Connect with us

Entrepreneur Today

Startupbootcamp Afritech Funnels Top African Tech Talent Into Investment And Corporate Pipelines

The Top 10 African innovators showcased to 200+ investors and corporate leaders at the annual Startupbootcamp AfriTech Demo Day where financial inclusion and mobility solutions were key themes driving 20 pilot agreements and generating €600 000 in funding to date.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

start-up-bootcamp

Closing off on its second year the accelerator programme, Startupbootcamp AfriTech, culminated with Demo Day where they showcased the next wave of African innovation with 10 start-ups at the cutting-edge of digital innovation taking to the stage.

Key announcements made to celebrate the culmination of the 13-week intensive accelerator programme included:

Multiple Pilot Agreements (PoCs) signed with the corporate sponsors

On stage, the startups announced multiple agreements that had been reached with corporates, investors and government entities. Digitech announced their partnership with SAHAM, the largest insurance company in West and Central Africa, servicing over 20 countries.

South African-grown solution, Lüla announced partnerships with several large corporate offices in the Cape Town area, who will now be using a Lula shuttle for employees. These corporates include Aurecon, V&A Waterfront, RCS and Old Mutual, with a collective employee base of 12 000+. The City of Cape Town is the most congested in South Africa and Lula aims to change that with their Mobility-as-a-Service platform (MaaS).

Related: How To Choose An Outsourcing Partner For Your Small Business

Mpost, a patented technology that enables any mobile phone user to transform their phone into a unique mobile postal address and mobile postal box. The team shared early pilot discussions in 4 African countries and demonstrated a Total Addressable Market at 450 million customers across the continent. They are in the process of closing multiple deals with both corporate and government entities. In 127 years, the Kenyan government has provided 400k postal addresses. In just 2 years, Mpost has provided 40 000 users with postal addresses and processed 22k deliveries.

Brandbookis a decentralised rewards programme that allows you to earn points by uploading any purchase receipt from any shop. They reported that their pilot conducted with Unilever result in 1000+ receipts being analysed with transactions amounting to R21 million in just 10 days. They announced a PoC with corporate leader and sponsor RCS.

Pagois mobile network operator driven online payments processor that enables any unbanked smart phone user to make payments online using airtime. They have integrated with Mastercard’s Masterpass API that enables users to pay online to 250 000+ merchants in Africa and 20 million merchants worldwide.

Akiba, a solution that is making it easier and more rewarding for the 6.7Million accessible tech-savvy millennials in SA to set, manage and meet their personal financial goals, announced a PoC with RCS.

Kudimoneyis making it possible to bank for free with no unnecessary fees, over the last 9 months, Kudimoney ran a beta version with 10 000 people that ended up saving more than $300 000 in goal-based savings. They have a waiting list of more than 30 000 users.

Partnership with Uprise Africa

Apart from the key startup announcements of the day, Startupbootcamp AfriTech themselves announced a new collaboration with Uprise Africa.

“Our Demo Day is about showcasing our incredible start-ups from this year’s cohort. And linking them to potential investors. As part of the focus of supporting startups, we are excited to announce our partnership with Uprise. Africa the first Equity Crowdfunding platform in SA to link great startups to alternative funding solutions,” announced Zachariah George, co-founder and CIO of Startupbootcamp AfriTech.

Related: 7 Factors That Influence Start-up Valuations

First time incubating a corporate start-up

“This year we validated that our accelerator can help corporates scale internal innovation capabilities and turn those into spin-out companies, like the startup Sizanani that participated in our accelerator programme,” shares Philip Kiracofe, CEO and Co-founder of SBC AfriTech.

The SBC Afritech 2018 startup cohort included for the first time, a corporate startup from Unilever. The company enrolled a small internal team with the aim to reignite “the founders’ mentality” into their innovation thinking as well as integrate a truly “lean start-up” approach to new product development. The agile startup Sizanani, a Stokvel solution for bulk buying, was created and is now only 10 weeks old and already a post-revenue startup post the accelerator.

 “We’re were very excited to be able to trial and pilot this approach to demonstrate that innovative corporations with the proper resources and the proper support can take internal ideas and develop that as innovation capability within the organisation,” said Kiracofe.

“The difference between being successful and being significant could not have been amplified more than in the founders of this year’s cohort. And we are so optimistic that that trend will continue to grow next year,” shared Zach George, CIO and Co-Founder of SBC AfriTech. “This year’s start-ups proved how important it is to not just be successful, but to be significant, to build solutions above and beyond yourself and your community – build a legacy.”

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.

Entrepreneur Today

Use The December Shutdown Period To Do Just That: Shut Down

by Greg Morris, CEO, Sebata Holdings

Entrepreneur

Published

on

closed-for-business

Most businesses – retail and entertainment excluded – resemble ghost towns during the first and last weeks of the year. Energy levels are low in December, and employees daydream about cocktails on the beach. Come January, it takes a few days to get back into the swing of things. Before we know it, South Africa takes another extended holiday in April.

We’re accused of having a “holiday culture” in South Africa. That’s a fair comment. We get 12 public holidays a year, which is more than most countries. And many people use their annual leave strategically in April and December to maximise their time off. As a result, we only really work for 10 months of the year, while other countries work for 11 months.

There’s no doubt that public holidays affect the economy. One extra public holiday in 2011 resulted in an estimated R7 billion loss in turnover. But there’s also a lot to be said for taking time off. And when we know the holidays are coming, we can prepare for them, so employees make the most of their downtime and start the new year on a strong footing.

Burnout is not good for business…

Productivity and motivation are like fuel tanks. While driving, the fuel dries up. At some point, we need to fill up, otherwise we’ll break down. People are the same; we can’t run on empty. Weekends are one thing, but in our culture of always-connected busyness, we don’t get a chance to recharge over weekends. That’s why we need the longer break in December.

A Pulse Institute study found that, when employees are not rested, they experience:

  • 23% reduced concentration
  • 18% reduced memory function
  • 9% increased difficulty in performing tasks

Fatigue-related productivity losses amount to R26,000 per employee per year. Sleeplessness can also result in mistakes and increased absenteeism, accidents, or injury.

Well-rested employees, however, are happier and more creative, engaged, and productive. They get more done in less time than their sleep-deprived, low-energy colleagues.

Related: Year-End Doesn’t Have To Be A Pain For Your Business

… but if you’re going to burn the midnight oil…

Businesses often think of December as a slow period that will harm the bottom line. Yes, it can be disruptive and there will be financial impacts. But if you’re going to keep the doors open til the end, this is the perfect time for internal housekeeping. Even the most efficient and streamlined businesses can improve some internal projects or processes.

Allow teams to be inwardly focused during this time, so that you start the new year with less to worry about. Whether that’s planning for 2019, reflecting on what worked and what didn’t in 2018, cleaning up databases, servicing air cons and office machines, connecting with customers over coffee, updating your website, or creating new marketing campaigns, employees can achieve a lot when they’re not focused on the day-to-day grind.

Our best ideas come to us when we’re relaxed and not thinking about them. (If you’ve ever scrawled on the steamed-up shower door, you’ve experienced downtime creativity.)

Make the most of skeleton staff time in December. Host fun creativity sessions that have nothing to do with work. Pay for your people to complete short online courses that will give them skills and motivation boosts. When they do go on holiday, perhaps their new knowledge will result in a major ‘a-ha moment’ around the family braai.

Gone fishing

My best advice for businesses that are shutting down in a few weeks is this: shut down. Since the business is not generating income, everything that’s left running – that one employee watching the phone that never rings; that one light left on – hurts the bottom line.

Encourage teams to disconnect. Don’t expect them to answer mails and don’t contact them about work while they’re on holiday – unless it’s an emergency. Block access to mails if you have to, Volkswagen style. Give your people time to think, reflect, and sleep.

When we respect employees’ time and give them freedom to work when they’re most productive, we develop motivated, positive workforces who are enthusiastic about achieving the business’s goals. They work harder to get the job done and, in our experience, actually finish projects ahead of deadline because they want to be able to switch off and go fishing.

Related: Year-End Reviews Are Not Always A Positive Experience

Power down

Downtime is often seen as wasted time. We don’t take breaks, we eat lunch at our desks, and we work when we’re sick and should be at home. But working longer hours doesn’t mean that we’ll get more done. In fact, it can be enormously counter-productive.

Neuroscientist David Levitin cautions against the “false break”, when we feel guilty for taking time off and compulsively check emails. Napping, daydreaming, and “taking true vacations without work”, he says, is biologically restorative and essential for rebooting cognitive energy. So, if you’re going to shut down, do it properly. The same business challenges will be there when you get back. But you could solve some of them while you’re sleeping.

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

Seasonal SMEs: Don’t Spend Your Extra Cash All At Once

Save a portion of festive season profits for an emergency fund.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

festive-season-spending

The festive season is a time when many seasonal small and medium enterprises (SMEs) reap the rewards of increased consumer spending, such as additional sales and accommodation bookings from the influx of holiday makers and festive season shoppers. This spike in earnings offers the ideal opportunity for these businesses to save some of the extra money that they make for an emergency fund.

This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that a major risk faced by many businesses is their vulnerability to an unexpected financially-draining mishap such as a big client loss, a lawsuit, or any accident that is not covered by insurance.

“Despite this, few SME owners have an emergency fund in place to deal with such unforeseen events,” he says.

“This is understandable since a growing business tends to require a lot of cash to move forward. Another likely reason for this is because most SME owners are more focused on the immediate practicalities of building their business, rather than on vague risk assessments and planning. By nature, entrepreneurs also tend to be chronically optimistic about the future good luck of their business,” adds Lang.

“However, considering South Africa’s underperforming economy and rising consumer price inflation, it is essential that all SME owners save for a rainy day. Those that have boosted seasonal business have an advantage and should capitalise on this by putting aside a portion of their seasonal profits,” he explains.

Related: 5 Small Business Money-Saving Myths

When saving towards an emergency fund, it is key to set a goal, Lang points out. “A good rule of thumb is to have three to six months’ worth of overheads set aside, but even just one month’s expenses are better than nothing.”

The next step is to decide what constitutes an emergency, he says. “If an emergency fund can be dipped into every time you want to avoid an awkward phone call to the landlord to say that the rent will be slightly late this month, it won’t last long. A true emergency is one that threatens the survival of the business.”

With this in mind, thinking through and writing down a list of possible emergencies that would justify the use of the fund is a good risk-assessment exercise for any business, suggests Lang.

Finally, some thought needs to be given to where an emergency fund should be kept, he says.

“Gambling with the money on the stock exchange defeats the purpose. A money-market account is a better option, but it may be worth considering an account where the funds aren’t too easily accessible, so there’s no temptation to dip into it on a whim. On the other hand, it should not be so inaccessible that you cannot access it fairly soon when an emergency does strike.”

As such, Lang recommends a set of notice deposit accounts with varying notice periods so that a limited amount can be accessed immediately, and some a little later, which allows for some interest to accrue while the money, hopefully, will not be used any time soon.

“However, ultimately the will on the part of the business owner to attain these savings is critically important. The cash demands in a business are so constant that any vague or half-hearted attempt to establish an emergency fund will fail. It will have to be a conscious and disciplined effort by the business owner,” Lang concludes.

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

Documentary Filmmaking As A Career Is On The Up In South Africa

The Wavescape Surf and Ocean Festival will offer a free Filmmakers’ Masterclass this Wednesday, 5 December to boost several initiatives to position Cape Town as a key film destination and location.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

wavescape-masterclass

Wavescape Filmmakers Masterclass

  • Date: 5th December 2018
  • Time:  6:00pm for 6:30pm
  • Venue: Invest SA One Stop Shop, Western Cape
  • Address: Cape Sun Corner, 46 St. George’s Mall, Cape Town
  • Parking: Picbel Parkade, 58 Strand Street, Cape Town Centre (For own account)

The Masterclass, which is presented by Wesgro and aimed at aspiring filmmakers, producers, film students and those in the film industry, will focus on what it takes secure funding, produce and distribute a documentary film.

The documentary genre has seen a resurgence in popularity, owing in part to increased accessibility via the growth of Video On Demand platforms like Netflix, and an audience response to ‘Block-buster fatigue’ which has seen renewed interest in the documentary format and meaningful stories that reflect the nature and reality of our present lives.

The recent launch of F/LM Cape Town – a joint initiative between the City of Cape Town and the local film industry to promote the City’s amazing locations, diverse talent and world-class infrastructure – solidifies Cape Town as a world-class centre for filmmaking.

Besides its raw natural beauty, the city is rich in culture, diversity and heritage, which offers filmmakers an abundance of content. Curator of the Wavescape Masterclass Christopher Mason, who is co-director of Mason Brothers’ Films, said that you were halfway there if you had a good concept: “These days anyone with a unique idea, a DSLR camera and a laptop, and enough desire can be a filmmaker. The trick, of course, is understanding how to get your foot in the door in a very competitive industry.”

“What makes a good documentary and how does one become a good documentary filmmaker? How has the genre evolved and what are the possibilities for young South Africans interested in the genre? The Masterclass aims to give aspiring filmmakers the answers to these and other questions,” Mason said.

Related: How Netflix Is Now Disrupting The Film Industry By Embracing Short-Term Chaos

From developing a good idea into an award-winning film; to funding and distribution models; and case studies on the best this genre has to offer, this year’s masterclass aims to provide filmmakers with an immersive roadmap to success.

Steve Pike, co-founder of the Wavescape Surf and Ocean Festival said that the platform laid by F/LM Cape Town and initiatives such as the Wavescape Masterclass could help boost the already booming film industry, and thus reduce the 27.5% of South Africans who remain unemployed. The Wavescape festival, and in particular the Masterclass spoke directly to the F/LM initiative, Pike said.

“Cape Town has it all: Amazing scenery and epic locations for adventure sport. Our festival is a key platform to showcase Cape Town as the Adventure Capital of the World while also celebrating the wild ocean and raw beauty around us.”

The CEO of Wesgro, Tim Harris, said that in the 2017/18 financial year, Wesgro’s Film and Media Promotion Unit “managed to secure nine declarations to creating 2,499 full time equivalent jobs – this shows the potential for job creation in this sector”.

“There are many job opportunities in the film and media industry due to the breadth and depth of skills required across the value chain of this fourth industrial revolutionary industry,” he said, also highlighting massive potential for the cutting edge gaming industry.

Several top speakers will talk at the Masterclass, including Jolynn Minnaar, an acclaimed documentary director; Cliff Bestall, who made16th Man for ESPN 30 for 30 (produced by Morgan Freeman); Karen Slater, a Director / DOP in Sisters of the Wilderness that is eligible for an Oscar;  Khalid Shamis, editor of Strike A Rock; Liezel Vermeulen, producer and film finance expert; Izzette Mostert from the Documentary Filmmakers Association; and Monica Rorvik, Head of Wesgro Film and Media Promotion Unit.

Parking at Picbel Parkade, 58 Strand Street, Cape Town (For own account), refreshments will be served.

Please visit http://www.wavescapefestival.com/wesgro-blue-ocean-master-class/ for more information.

Related: How to Bootstrap a Movie: Seven Entrepreneurs; 11 Days; R10 000… And a Whole Lot of Passion

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending