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Entrepreneurship

  • Ventureburn goes behind the scenes on SA Florist’s Dragons’ Den deal

    When it was announced that the international phenomenon that is Dragons' Den was coming to South Africa, I for one was sceptical about how much value it could really add to the country's entrepreneurial landscape. It is, after all, an entertainment show and its success depends on its ability to keep people watching. That said, it was always clear that there was intrinsic value for the entrepreneurs who did actually manage to get funding, if only because of the cash injection it would provide. Meeting SA Florist founders Nicholas Wallander and Fraser Black, however, it's obvious that the power of...

  • Dragons’ Den SA episode 11: stop and smell the flowers

    As an entrepreneurial show, Dragons' Den SA is mostly there for the entertainment value. You only have to look at the similarities between the worst entrepreneurs who enter the den and the worst singers on other reality TV shows to realise that some people will never learn that they're not destined to be entrepreneurs, or singers for that matter. Once you get past that though, it is possible to take some value out of the show and learn important lessons from it. In this, the eleventh episode of the series, for instance there are lessons about focusing your product...

  • $100m pan-African initiative to support 10k entrepreneurs across the continent

    Africa's startup landscape just got a lot more exciting. The Nigerian-based Tony Elumelu Foundation has just announced a US$100-million entrepreneurship programme that seeks to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs across the continent. The multi-year programme, which is headed by Nigerian billionaire Tony Elumelu, aims to provide training, funding, and mentoring for local innovative business minds. Ten-thousand entrepreneurs, to be exact who are all expected to create over 10-billion jobs within the next 10 years. "Whether you’re in Lagos, Accra, Johannesburg, Nairobi or Dakar, Africa is buzzing with entrepreneurs who need a platform that enables them to take their business or...

  • Balance the hype and potential with the reality on the ground [U-Start Africa]

    “Build a business not a product”, “build the right networks”, “think long term and exercise patience” and “be amazing while you do it” -- these words by Keet Van Zyl of Knife Capital and Rapelang Rabana of Rekindle Learning at the recent U-Start Africa conference summed up both the event and the entrepreneurial experience for me. Every successful entrepreneur that I have met in the last five years, has in their own way -- most times through trial and error -- worked on a sustainable approach to their business venture. This was a pretty constant refrain throughout the conference, with...

  • U-Start Africa: SA entrepreneurship is in a very good space

    After radio host and entrepreneur Kieno Kammies' introduction, the annual U-Start Conference kicked-off today at the Cape Town City Hall. Stefano Giudotti and Zachariah George opened with remarks on how far U-Start has come -- which is actually a great deal since its initial entrance into South Africa. Founded in Italy in January 2012, U-Start is a global boutique advisory firm offering an online platform which is the entry point to U-Start Services, facilitating the connection among local entrepreneurs and international investors. I attended their conference in Italy two years ago for Perk and found it very beneficial. I was impressed...

  • Ackerman: even big businesses face small business challenges [U-Start Africa]

    Gareth Ackerman may be the scion of one of South Africa's most prominent business families but he has his own retail entrepreneurship story that spans many, many years. Hilariously enough it started with him telling the audience at the U-Start Conference in Cape Town that due to a "bender" on his grandfather's part, the boat to France and the Battle of Delville Wood was missed and his family ended up flourishing in South Africa. Thank goodness for that -- as one delegate put it on Twitter: Listening to billions. Gareth Ackerman. One of the first points Ackerman made was around...

  • Feet on the ground, head in the cloud: the mindset of doing business in Africa

    Barely two years ago, foreign businesses and analysts were hailing Africa as the world’s economic miracle. With economic, political and social reforms sweeping the continent, a burgeoning middle class and growth rates hovering around the 6% mark, people were queuing up for a slice of a US$1-trillion opportunity. Today, that picture might appear less appealing to some. Epidemic challenges have swept various countries, especially in West Africa. Across the continent, instability and conflict are either simmering just below the surface - or worse, bursting out into the open. Between strikes, extremist activities, economic turmoil and political unrest, the African...

  • Safaricom announces new $1-million venture fund for Kenyan startups

    Kenyan startups seem to be treading on fertile grounds. Kenyan operator, Safaricom, has revealed a US$1-million venture fund aimed at assisting the development of mobile applications in Kenya. The fund has been set up for two years with possibility of extension and will be offered to mobile ICT startups based in Kenya. This will be done through equity investment in their business or in the form of other debt instruments. According to Safaricom, startups will be eligible to receive amounts between US$75 000 and US$250 000. The funds will be administered together with the international tech fund TBL Invest, which was...

  • Disrupting the digital engagement model for competitive advantage

    The following article is written by Andre Hugo who is co-founder and CEO of micro-jobbing service M4JAM. With over 22 years of business startup experience, the article reflects on his experience at M4JAM with Hugo discussing the importance of disruption for digital engagement. Digital disruption is often spoken about, but rarely seen. Companies like Wikipedia, Uber, AirBnB, and eLance are often cited as digital disruptors but very seldom emulated. Yet when you look into the business models of these companies, they all have a common element. They have all partnered with their customers, baking them into the business model as...

  • Community-based Bandwidth Barn incubator comes to Khayelitsha

    Woodstock's Bandwidth Barn by The Cape IT Initiative (CiTi) is one of the most important tech hubs for Cape Town, South African-based entrepreneurs, techies, designers and the like to meet-up, exchange ideas, host events and work on their startups. CiTi has just announced a Proof of Concept of The Barn in the Western Cape township, Khayelitsha, to support the local community's needs. Built on similar infrastructure of its counterpart in the city, The Barn in Khayelitsha will be community-based, which means that it's "solely dependent on the community’s engagement, feedback and support for this concept to succeed," notes head of...