Some moments of change are so easy in hindsight. When people made the switch from outdoor long drop toilets to inside flushing units. From big box TV’s that took up half the lounge, to flat screens that could be mounted on the wall.
And yet at each of those moments in history, the switch was not instant, nor obvious. I know it sounds crazy, but it took time for people to get used to the idea that going to the toilet indoors was not only ok but better than walking outside on cold rainy days.
And while this resistance comes in many forms (too expensive, not sure it will work yet, let others try it first) most often it is just the plain old resistance to change.
And here I own up and raise my hand as a late adopter. In most circumstances what I know, and am comfortable with, is just great thanks.
Until, under pressure from a friend or relative, I try the ‘new’ and realise what I have been missing all along.
My first lessons in investing were from my grandfather. As a young teenager, he took me with him to his share broker, who spent hours going over what seemed to me endless tomes of paper. When he joined some friends in buying a small industrial building he showed me the files the lawyers had sent over for him to sign – in a box, because there was too much paperwork for even the biggest envelopes.
He taught me some key principles. Work smart and hard for your money, then make your money work smart and hard for you. Even if you start small just make sure you start. Spread your risk. Invest for the future while ensuring you have a bit of fun now.
The principles remain true for today, though what has changed and continues to change constantly, is the tools and systems that we can now use to invest, and manage our investment. Financial Technology (FinTech) is here and changing quickly. Soon we will consider the old systems of investing as old fashioned as tube TV’s.
The recent FinTech Africa Awards held in JHB show cased the best of these modern online based investment platforms, with two SA companies taking first and second prize. Easy Equities makes it easy and affordable to invest in shares, while Wealth Migrate opens the world of global commercial real estate to all online investors.
And the change these platforms bring is ease of use, convenience and just a radically better way of doing things – like the difference between an old outhouse in my garden vs the end suite in my house.
Fintech platforms make smart investing exponentially quicker, easier, cheaper and with far more functionality.
Smart algorithms match my risk appetite and link my share preferences to similar shares.
I can now be part owner of an individual commercial building in New York or London that has been carefully selected by global experts for great returns, at the swipe of a finger and within the starting range of the smallest investor – even if you start small, make sure you start.
Fintech platforms remove the middle man, significantly reducing fees which means more of my money goes directly to my investment, and brings me greater returns – make my money work smart and hard for me.
With a range of Fintech platforms I can choose to be a smart, savvy investor in a wide range of local and global investments – spreading my risk.
And for me most importantly I can do this all from anywhere. I can be looking after the future of my family making smart investments and managing my money while taking a break on the beach with my kids.
Even for a slow adopter like me, it is clear. The time to make the obvious switch was yesterday.
Empowering Township Entrepreneurs
Big drive to bring ideas to life in the townships this Global Entrepreneurship Week.
As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Experian teamed up with Rhiza Babuyile and Township Fleva – two organisations responsible for supporting township communities – to assist entrepreneurs in transforming their innovative ideas into thriving businesses.
The annual event ‘Tshogo’, which took place in Tembisa yesterday (Thursday, 15 November), is the culmination of roadshows in Gauteng’s populated townships, such as Diepsloot and Orange Farm. These involved up-and-coming start-ups pitching their business ideas to a panel of experienced judges, including Simon Rudman, Social Innovation Lead at Experian SA.
Twenty winners received funding to the combined value of R280 000 to kickstart their business venture, while our others received marketing packages to equip them – and their ventures – further.
“Throughout the competition we were greatly inspired by each and every one of the entrants. There is definitely no scarcity of bright ideas,” says Rudman. “By keeping our entrepreneurs top of mind and providing continuing support, we can grow the township economy for the greater good of the country.”
Experian is pleased to support Rhiza Babuyile, by providing the JoZi Business Hub participants with career counselling as well as credit and financial education aimed at empowering and equipping entrepreneurs with the financial know-how to manage and grow their business and to make smart credit decisions.
“We believe data has the power to transform lives and societies for the better and our corporate social responsibility programmes pioneer how we use our business skills, products and services to promote financial education, financial inclusion and support small business entrepreneurs.
“These engagements also provide a great opportunity for us to include the entrepreneurs in our solution development process. Their feedback is invaluable in helping to shape products which will hopefully contribute to their success”, adds Rudman.
Global Entrepreneurship Week is a celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to live and drive economic growth. The JoZI Business Hub’s Tshogo roadshow could not be a better example of this in action.
Call For Applications: Young Entrepreneurs Global Exposure Trips
Closing Date: 30 November 2018
Investec CSI’s Young Entrepreneurs Programme provides South African entrepreneurs from various sectors with global exposure.
Every year Investec, in partnership with En-novate, sends a group of young entrepreneurs from various sectors to specifically selected countries in order to gain global exposure. Each itinerary provides them with opportunities to network and engage with venture capitalists, funders and captains of their specific industry. The aim is for them to gain learning and exposure to innovation, technology and process advancements. The programme also offers networking with subject and sector experts.
Applications for the Global Exposure trips are now open to ALL entrepreneurs – regardless of sector – who meet the criteria. Closing date is Friday 30 November 2018.
The programme itinerary and each trip is customised according to the profiles of the candidates, stage of business and specific sector.
By way of example, Investec recently sent 14 entrepreneurs from South Africa to Berlin to meet people doing Out of the Ordinary things in textiles: https://www.investec.com/en_za/focus/young-entrepreneurs/sa-entrepreneurs-return-inspired.html
Business Lessons From Women For Women: If You Have To Fail, Fail Forwards
Lessons from three young black South African women on how they have turned an idea into a profitable business.
Just 70 years ago, black women in SA were largely regarded as legal minors with no power to open bank accounts, lease property or conduct legal transactions without their husbands’ permission. Some remnants of this legacy remain, but, increasingly, traditional roles are being subverted and women are building businesses. However, women entrepreneurs still remain part of a small minority of thriving business success stories.
The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs found women in early-stage entrepreneurship decreased by 15.7% in 2018 and only 18.8% of all business owners in SA are women. Suffice to say there’s more to be done, and a lot of it starts with support. When Lebogang Ndlovu, owner of Amare Beauty Hub, announced her intention to start a small business shortly after matric, her parents weren’t happy. She forged ahead despite the lack of support and tenaciously founded three different ventures, which all, unfortunately, failed. She then decided to attend consumer financial training offered by Santam through Mzansi Financial Education. From this training, she learned to ‘fail forwards’ and started her current company – a highly successful Soweto-based spa. She credits the support and mentorship she received as imperative to this success.
That says Tersia Mdunge, Santam’s Corporate Social Investment Manager, is what Santam’s Consumer Financial Education (CFE) is all about, “To grow entrepreneurship, South Africa needs to provide enabling conditions, opportunity and support. As the cornerstone of our economy, it’s pivotal we do so. At Santam, our Consumer Financial Education and Mentorship programme helps young, black entrepreneurs from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to turn their ideas into tangible businesses. We’ve assisted 1 595 individuals so far, and we’re absolutely committed to continuing to do so.”
Although Africa has the highest growth rate of female-run businesses globally, according to the World Bank, South Africa lags behind countries like Ghana.
Here, three women entrepreneurs from Johannesburg share their entrepreneurial journeys and the difference mentorship made:
1. Lebogang Ndlovu, owner: Amare Beauty Hub
Although young, Ndlovu knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur after matric. It was tough convincing her parents to get on-board. “I come from a typical black family background where the norm is to be employed and not create employment.”
After getting her parents on-side, she used the allowance they provided to start a home executive concierge service. That, unfortunately, failed, and she tried two other ventures, which also didn’t last. It was then that she decided to attend Santam’s training. She did thorough research before jumping into yet another business. She realised that, “It does not matter how many times you fail, learn from your mistakes and move along.”
Ndlovu finally found her passion in beauty. She currently runs Amare Beauty Hub in Soweto; a fully-fledged beauty and health spa that focuses on “beauty on a budget”. With her business partner, she’s already considering expanding the business into micro-franchises to empower other women who are interesting in the beauty industry.
2. Nthabeleng Nhlapho, owner: Afro Kids Salon
Before 2016, running her own business was just a dream for Nhlapho, even though she always knew that she was an entrepreneur at heart, because of her family background.
“Getting into business has always been an idea I have toyed with, and after many years of procrastination, I finally decided to take that leap of faith. My dad’s side of the family is quite entrepreneurial as a number of my brothers have started and are sustaining their own businesses. So, in a sense, I think I was born to be an entrepreneur.”
After doing research, Nhlapho saw a gap in the market for an ethnic hair salon for kids. Having a daughter with ethnic hair herself, Nhlapho says, “It became apparent that many mothers like me are uncomfortable with having to take their young daughters to adult hair salons where the environment is not conducive for little budding minds, and stylists do not have the patience with children.”
Nhlapho’s Afro Kids salon is based in Sandton. She opened her door in September 2016 soon after she attended Santam’s training sessions. She gives credit to the mentorship she received and to support from friends and family for her success.
3. Phumzile Nala, owner: Pumzi’s Pretty Petals
Phumzile Nala’s grandmother inspired her love for flowers. “My grandmother loved flowers and used to do flower arrangements at friends’ and family events, which is where I was introduced to flower arrangements.”
Nala attended the Santam CFE workshops in Vilakazi Street in April this year. Her mentor, Martine Solomon, says, “Phumzile started the training with the hope that she would go into public speaking and training and development, however, that changed when she realised her passion for flowers. Phumzile was very helpful during her time in the programme, assisted with the roll-out of the CFE programme as well as CFE training and development.”
Now, Nala is a proud owner of a beautiful flower shop in Roodepoort called Pumzi’s Pretty Petals. In just six months, the business is showing steady growth. Nala’s other mentor, businessman Donnie Koetzee, played an instrumental role in this growth, helping Nala buy stock and get through start-up hurdles. Nala says, “At the beginning, I went through a lot of teething problems and had to take credit in order to keep the shop open.”
Even though Nala cannot compete with big retailers in terms of pricing, she gives her clients a far more personalised and meaningful experience. “We take time to teach our clients about our different offerings, and that is something they will not find in bigger stores.”
Nala found her unique value proposition, which is something that all entrepreneurs need to identify in order to compete. She also gives credit to social media as she makes use of it to advertise her flowers. Her dream is to open four stores in the four major cities of South Africa.
This programme is a direct response from the Department of Treasury for financial services companies like Santam to educate their clients and prospective clients on financial knowledge.
“We went above and beyond what is required of us and turned this into a successful initiative that empowers many to fulfil their dreams. Our programme has been dedicated to empowering our people to becoming financial savvy consumers and entrepreneurs. We have also made it our mandate to focus on risk management and understanding business insurance. Many small businesses do not consider the risks that come with running a business and how they would bounce back if they would be faced by a law-suite for instance;” concluded Mdunge.
For those who would like attend Santam’s Consumer Financial Education, please look out for an invitation on Santam’s website, the requirements are that as a consumer you need earn less than R250 000 and as a business owner, your business need to have a threshold less than R10 million.
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