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All posts by Stephen Timm: Editor

  • Cherry-picking black industrialists not sustainable charges entrepreneur activist

    The government won’t drive radical economic transformation by simply selecting a few black entrepreneurs and backing these with support and finance, entrepreneur activist Vuyisa Qabaka said yesterday. “You’re not going to drive radical economic transformation by creating this cherry-picked, fancy, apply here,” said Qabaka, who runs business consultancy Entrepreneur Traction. He was speaking at Silicon Cape event Tech eKasi at Workshop 17. “A black industrialist is not created through an application form. It’s created through blood, sweat and tears, taking risk, and finding investors and building up. So first of all our politicians need to get their minds straight about that,” he...

  • Retired Lions rugby player’s app aims to tackle ‘administrative nightmare’

    Former Lions rugby player Dylan des Fountain is looking to solve the “administrative nightmare” that many firms face collecting and reconciling staff expense claims through a new app his tech startup is developing. For the past 12 months Des Fountain, who retired from professional rugby three years ago following several injuries, has been involved in developing the app through his startup Slipztream. “I’ve always been the type of person who is looking for solutions to any problems whatever they may be, that’s actually how Slipzstream came along,” he told Ventureburn in an exclusive interview. He credits his wife Joy, who is...

  • Former ‘beach bum’ aims to turn fog into water to address Cape crisis

    From the outset it sounds like a crazy idea. To turn fog into water. But this is exactly what high-school dropout Grant Vanderwagen from Cape Town plans to do. The 25-year-old business consultant's idea to develop fog farms to help the city to battle its water crisis has already been featured on a number of online publications (such as 9lives.co.za, htxt and even on a site for a water network based in Germany). His H20 Catchers solution consists of metal frames covered with fine netting to gather condensation. He claims each fog farm can produce up to 10 000 litres at...

  • Vusi Thembekwayo extends deadline for #Top40 entrepreneurship programme

    Venture capitalist Vusi Thembekwayo has extended his #Top40 mentorship programme to mentor black entrepreneurs, after his investment company MyGrowthFund received an "overwhelming" response from entrepreneurs. In a press release to Ventureburn, MyGrowthFund announced the new due date as 7 June at 12pm. The competition, which opened for applications on 15 May and was to close on 31 May, has to date received 1,100 applications. The programme is open to black entrepreneurs with companies that generate at least R1 million in annual revenue and are looking to grow. The 40 selected participants are expected to announced at the end of June. They will then undergo an 18 month mentorship programme...

  • ‘Shortage of township startups with innovative, unique ideas’

    Too many township startups are pursuing "me-too ideas" over innovative ideas, says Innovation Hub CEO McLean Sibanda. Speaking to Ventureburn, Sibanda says the organisation, which is funded by the Gauteng provincial government, battles to find innovative entrepreneurs to back in the townships. "Most young people in townships don't have a degree, but the entrepreneurial flare is there and that's why we've decided to invest there," he said. The Innovation Hub is currently assisting 150 township startups through seven centres in its eKasiLabs programme. These include among others a startup involved in manufacturing environmentally-friendly paint, another making audio equipment, a business offering household cleaning services and an...

  • JUMO first SA startup to be selected for Google Launchpad Accelerator

    South African fintech startup JUMO has become the first South African startup to be selected by Google for its Launchpad accelerator. The announcement was made yesterday by Google on the Google Developers Blog, with JUMO chosen alongside 32 other startups, including five others from Africa, to join the accelerator. As part of being selected onto the accelerator JUMO's leaders will embark upon a two-week bootcamp at Google's headquarters in California from 17 to 28 July, while the startup will get six months ongoing support and mentorship and $50,000 in funding. Speaking to Ventureburn from Myanmar, where he is investigating new business opportunities, JUMO founder and CEO Andrew Watkins-Ball said he was excited as...

  • Architect of Kenya’s Silicon Savannah hits out at delays at Konza Techno City

    Progress on Kenya’s Konza Techno City, dubbed “Silicon Savannah”, has been too slow while insufficient budget has been allocated to complete the initiative, says Bitange Ndemo, the man who conceived Konza eight years ago. While construction started in November on the first building – an eight-storey unit to host techno city operations and house early investors and innovators -- Ndemo, (pictured above) associate professor at the University of Nairobi's Business School, is critical of delays. “It’s not very difficult to do it (set up a techno city) but from my own assessment they have taken too long,” says Ndemo, who is also a former ICT permanent...

  • Venture capitalist questions why so few women involved in angel investing in SA

    Why are there so few women angel investors in South Africa? It's a question that continues to puzzle local venture capitalist Andrea Bohmert. “I would love to have the answer to that question, because I don’t have it,” said Bohmert, a partner in venture capital (VC) fund Knife Capital. Bohmert was speaking at a women in angel investing event hosted by the SA Business Angels Network (Saban) last night at FNB’s offices in Cape Town. She pointed out that just one of the 24 investors in Knife Ventures -- Knife Capital's VC company approved by the South African Revenue Service (Sars) in August last year --...

  • Winning Cape Town startups to tackle water crisis with innovative solutions

    With the City of Cape Town seeking to introduce further water restrictions from 1 June, city authorities would do well to turn to entrepreneurs from four local startups who have designed innovative solutions. The four startups last night won a pitching challenge hosted by Stellenbosch University's LaunchLab to design solutions to tackle water and waste management. Their prize includes incubation and business support from the incubator. The four -- chosen from 11 participants -- are: Bridgiot: which has developed an internet-of-things solutions to provide instant notifications to users on their water usage. The startup is led by Jurie Envee. AlwaysOn founder Nico Pretorius is also involved in...

  • Applications open now for one-month Wits, MIT tech startups course

    Wits University, in conjunction with MIT Sloan School of Management, has opened applications for teams interested in participating in the MIT Global Startup Labs Programme which starts in Johannesburg next month. The event runs from 24 June to 29 July at Tshimologong, Wits University's Digital Innovation Precinct, and will provide opportunities for participants to learn and experience the process of innovating and building a tech startup. Joburg Centre of Software Engineering (JCSE) director and Tshimologong founder Barry Dwolatzky said in a press release to Ventureburn that applicants need to exhibit a sense of cohesion, drive, and creativity. "We are looking for teams of three to five people...