations in economic activity. Where it’s necessary, evaluation certificates need to be kept up to date.

“Lastly, SMEs should ensure that the sum insured does not exceed the replacement value, which would lead to over insurance. Should a business submit a claim following a loss, the insurer would only pay out the replacement value, regardless of the higher sum insured,” concludes Maupa.

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