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  • $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...

  • Company Office

    SUPERBALIST.COM CELEBRATING YOUTH Changing the way the youth shop and applauding creative talent

    Superbalist.com, South Africa’s only high-trend curated online shopping destination, has in excess of 1 million members. With an ever expanding selection of the best international brands at affordable prices; an understanding of what the youth market wants in terms of shopping and content; and campaigns that resonate with their target market, the site is set to change the way the youth shop and consume information. “We understand what it’s like to want coveted international brands, and know that we can actually afford them. It’s been one of our main business objectives since we launched, and we’ve become really good at...

  • What lessons can SA’s ecommerce outlets learn from ‘Blackout Friday’?

    On Black Friday some of South Africa’s leading ecommerce platforms adopted the international holiday to run specials and boost sales. It's a pity they didn’t realise that to do so you need to follow international tech trends as well. The specials came out, the customers came and the technology failed. Ecommerce in South Africa blacked out and this time there was no Eskom to blame. Only bad practice and a lack of focus on what really runs your business — your tech platform. The real issue here Yes, loss of revenue is a problem. Yes, in a space where retention is everything, upsetting...

  • Vouch wants to change the face of mobile advertising in SA

    South Africa's mobile space is becoming more and more exciting. With a growing middle class and cheaper hardware diversifying the market, the country should take a healthy slice of Africa's mobile ad market, which is expected to reach a massive US$1.3-billion by 2016. Whether this bulk of cash will be dominated by a few digital giants or by the many upcoming startups remains to be seen, however. In an attempt to get in on the action, South African mobile ad startup Vouch is on a mission to change the way brands engage with customers. It wants to do this by...

  • 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...

  • Springleap goes big: expands into Middle Eastern, pan-African markets

    Springleap is on a mission to take over the world. Backed by a new group of experienced industry leaders and a community of 22 000 creatives, the crowdsourced design startup is expanding into the Middle Eastern and pan-African markets. Initially hailing from an office in Cape Town -- 2014's World Capital of Design -- the crowdsourcing design startup is today operating in New York City as well as Johannesburg. News of its expansion comes hot on the heels of it raising a R4.1-million funding round a few weeks ago from a group of international investors. Read more: SA crowdsource design startup...

  • Want your ecommerce startup to take off? Forget the discounts, push customer service

    According to business consulting firm Lee Resources Inc, 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with you again. The number one reason for their unhappiness is service delivery. Service delivery has become a hotly debated topic in South Africa, and we have seen frequent examples where customers have taken to airing their frustrations on public forums. One only has to look at the anti-Cell C banner debacle that caused quite a stir in the media recently. The whole incident developed into something bigger because the customer felt that he wasn’t receiving the service that he deserved and decided...

  • Amendments to Section 12J under the Income Tax Act welcomed by VCs

    Complex legal or financial regulations are all too often cited as South Africa's main obstacles for flourishing entrepreneurial activity. First introoduced in 2009, Section 12J under the South African Income Tax Act has come as a welcome step in venture capital activity. Now, new amendments to Section 12J will take effect in January 2015, with the aim of boosting investment in entrepreneurial businesses. Erika van der Merwe from Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA), which represents about R160-billion in assets, elaborates: We believe that these more attractive tax incentives have the potential to boost greater levels of investment...

  • 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...

  • About 40% of global SMEs don’t believe Africa has growth opportunity

    A new study has shown that approximately 40% of global SMEs don't see the growth opportunity Africa offers, despite positive economic growth. This doesn't bode all too well for flexibility to the region's unique ecosystems. The study -- conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of logistics giant DHL Express -- surveyed 480 SME executives and experts from business lobbying groups, and further found that many multinationals and state-owned companies do however take advantage of the opportunities the African continent presents. Charles Brewer, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, says that despite current challenges to attract global...