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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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LaunchLab Fellows – Great Opportunities For Aspirational Young African Students

The Stellenbosch University LaunchLab officially kicked off their Fellowship Programme on Monday, 5 February.

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The Stellenbosch University LaunchLab officially kicked off their Fellowship Programme on Monday, 5 February with 12 students filled with aspirations of elevating their own lives through gaining valuable connections with LaunchLab start-ups.

Through this platform the LaunchLab hopes to inspire, guide and unleash the critical mass of problem solvers, at Stellenbosch University, guiding them along the path to discover their purpose in entrepreneurship and make an impact.

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

The core focus of this programme:

The core focus of this fellowship programme is to invest more in building a tribe that feels included in what we do. The key tag line within this initiative is ecosystem development, focusing on the following aspects:

To Foster Collaboration

Young people need support networks that can help them communicate, draw inspiration and gather resources to take action. These networks include not just their peers who share the same interest, but mentors and others who support their cause. To facilitate the emergence of a global community and network of young people that are committed to changing the world.

Knowledge Generation and Sharing

As young people gain experience and move on to other things in life they often take their valuable experience with them, leaving others to relearn the lessons of the past. To ensure continuity of learning, it is important to have mechanisms for capturing the lessons from the past as knowledged resources as well as to share that knowledge as widely as possible. With the help of our willing residents we can use the fellowship programme as a vehicle for knowledge sharing and importation within the ecosystem. The fellowship programme can act as a knowledge sharing pipeline.

Feeder for Incubation

If this programme is fully endorsed and supported we would have finally answered the questions around having a feeder program for our incubation program. The fellowship programme would be structured to function as a feeder program for our mainstream incubation program. The aim would be to Identify talents that can participate in our ideas programme and make their way up within our incubation programme. 

Opportunities identified for LaunchLab Fellows

The following key activities will be covered in the fellowship program.

  • Product development/makerspace activities
  • Monthly meetups and breakthrough innovation impact stories
  • Assist at LaunchLab events
  • Participation in global startup events and challenges
  • Work with LaunchLab startups
  • Become contenders for our Corporate Innovation Challenges
  • Free training and skills acquisition programmes.

Related: 9 Top Tips For Young Entrepreneurs

What will LaunchLab Fellows have access to?

  • Commercialisation of product or technology
  • Interaction with SU technologies
  • Work in teams with the aim of commercialising world class technology and driving it to become a successful business
  • Introduce innovative flagship products that are relevant to the need of existing or new corporate clients
  • Access to LaunchLab development partners on products on which they are currently working
  • Develop your own new and interesting solutions, and showcase them to relevant members of our community
  • Participation in LaunchLab programmes
  • Participation in LaunchLab talks
  • Assist at LaunchLab events
  • Provide adhoc support as interns or volunteers for startups, thereby gaining valuable experience.

Who are the LaunchLab Fellows?

The LaunchLab Fellowship Programme is open to the following category of people:

  • Stellenbosch University students
  • Problem solvers
  • Researchers and engineering students
  • Students from other universities where we are networked who are able to be in Stellenbosch
  • International students from global knowledge regions.

Visit our website for www.launchlab.co.za or email Pius@launchlab.co.za directly to find out more about this programme. Please note that all entries for 2018 have closed.

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Bitcoin Family Of Coins – Who Will Win?

Off the back of 6 sold out live events, and after successfully hosting the biggest #Cryptocurrency event ever held in South Africa, the Matt Brown Show is holding a one-time exclusive learning and networking event in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 7 March (6pm – 8pm) we’ll be launching a deep dive series into alternative cryptocurrencies.

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The interest around cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin being the most famous, has continued to capture headlines worldwide whilst regulators around the world are still struggling to formulate a plan to deal with it.

The Matt Brown Show #cryptokungfu is kicking off its first edition of a deep dive series will be looking at the bitcoin family of coins, what makes the coins different, their utility and the opportunities for traders and investors.

The Matt Brown Show has built a listenership and captive audience in over 100 countries around the world. #CryptoJHB was the first podcast event to trend in the #1 hashtag position on Twitter in the history of South African media.

Related: 11 Things You Need To Know About Bitcoin

The Matt Brown Show Johannesburg event taking place on Wednesday, 7 March 2018 from 18:00pm to 20:00pm, now being hosted at the Mesh Club in Rosebank will tap into THREE of the world’s leading experts for this first edition of a deep dive series focused masterclass.

The Masterclass will feature Tone Vays (via video conference) and Adam Meister from the United States, both regarded as world’s leading Bitcoin experts. Lorien Gamaroff, founder/CEO of Bankymoon, blockchain and cryptocurrency consultant will provide the local market perspective as a South African.

The masterclass has been engineered to provide a more focussed and intimate discussion on the landscape, which is one of the reasons the event was moved to the mesh club. To provide a more exclusive and engaging atmosphere for the attendees.

Matt Brown says, “these 3 experts have the uncanny ability to read the cryptocurrency market and are considered part of the top 100 most influential people in blockchain/cryptocurrency space in the world”.

“So we need to look beyond the recent surge in bitcoin investors across Africa, businesses have also started to embrace the cryptocurrency. It no longer a fad but a reality of the world we live in today” says Brown.

South Africa continues to lead the way, with businesses now starting to accept bitcoin payments.

Gamaroff says, “The global financial system is crumbling. People are seeking alternatives to fiat money. Cryptocurrencies will be their hedges against the cataclysm that is coming.”

Related: Embracing Technology For Business

“The reality is that Bitcoin is here to stay and, with many seeing a good return on their investment in cryptocurrencies, they now want to use this digital cash to invest in their future” says Brown

“Today, South Africans are using the ease of online trading to make money that they can then reinvest in a future beyond the world of forex. Which is why we continue to see the demand for events like this, being attended by a mixture of cryptocurrency enthusiasts and/or people simply interested in learning more about this space.” Concludes Brown.

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The Workspace And MiWay Announce Entrepreneur Competition

To celebrate their collaboration at Village Road, The Workspace and MiWay are launching a competition for South Africa’s entrepreneurs that will see the winner/s given a major advantage to further grow their business.

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Space solutions and coworking specialist, The Workspace, and insurance company, MiWay, recently joined forces at The Workspace’s premises in Village Road, Selby where they have launched an entrepreneurial hub and business development programme in the Johannesburg CBD.

The competition is open to entrepreneurs based in South Africa who have valid identification documents, who run a business with four or less employees and are making an impact in their industry.

“We have always believed in assisting entrepreneurs and small business owners who are members of The Workspace community in whatever way we can. This entrepreneur competition takes it to the next level, giving a voice to our belief in entrepreneurship and its ability to create jobs,” says Mari Schourie, CEO of The Workspace.

Related: 6 Resources For Start-ups Looking For Funding

Morné Stoltz, head of Business Insurance at MiWay, says both companies are committed to upliftment initiatives and economic development. “The entrepreneur competition is a call to action to those vibrant entrepreneurs out there. Start-ups always need a bit of a hand-up and the winner of this one will have a serious advantage once the competition has gone through its paces,” he said.

Schourie and Stoltz agree they’re looking for an entrepreneur who has reinvented the way business is done in his/her industry. “Someone who has been innovative in the product or service being offered to the market,” says Schourie.

“We are looking for an entrepreneur who has or is busy creating a special environment where employees can flourish, and in the process, potentially creating more jobs,” Stoltz adds. “An entrepreneur who makes an impression on the judges due to aspects such as the business’ social impact, attitude, positive entrepreneurial outlook and a good business mind”.

Related: 4 Tips To Secure Funding For Your Start-up

The prize on offer – worth over R230 000 – will help set-up the winning entrepreneur for a period of 12 months, giving them a boost to help build their business.

All information on the Entrepreneur Competition is available on The Workspace website, including criteria, terms and conditions, and of course, the prizes.

For queries, please email events@theworkspace.co.za

Download the competition criteria here.

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