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Startups

  • Telkom assists 40 black technician firms, helps set up 11 black Express dealers

    South African telecoms giant Telkom had in the year to end of March this year, procured R130-million in services from 40 black-owned technician businesses employing 364 people last year, said Telkom Futuremakers head Litha Kutta. In an email last week to Ventureburn, Kutta (pictured above) added that the telecoms company also helped build four black-owned Telkom Express stores, set up 11 black-owned dealers and supported 24 internet cafes, He said the aim is to set up black-owned sales and distribution partners to enable the telecoms company to diversify its revenue channels, penetrate the informal market, and enhance product access and brand visibility in...

  • Despite slow growth of tech ecosystem, those in Gambia remain optimistic

    Touching down at the Banjul International Airport, a first-time visitor would be impressed with the petit nature of the continent’s fifteenth least populated country. At the arrival lobby where the ATM machines are, several banners of telecoms companies encourage travellers to choose their network as preferred roaming service. Getting an active line is free at the airport and its activation takes few minutes of registration and Banjul’s streets and main roads are lined with billboards advertising various offerings by telecoms providers and internet service providers. With several operators and operational ISPs, one would expect basic tech devices such as the PoS machine...

  • State, private sector must partner to ride out Fourth Industrial Revolution – Zulu

    "The only way to ride the wave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is through partnership," Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said today at the announcement of a partnership between the state and a Cape Town incubator. The official announcement of Cape Town hardware technology incubator Savant's partnership with the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) follows an already two-year partnership between the two entities. The announcement was made at the incubator's offices in District Six, Cape Town. Zulu said the SEDA Technology Programme is one of her department's flagship programmes. She added that there was still a need to upscale support given by the government. She said that her department has chosen to...

  • Why website T&Cs, policies should be more than a link on your landing page

    Website operators and owners barely think about the terms and conditions hyperlink, and its destination content, lurking at the bottom of their website. They are, in fact, the essential agreements between you and your users, laying out everyone’s respective duties and rights in the Wild West of the internet. Unfortunately, these online contracts and terms of engagement are not, realistically speaking, given the same weight or gravitas as their real life counterparts due to the arms-length and removed nature of the online medium which they govern. This does not make them any less important though, because every single relationship you form with your...

  • FNB manager details six ways startups can improve their pitch to a corporate

    One of the worse things a tech entrepreneur looking to pitch to a corporate can do, is to send one liners to corporate managers asking for individuals to call them, says FNB's head of enterprise development Heather Lowe. "The bank is a business and as you would expect, it is not obliged to simply spend time and resources following up with no ends. Businesses need to take the pitch seriously from the onset," she says. Stakeholders are busy and quite often one has one chance to make an impression, says FNB head The advice is one of six tips she says startups should...

  • Don’t assume you know more about tech than those you pitch to – Clicks head

    Startups that pitch their apps or web platform to corporates should not assume that they are more knowledgeable technologically than those that they are pitching to. So says Amanda Graham, Head of Business Development at Clicks Group. This is one of the six "obvious" mistakes that startups pitching to corporates make, says Graham. The others include (among others) failing to read up on the company's existing products, assuming that the corporate does not have access to world benchmarks and presenting to the corporate why everything they are doing is wrong. Startups must not assume that they are more knowledgeable technologically than individuals that they are...

  • Startups must think twice about pivoting for corporates – MMI Holdings manager

    Startups that pitch to corporates should be wary about pivoting their business just to accommodate a corporate, if they risk losing focus on their initial values, cautions Carol Atkinson, the managing partner of Integration Exponential Ventures at MMI Holdings. This is one of Atkinson's key tips for startups looking to pitch their web platforms and apps to corporates such as MMI (which includes insurers Momentum). In her 17 years with MMI, Atkinson has been involved in diverse areas in the company -- from product design, to development and implementation. She previously headed up the group's SMME segment and has been working specifically in the disruptive innovation space...

  • Being strategic on cost cutting in a downturn can help startups to stand out

    In any downturn, operational expenses are the first thing that needs attention as businesses go into survival mode, however while curbing unnecessary expenditure is important, business owners need to balance this with tactics that enable them to grow and thrive on the upside. By being strategic and targeted on what you cut back and what you don’t, businesses can stand out from their competitors. A Harvard Business Review study on the impact of a downturn on businesses shows that those that use a combination of defensive and offensive strategies have a higher probability of survival. Finances and cutting expenses Many businesses go into crisis mode by...

  • Don’t tell Santam in pitch that you’re the first, unless you really are first

    So you have a great product you want to sell to a big corporate but sometimes you feel like you are number 1365 in the queue. How are you going to get that big company to notice you? When you talk to other startups you realise this is no easy process…. or is it? As Santam’s head of digital business, I’ve been working with startup companies for a number of years now. As a large insurance business, we recognise that innovation has become the only constant in a world where we’ve barely begun to comprehend the full implications of accelerated...

  • Solve real problems and never retire says Fundamo’s Hannes Van Rensburg

    When it comes to running a tech startup Hannes van Rensburg has seen and done it all. He even wrote a book called Cash in, Cash out, which documents the story behind Fundamo, the mobile payment platform which he sold to Visa in 2011 for $110-million. Van Rensburg (pictured right), who is also a trained nuclear physicist, gave some further insights on entrepreneurship at last week’s StartupGrind event held during the SA Innovation Summit at Cape Town Stadium. Here are his seven top insights: 1. Starting a business is not something to do likely, seriously, it can take a toll on you so do it...

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