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Entrepreneurship

  • Lulalend CEO on fairer finance opportunities for small businesses

    As we’ve mentioned before, SMEs are the lifeblood of the South African economy – providing for over 60% of employment across the country. But it’s not easy being a small business and trying to grow when there are constant hurdles that you have to navigate around. According to a recent report commissioned by The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) one of the many challenges, and probably the biggest of all, is access to finances and credit. The struggle has always been that traditional lenders are risk averse and the reality is that small businesses are a high risk. Because of their...

  • Is market research a lost art for entrepreneurs?

    In decades past, entrepreneurs didn't have nearly as much access to data and information. Yet, that didn't seem to stop them from doing market research. They would pore over whatever information they had and tirelessly seek out more. The roles seem to be reversed today. There's more information circulating around the internet than ever before, yet it seems like fewer entrepreneurs are taking the time to determine market viability prior to launching startups. Market research matters Launching and growing a successful business can ultimately be simplified down to two key components. First, you need a valuable product or service that satisfies a...

  • The startup dead zone and how to avoid it

    The 'dead zone'... This is the purgatory where startups are either cleansed of their inability to serve the needs of their respective markets or they, like most startups, die a painful death. This is a familiar and very dangerous place to be in because it could literally make or break your venture. Based purely on my limited experience in the startup realm, the dead zone can be defined as any prolonged period of time where your early-stage startup makes money but experiences little to no growth. What makes this zone exceptionally dangerous for startups is that you get fooled into...

  • 4 factors to consider before signing with an accelerator

    If you were starting a business 20 years ago, you'd typically spend most of your time running around town searching for customers, investors, and mentors. In a single day, you might only have time for one meeting with a customer and another with an investor. If you were lucky, you could squeeze in a meeting with a mentor. Carving out time to work on your actual product generally meant sacrificing sleep. In the mid-2000s, accelerators such as Y Combinator and Techstars changed the startup world. Instead of founders having to go out to visit mentors, investors, and customers, accelerators made it possible for these...

  • I launched 5 startups in 2016. Here’s why, how, and what I learned

    This year I launched five startups from nowhere. Here, I’ll tell you how it happened; how I ended up venture building before I knew what a venture builder was, how I manage to get through two lawsuits in the space of six months, and how I raised US$7 million without telling investors what they were investing in. How I began Towards the end of 2014, the Malaysian property market was looking as dead as a dodo, (not good for my property development company), so I started looking for something to keep myself busy. My last tech venture had been back in 2010...

  • 10 defining moments that shaped the 2016 SA startup ecosystem

    2016 was the year where fake news was real and real news was fake. We endured motions of no confidence, the Saxonwold Shebeen, inverted Springbok rugby records, sticky Board members, rogue units, rogue presidents, Trump cards, prophets of doom, doomed profits and a cold and broken Hallelujah! But you gotta have faith… Through it all South African entrepreneurs held their heads up high, focused on execution and kept grinding out growth strategies. While access to risk capital is always a scarcity, local startup investors continued to back these entrepreneurs. With our politicians constantly negotiating with themselves, someone had to...

  • 5 traits that define entrepreneurial success

    Being your own boss can be an exciting prospect. But do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? Although there is no "one size fits all" theory for entrepreneurial success, there are certain characteristics that are essential in becoming a successful entrepreneur. All successful business magnets, from Enzo Anselmo Ferrari to William Henry 'Bill' Gates, share some common traits with one another. Here are five key characteristics that you must possess - or develop - to realise your entrepreneurship dream successfully. 1. Resilience & Adaptability The entrepreneurial journey is expected to dish out one challenge after another - not...

  • Start Here: a book for entrepreneurs by Roger Norton [Part 2]

    In part one of our coverage of the entrepreneurial book, Start Here: A Quick Guide to Building Startups, we spoke to author Roger Norton about his work. Norton was also kind enough to allow us to publish an extract from the book as well. As mentioned in the previous piece, it's not often that entrepreneurs write books based on their experiences. Norton has done just that with Start Here, which lists the steps that entrepreneurs need to follow in order to take their idea to a business. Over the years, Norton has founded two startups, worked with 10 others, and has been involved...

  • Start Here: a book for entrepreneurs by Roger Norton [Part 1]

    It's not often that entrepreneurs write books about their experiences; a strange thing considering the wealth of knowledge they accumulate over the years. South African entrepreneur Roger Norton has decided to do just that with his book Start Here: A Quick Guide to Building Startups. Over the years, Norton has founded two startups, worked with 10 others, and has been involved with the Silicon Cape Initiative. He currently heads up startup studio Playlogix. In Start Here, Norton writes about all of the steps that entrepreneurs need to follow in order to take their idea to a business. An interview with Roger Norton Ventureburn had a chance...

  • Funding your startup: Ventureburn lists the SA investors that are delivering

    For entrepreneurs wanting to find early-stage funding, this is the article for you. As there is generally a veil of secrecy surrounding funding and startups, there is often smoke and mirrors in the industry, with many claiming to be "investors".  Ventureburn has sifted through the South African landscape and brought you the investors that are putting the money where their mouths are, and investing in the startup industry. Make sure to keep checking back on this article. We will constantly be updating it with new funds as the startup space grows in South Africa. Also, with your comments and suggestions we hope...