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Entrepreneurship

  • The female entrepreneurs rising from emerging markets

    In Silicon Valley, the conversation on increasing female entrepreneurs in technology and the number of women founders has dominated the tech airwaves. How do women outside of Silicon Valley fare? Last year, we had just 12% female-led companies pitching in our 54 local events and there are clear cultural barriers in many of the emerging markets we cover. Thanks to initiatives like Goldman Sachs 10 000 Women and reports articulating the business case for investing in women, the future is bright for an increasing number of female founders in the emerging markets who are surmounting the odds. Below are six...

  • Top 10 reasons why startups should upgrade their trade show strategy

    Startups often lack the credibility and legitimacy required to convince customers. Trade shows appear as an easy way to face these prospects and demo the efficiency of a product, even though it is amongst the most expensive and complex marketing and sales strategies. This is why, as a startup founder, you must carefully plan early on for your next trade show and pick the right strategy and tools to reach your goals. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should upgrade your trade show strategy: 1. You can't be a tech startup and use 'pen & paper' It doesn't matter how...

  • Key challenges, opportunities for tech startups in emerging markets

    Africa and other emerging markets such as South America have received a fair share of the spotlight over the last decade. Most of the focus has especially come after the 2007/2008 global recession where economic analysts were looking for unique trends in these markets to try and stabilise their own national economies. These emerging markets have become a new front for startups as both local and international investors try to leverage the increasing levels of technology absorption here. Why would an investor put his money in these markets some of which are extremely volatile? It all boils down to new opportunities...

  • How to think like a VC before asking for funding

    "Your startup is interesting, but come back to me when you have more traction." This is a common diplomatic phrase made by VCs when they are not keen on investing in you, but keeping the door open just in case you suddenly become a hot investment. Since my days of pro-bono advisory to over 600 startups, fundraising has been trying, if not vexing and complex for noob startup entrepreneurs. (Hey I have been there myself too.) Coming full circle from being an entrepreneur who raised funds, to now a VC who raises from Limited Partners (LPs) and assesses startups to invest in,...

  • The effects of emerging markets on economies through 2016

    Many financial analysts have abandoned all hope of an economic rebound in 2016. After starting the year with the 22.6% drop in the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the global economy took even more hits from economic struggles and protests in Venezuela, an economic slowdown in Nigeria, and the effects of a failed coup in Turkey. Now, with top-tier companies failing to hit estimated profit marks, stocks tumbling, and fiscal outlooks being lowered across the board, some analysts have taken to describing the global economy as downright "challenging," "fragile," and "grim." But despite the dreary headlines dominating the media as of late, most...

  • Thinking global: which language should startups choose?

    Acting as a global champion from the very beginning and doing business in international markets has never been easier for startups. Translation is a key driver for global success and opens doors to news markets. Language is capable of uniting very different ecosystems and helps startups to do business all around the globe. But which language shall be targeted? How many languages does my business need to know? Which languages are successful unicorns...

  • Startup Funding: Not Always Straightforward

    As with many things in life, there's the good, the creative, and the downright weird. Startup funding is no exception, as the following examples prove. Gamble BloomNation is an online flower marketplace, founded by CEO Farbod Shoraka and his team after trying of seeing only bland design online. David Daneshgar and Gregg Weisstein, friends and co-founders of Sharoka's, discussed the question of money. It was then that they realised the had access to a unique source of startup funding:  Daneshgar, who had won a number of events at the 2008 World Series of Poker. Returning to the game, he was able to...

  • Knowledge Base Africa launches bootcamp for entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe

    SME development organisation Knowledge Base Africa (KBA) is launching a bootcamp for entrepreneurs in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 2 to 4 September. The bootcamp will consist of 200 entrepreneurs who will be taught skills and given business toolkits to use with their startup. After which, 50 participants will be selected for a 12-month incubation programme hosted by KBA. According to the CEO of KBA Agnes Chikukwa-Hove: "While the SME sector is crucial to Africa’s growth, currently contributing more than 45% to employment and 33% to GDP, a large proportion of new businesses fail. This is often due to funding challenges, but also – and sometimes...

  • The leap into entrepreneurship: how and when women should make it

    I recently attended a Geek Girl Dinner, which raised, again, the extraordinary challenges of talking about women and entrepreneurship without getting sucked into a black and white discussion about how it 'should' be done. The topic for the evening was 'The Leap towards Entrepreneurship', with the panel made up of Aisha Pandor (co-founder of SweepSouth), Jess Mouneimne (founder of Jam Media), Richard Bezuidenhout (founder of e-magination) and Nwabisa Mayema (co-founder of nnfinity). It was an animated discussion with lots of differing opinions, all handled with grace and humour, about how important passion is, the nature of sacrifice when starting a business,...

  • Entrepreneurs: so, you want to make a contribution?

    An entrepreneur is someone who makes a contribution to the world as we know it. And for this, they get rewarded. Sometimes in kind, sometimes in love, and of course, sometimes in money. I know that many people in the world think that it is all about money, but I am going to challenge this view today. Making a contribution to the world does not always have a number or prize attached to it. Sometimes the rewards are not things we can see. 1. Characteristics Entrepreneurs always display the following 3 qualities: they are positive, they are curious and they are...