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Entrepreneurship

  • Online business network introduces ‘Small Business Toolkit’ for SA SMEs

    South African online business network OpenTenders this week introduced its Small Business Toolkit which aims to connect entrepreneurs with relevant opportunities as well as encourage networking. Developed by South African entrepreneurs and founders of OpenTenders Madoda Khuzwayo, Sivu Maqungo and Mnive Nhlabathi, the trio have compiled over 5 000 pages geared to teach entrepreneurs and small business owners the basics of starting and running a sustainable business. The toolkit is divided into 10 chapters covering the following topics: how to register a business, drafting a business plan, legal compliance, marketing plan, finance, as well as a myriad of templates that entrepreneurs...

  • Ventureburn survey sheds light on SA’s tough, but pioneering startup industry

    Stuart Thomas, Matthew Buckland and Graham van der Made contributed to this article. Startup life isn't as glamorous as it’s sometimes made out to be, according to a new survey by Ventureburn. Employees and founders of startups are often paid below-market salaries, get close to zero benefits and are subject to high-pressure environments. Moreover, just 17% of startups are profitable, with only three percent of startups making it to the sought-after venture capital investment stages. But this begs the question: why is creating and working for startups an increasingly popular option? Although entrepreneurs will make it big if their startup succeeds,...

  • Working for SA startups may be exciting, but often not that glamorous

    If startup life offers low-pay accompanied by a tough culture, why then do people still go work for them? The answer may be that, for some, the challenging and flexible work environment of a startup is more important, not to mention working with someone who's driven to become a pioneer in his industry. The Ventureburn Startup Survey, which aims to uncover the "true picture of the South African startup landscape", partnered with First National Bank (FNB), investment advisory firm Clifftop Colony and analytics company Qurio, to recently poll just under 200 tech startups. Each of the 200 startups were asked...

  • What do South Africa’s startup founders look like, and what drives them?

    South Africa's startups scene may be small compared to that of the US, yet the country has produced some amazing global success stories. Entrepreneurial superstars with South African ties such as Mark Shuttleworth and Elon Musk are often highly regarded for their pioneering spirit, but does that carry through to the rest of the South African startup space? What are the majority of the country's entrepreneurs driven by and what do they look like? The Ventureburn Startup Survey, which aims to uncover the "true picture of the South African startup landscape", partnered with First National Bank (FNB), investment advisory firm Clifftop...

  • Go big or go home: SA startups need to scale fast to survive

    South Africa's startups are ambitious. They have to be. A Ventureburn survey found that the majority want to dominate (41%) their target markets. When we also consider that most (75%) companies expect to run out of funds within the next 12 months, it adds weight to the notion that lean tech startups should scale fast to become sustainable. But for South Africa's startups, it's a matter of go big or go home. The Ventureburn Startup Survey, which aims to uncover the "true picture of the South African startup landscape", partnered with First National Bank (FNB), investment advisory firm Clifftop Colony and...

  • From lab to launch: the quest to build startup success in SA’s innovation capital

    Venture capitalist and founder of popular US seed fund Y Combinator Paul Graham once wrote that the recipe for startup "clusters" is having a great university near a town smart people like. Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille believes this might just be the case for Stellenbosch in South Africa, which echoed the general tone of the evening at the reopening of business incubator LaunchLab last month. Situated about 50km outside of Cape Town in the country's Winelands, Stellenbosch is not only home to JSE-listed giants such as Mediclinic and Distell, but also transformative tech companies like the instant...

  • Why it’s so important for startups to nurture leaders from within

    One of the greatest challenges for a startup founder is growing the startup into an organisation that is far beyond his own strengths and limitations. It can be sometimes difficult to part with responsibility when what you’re responsible for, has become an integral part of you. That’s when you find you need to hand over responsibilities to people you trust and more importantly, people who can do what you do: lead. But to be able to identify leaders, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. There are qualities that are common to all leaders like communication, team...

  • Why having the right cloud security is so important for small business

    While there are probably some people out there that still don’t understand the cloud, it seems as if it is taking over the world of computing. In the beginning it was a way to keep computers connected between long distances, giving companies and individuals a place to share and save their words and photos without it taking up space on their computer’s hard drive. Today, cloud computing is the way of the world for both businesses and individuals. It makes sense that with using cloud computing in all aspects of life and work now, that someone would come up with...

  • Small business does not mean startup

    Every business needs to start somewhere and at some point it will be small. Does this mean that all small business are startups? No! The phrase startup has become very trendy and is heavily overused. With governments and incubators touting startup support services and growing the number of startups. Everyone seems to think that any early-stage business is a startup, which, in my opinion is very misleading. Most of the time what they’re talking about is a business starting up. Let me clarify. A startup -- in the sexy trendy sense -- is a small business with high-growth potential. They’re highly...

  • How much can small business learn from customer self-service?

    In the “old days” just a few years ago, it was a good idea to arrive two hours before your domestic flight in order to check in and get the seat you wanted. In some cases, it was a good idea so that you wouldn’t be bumped off the flight due to chronic overbooking practiced by airlines. And then suddenly passengers were able to check in on line and even using smart phones 24 hours before the flight, and all that stress just melted away. (Unless, of course, the airline’s website isn’t working too well.) Welcome to the age of...