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Startup news

  • SA space agency, Airbus launch challenge to find new uses for satellite data

    The South African National Space Agency (Sansa) and Airbus Defence and Space has launched an open innovation challenge to entrepreneurs, universities and other interested parties seeking homegrown and novel uses for earth observation data obtained by satellites. In a press release to Ventureburn, The Innovation Hub -- which is running the challenge -- said shortlisted submissions will be able to access support from specialists at Airbus Defence and Space, and Sansa. Top submissions would also receive access to the Airbus Defence and Space facilities in order to identify future commercial opportunities. The offer will include a site visit to Airbus Defence and...

  • Despite teething problems support for small business ‘firmly on track’ says Zulu

    South Africa's small business minister Lindiwe Zulu says three years on since the formation of her department -- which was again criticised by opposition members yesterday for doing little to help the sector -- the government's support for the small business sector remains “firmly on track”. Delivering her department's budget vote in Parliament yesterday, Zulu said despite "teething problems" and a budget which is "far below" what is needed to boost the sector, the department had made a difference to small business support in the country. "Because of our collective and concerted efforts, the majority of our citizens now appreciate the value and contribution of small...

  • 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...

  • Department to help co-operatives, startups to go digital says Zulu

    The Department of Small Business Development aims to help startups and co-operatives to adopt digital technology to grow, Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu told MPs today. Presenting the Department of Small Business Development's budget vote in Parliament today, Zulu said her department will help entrepreneurs to build the right digital capabilities. "The 4th Industrial Revolution, characterised by digitisation and automation, is gaining momentum. It will fundamentally change the way is which we live, work, transact and trade. "It thus stands to reason that the small business and co-operatives sector must future-proof their core business offerings and business models, in order to be part of a...

  • 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...

  • African startups clinch €10k, trip to Canadian event at Innotribe challenge

    The Innotribe Startup Challenge in partnership with SWIFT’s African Regional Conference concluded yesterday in Abidjan, with three fintech companies walking away with cash prizes and more. The three winners are: Irofit Technologies -- which provides a mobile point of sale that helps small businesses process card payments in real time even during poor internet connections. Sokowatch -- with its SMS ordering system that provides a distribution channel for companies to reach smaller retailers. Vugapay -- which helps mobile-money merchants across Africa to get paid. Aside from claiming a cash prize of €10,000 each, the three winners have been invited to attend Sibos, SWIFT's global financial services conference,...

  • 87% of SMEs in SA prefer to work with tech-savvy accountants – report

    More than four in five SMEs prefer to work with accountants who understand technology, according to a survey of over 600 South African accountants and SME owners conducted by Xero, in partnership with World Wide Worx. Most accountants (88%) think that in-depth knowledge of technology and automation will be crucial to the success of the profession within the next three years. Professionals will need to upskill, and 80% of accountants acknowledge that they’ll need some kind of training in the next five years to adapt. Respondents identified mobile technologies (59%), automation (29%) and AI (22%) as some of the most exciting new innovations, although...

  • ‘SA should look to Israel as lesson in boosting entrepreneurial ecosystem’

    Israel's success as a startup nation can be attributed to the notion of "if you don’t have it, you either go without it or innovate, invent, and do better". So says Carel De Wet, the general manager of cloud service vendor iCloudius. He was talking at Salesforce's "What Western Cape’s Tech companies should learn from Tel Aviv’s Startup Nation" event, held at Workshop 17 in Cape Town today. "It’s not as if they have better technology than we do. It’s not that we don’t have the same resources or the skill... We just need to take it to the next level," says De...

  • Department to look into setting up sovereign innovation fund – Pandor

    The Department of Science and Technology plans to this year develop a business case for the setting up of a sovereign innovation fund, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said today in Cape Town. Delivering her budget vote address today in Parliament Pandor said her department would work together with the departments of trade and industry, as well as economic development and small business development and other interested parties on compiling the business case. She said the fund is a priority for public-private funding partnerships aimed at commercialising innovations from the public and the private sector. Pandor added that this year the Technology Innovation...

  • Economic, political malaise has dented SA’s entrepreneurial spirit – GEM report

    South Africa has been well known for its entrepreneurial spirit. The incredible successes of businesses like Discovery, Black Like Me, Nandos and most recently, Get Smarter, have encouraged many South Africans to see starting their own businesses as a desirable goal. But it’s not enough. This year's Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) – which annually surveys the state of entrepreneurship in over 60 countries  – has revealed that significantly fewer South Africans believe that they have either the opportunity or the capability to start their own business. The study found that only 37.9% of South Africans believe that they have the required skills...