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WDB, Grovest Take Stakes In Seed Engine To Develop Entrepreneurial Businesses

Faith Khanyile, CEO of WDB, says its investment brings together a common concern that these organisations are working to address, the transformation of South Africa’s economy by developing sustainable entrepreneurial businesses.

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WDB Investment Holdings (WDB) has taken a 30% stake in Seed Engine (incorporating Seed Academy). Grovest, a Venture Capital Company has also taken a 27,5% stake in Seed Engine.

WDB, incorporating the WDB Trust and WDB Investment Holdings, has a 25 year track record of delivering high-impact socio-economic programmes that directly improve people’s lives, especially the poorest and most neglected.

“We needed a strategic partner that would instantly allow us to scale up our efforts around entrepreneurship in SA, especially amongst women. Seed Engine was one of the first ICT accelerators in this country, and this dynamic for-profit social enterprise is now supporting the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem from startup through to supplier.”

Jeff Miller, CEO of Grovest explains that his organisation brings an in-depth understanding of the entrepreneur and venture capital ecosystems, a solid track record of successful investments and over 100 years combined management experience in capital raising, listings, MBOs and trade sales.

Related: National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Funding

Donna Rachelson, CEO of Seed Engine and Seed Academy, says entrepreneurs are the job creators of the future and these investments have created strategic partnerships that will amplify our training, support and funding mechanisms at every stage of the entrepreneurial lifecycle.

“It will help unlock well-known barriers the small business sector faces, like access to markets and access to funding.

“Incubation is not producing the results SA needs and entrepreneurs are battling to build and scale their businesses and create jobs. We take a fresh look at our entrepreneurial system and make quick, sustainable changes that result in jobs, wealth and certainty. Through the WDB and Grovest we will be able to tap into corporate and government relationships and networks that will help Seed Engine reach deeper into the communities and sectors that need the most urgent support.”

Khanyile says that the WDB’s 25-year track record is aligned with the future vision of Seed Engine. “Our investment is likely to increase to 51% and as a women’s company, we have an appropriate bias towards empowering female entrepreneurs and being a meaningful active investor. The partnership serves both the business and social agenda of WDB.”

Rachelson says, “The BEE deals of the past are no longer relevant. We want to create genuine mechanisms to expand SA’s ‘missing middle’. There is no doubt, that the investment by a black-owned entity focused on impact investments will cement Seed Academy’s position in enterprise and supplier development in South Africa.

Related: Funding And Resources For Young SA Entrepreneurs

“A key focus of our work is to make sure that start-ups progress steadily into enterprises and become registered vendors that provide reliable products and services to the supply chains of public and private South African companies.

“The WDB’s shift away from ordinary to high impact and measurable investments fits with Seed’s culture of action and impact.”

Says Khanyile, “We liked Seed Engine’s emphasis on black women and youth-owned businesses. We were impressed that their programmes have trained 600 entrepreneurs, created and supported 300 enterprises and an average of three jobs per enterprise. Seed Engine has touch points at every step of the way of the business life-cycle from start-up through to sustainable SMEs and successful suppliers.”

Rachelson said Seed Engine was impressed that some 180 000 rural women had benefited from WDB Trust loans worth more than R400-million, 3 000 women had received literacy and basic business skills training, and over 300 permanent jobs had been created by the WDB Group since inception.

“Many people in South Africa were not raised in an entrepreneurial environment in which they were encouraged to take an idea and grow a business,” says Khanyile.

Related: 9 Different Kinds Of SME Funding

“More than ever before, there is an urgency for young South Africans and female entrepreneurs in particular to be assisted in taking their ideas forward and build businesses. Our young people need jobs, and we need to help them create jobs for themselves, their families, and their communities.”

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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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The Start-up Hatchery And Greater Tygerberg Partnership Launch Innovative Pitch Competition For Bellville Solutions

Entrants are required to submit their ideas in a 30-second WhatsApp video to 082 936 7544 before 24 May 2018.

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The Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP) and start-up incubator The Startup Hatchery are launching a pitching competition to surface innovative ideas that, when implemented, could lead to the improvement of Bellville in Cape Town’s northern suburbs. The winning idea will receive a package of business incubation, mentorship, business development support, marketing and branding collateral, legal and intellectual property advice and other prizes, including R5 000 cash.

Launching on 14 May 2018, Innovate Bellville 2.0 is open to new businesses that have been operating for six months or less, who are developing new innovative ideas that could improve public transport, create jobs, create inclusive public spaces, address homelessness, improve health and wellbeing, manage waste, facilitate mobility, attract and retain investment and regenerate the Bellville urban centre.

Related: 3 Actionable Insights To Make Your Investment Pitch Perfect

Innovate Bellville 2.0 forms part of the GTP’s living lab approach to the regeneration of the Bellville CBD, says Warren Hewitt, CEO of the GTP: “We want Bellville to be a test-bed for new ideas that can help us to build a vibrant, prosperous, inclusive city region. Innovate Bellville 2.0 falls directly into that approach. We’re looking forward to seeing the ideas that emerge, and seeing the winning idea implemented in a part of our city that stands on the edge of an exciting future.”

“Innovation starts anywhere,” says Tania Cunningham, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer for The Startup Hatchery, “but we were very excited at the prospect of focusing on finding innovative ideas that could bring about real change to a defined geographical area. Innovate Bellville 2.0 will offer the winning business a solid start in life, with a chance to see their idea become a reality in Bellville.”

Entrants are required to submit their ideas in a 30-second WhatsApp video to 082 936 7544 before 24 May 2018. Twenty semi-finalists will be selected from the WhatsApp pitches, who will each receive training and a pitch deck. From that group, a group of eight finalists will then be selected and invited to pitch their ideas to judges during a pitch event on 7 June.

For more information, contact pitchtank@thestartuphatchery.co.za

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Silulo Business Incubation Is Changing The Future Of Entrepreneurs

Silulo Business Incubation is a unique incubation aimed at empowering and assisting upcoming entrepreneurs.

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Launched in April 2018, the Silulo Business Incubation is a unique incubation aimed at empowering and assisting upcoming entrepreneurs to grow not only their businesses but also their confidence in the business space. The Incubation offers office space, boardrooms, training and conference rooms as well as eighteen shared office space for entrepreneurs in and around Cape Town.

Founder and Director, Mr Luvuyo Rani says: “We have always had a vision for this type of centre – a one-stop-shop where all entrepreneurial needs are catered for but our problem was always funding. With hard-work and dedication, we were able to make our vision a reality, which is exactly what we want to teach and instil for our entrepreneurs.”

The incubation will also offer networking sessions for aspiring entrepreneurs twice a month for two hours. This idea is to offer business insights as well as networking opportunities for entrepreneurs in and around Cape Town. Entrepreneurs will have the option to become members of the SBI Network where they are able to attend networking sessions of their choice. All networking sessions will cover different topics and training manuals will be offered after each session.

Related: Silulo Ulutho Technologies: Luvuyo Rani

Rani continues:

“The main challenge when it comes to this type of business is infrastructure and funding. Silulo is a pioneer and it can go anywhere, there are no boundaries in business. This is a flagship store. We want to replicate this in every province. Silulo’s success lies in partnerships and our business has a passion for empowering.”

Rani, a former teacher, together with his brother Lonwabo Rani started selling computers from the boot of a car more than ten years ago. Silulo Technologies now has 42 branches in three provinces: the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal and 22 franchise stores, some of which are owned by former Silulo employees.

Director and Co-founder, Lonwabo Rani says: “My brother always tells us to think about the bigger picture. It was that bigger picture that kept us going. Back in 2006, what you see today is exactly how it was when we envisioned it.”

About Silulo:

In 2017 Silulo reached a total of 35 000 students trained since inception. It trained 65 students through MIC SETA in both the Eastern and Western Cape.

Related: 10 Young Entrepreneurs Under 30 Share Their Start-Up Secrets

Rani and his two directors remodelled the business in 2017 by offering a walk in cellphone repair service (including the service of leading brands such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei) at one of the Silulo branches in Khayelitsha.

Rani, who was part of the Team South Africa to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland in 2018, has received numerous accolades for his social impact business.

He was also awarded a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2016 among his many accolades.

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