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All posts by Matthew Alexander

  • WDB Seed Fund set up to help solve funding woes

    Newly formed WDB Seed Fund seeks to develop an urgent response to the scarcity of funding for startups in their early growth stages. The fund is made up of for-profit social enterprise, Seed Engine, WDB Investment Holdings, an organisation driven to impact the lives of other women in rural communities in SA, as well as Grovest, an SA VC company. The WDB Seed Fund also offers investors tax advantages, as well as Broad-Based Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) points, for those who wish to invest. This is because the investment would be utilised for enterprise and supplier development initiatives. The fund has also been established...

  • Tunisian smart prosthetic gains recognition at Microsoft Imagine Cup

    When you hear about amazing developments in technology and science, you seldom think of "Africa" sadly, and more about developed Western and Eastern nations. However, the runner-up in Microsoft's Imagine Cup 2016 is proving otherwise. Tunisia's Night's Watch is a technology startup founded by students Amir Ben Said, Soumaya Tekaya, Mohamed Zied Cherif and Mohamed Assil Mekki, from Espirit University. Their Smart Hand project took home second prize in the Imagine Cup 2016 World Citizenship Category, being cheaper than most prosthetics. The prosthetic doesn't require any surgical integration, while also being incredibly customisable with a mobile application. The idea for a more affordable smart-prosthetic...

  • The Solaris initiative: locally sustainable biofuel for jets

    Human nature is to progress, to continually improve on existing structures. Project Solaris is an example of that nature. A joint initiative started by Sunchem SA and SkyNRG, it's already making progress in the world of biofuel. Two years ago, Sunchem SA and SkyNRG launched the project in Limpopo with the aim to roll it out on a wide scale and be the go-to for locally sustainable jet biofuel production. Today, they've achieved that goal. "The Solaris crop yields about 2.5 MT ton (sic) of oil per hectare. This is significantly more than traditional oil crops," said Solaris' Project Manager Samantha Hampton in...

  • Siyavula, the edtech startup enabling learners through feature phones [updated]

    Update: Facts and quotes have been amended. Our apologies to Mark Horner and Siyavula for the errors. Education has been preached about as the way to a better life, "get good grades, go to a good school, then off to a better university where you'll get a degree and make lots of money". In our country, it's especially hard to follow that path. According to the 2014 education statistics, 28.3% of learners who passed their matric exam only qualified for a Bachelor's programme, 31.3% qualified for a Diploma programme and 16.1% qualified for a Higher Certificate programme. These stats prove why more...

  • Ghana is next destination for Seedstars World [update]

    The next leg of international pitching event, Seedstars World, is heading to Accra, Ghana, on its way to the finals in Switzerland. This round takes place with the support of local ambassador Impact Hub. "Impact Hub Accra is at the centre of an exciting and growing startup ecosystem in Ghana, we offer a wide range of opportunities for dynamic startups to grow and scale, such opportunities includes global partnership with organisations such as Seedstars," said community manager at Impact Hub Accra, Victor Ofoegbu, in a press release to Ventureburn. Startups wanting to participate will need to be less than two years old, raised...

  • Radio 702, Cape Talk, Sage One 2016 Small Business Awards nominations now open

    Nominations are now open for the 2016 Small Business Awards, held by Radio 702, Cape Talk, and Sage One. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the prize pot, sponsored by Sage One and worth R1-million, will be split between the overall winners and runners-up in Gauteng and the Western Cape. The winners in each region will receive an advertising package of R250 000 on 702/Cape Talk. From Sage, they’ll receive a laptop with free access to their Accounting and Payroll software as well as a training course or seminar of their choice and a year’s worth of software support. The runners-up...

  • Sage Summit 2016 to host over 15 000 entrepreneurs

    What began as a small business venture 30 years ago has now become the meeting point for millions of entrepreneurs from across 23 countries. This year's Sage Summit will look to inspire new and old entrepreneurs alike. The Sage Summit 2016 looks to break last year's figures, with expectations to double capacity.  The event which will also host some of the world's leading brand ambassadors and entertainers will seek to employ their knowledge and passions to those in attendance. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn: "For the first time, Sage Summit will have a dedicated series of events for...

  • Demo Africa to showcase 11 South African finalists

    DEMO Africa, a flagship initiative of Lions@Africa, helps connect startups across the continent to relevant markets, offering them an opportunity to bring their dreams to life. This year's event sees 11 South African startups representing the nation out of a total of 30 finalists. Demo Africa, which saw 723 applicants, began in Nairobi, before moving to Kenya, Lagos and Nigeria. For the first time ever, the event will take place in Johannesburg. The 723 applicants were whittled down to 131, coming down to the final 30. Eleven of the finalists are South African, while six are Nigerian, five are Kenyan, three represent Ghana....

  • Kenya’s Chezo Serious Gaming Hub aims to solve water problems in Africa

    Gaming has changed the lives of many as well as developed into something more than just a form of entertainment. It's become a form of learning and even social change. The Chezo Serious Gaming Hub will launch in Kenya -- backed by VIA Water -- and is a project designed to seek and support initiatives geared at solving water problems around the African continent. It aims to bring together gaming experts from the Netherlands and Kenya to inspire and incubate local startups. Other partners for the hub includes iHub, an incubator for technological growth in Kenya; Upande, a company specialising in web mapping and geographical information systems; Deltares,...

  • Food for thought: UN launches accelerator for hunger

    Life is hard and can become unimaginably difficult if you're left weak and malnourished. World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics show that about 795 million people don't have enough food to lead a healthy life. Of those 795 million people, most of them live in developing countries. It is with these facts that the United Nations (UN) World Food Program (WFP) has launched the Innovation Accelerator which focuses on food relief, progressing towards ending hunger by 2030. The project, based in Munich, Germany, was started by Ertharin Cousin, who has over 25-years of national and international non-profit leadership experience. The WFP in collaboration with experts...