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  • Here’s who’ll be competing for top prize at the MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge [update]

    Update: added infographic for the challenge The MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge, powered by Jumia, on Wednesday announced its top three finalists. Whittled down from a field of more than 700 entries, the three finalists beat out competitors from 26 countries across Africa. The challenge, which aims to boost entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as build a stronger and more sustainable business environment on the continent, kicked off in February, and is a joint initiative between MTN, Jumia and the MTN Solution Space based at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. Through the entrepreneurship challenge, students were invited to develop a unique...

  • Company Office

    Be good at being wrong… and getting it right quickly

    Even the best entrepreneurs get things wrong from time to time. Launching a business is a learning process, and you are bound to go down dead ends and change direction here and there, says CEO of Nomanini, Vahid Monadjem.  One of our investors, Esther Dyson, has the words “Always make new mistakes!” in her email footer. Being wrong is pretty much unavoidable when you’re doing something new. You have to work with a mixture of facts and assumptions. You don’t have a crystal ball, but you have to take a view. And even if a solution or a strategy is...

  • These 15 startups are vying for victory at African Utility Week

    From 17 to 19 May, leading players in the African water, energy, and electricity spaces will converge on the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) for African Utility Week. Joining them will be 15 startups -- ranging from an Aquaponic farming outfit and a geyser switch company to makers of data gathering software -- for the conference's Innovation Hub. The finalists will each receive a free exhibition stand within the Innovation Hub area for the duration of the three-day exhibition and showcase their developments or inventions through live presentations. Four of the entrants have also earned speaking slots in...

  • Big ego equals bad relationships

    ego ˈiːɡəʊ,ˈɛ-/ noun a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance."he needed a boost to his ego" synonyms: self-esteem, self-importance, self-worth, self-respect, self-conceit, self-image, self-confidence; amour propre"he needed a boost to his ego" Developing relationships whether online or offline carry a fine balance of give and take. Good relationships are symbiotic with both parties deriving some form of value. All to often, the ego becomes a disruptive force, resulting in a failed relationship. Here are five things to consider. 1. Put others first In all relationships you develop with others, make a point of always putting the other person first. From the very first time you meet...

  • 5 important indicators of performance every small business should track

    If you don’t measure your small business’s performance, you won’t be able to improve it. There are a range of indicators that you can use to measure your company’s growth and help you to determine whether your business is on track, as well as help you to meet your business goals. Here are a few indicators to determine how well your business is doing, as well as some tools that you can use to help. 1. Web Traffic Most small businesses today have a website and possibly even e-commerce capabilities. Use tools such as Google Analytics (it’s free) to measure...

  • Should more SA pension funds invest in private equity?

    Pensions in are an incredibly sensitive subject. Earlier this year -- relatively minor -- retirement reforms in Southern African caused wide-spread panic. That was largely to do with people's ability to access their pension funds in the way they want. But if the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) is to be believed, there's room for improvement in the way funds invest people's pensions too. According to the association, the allocation by pension funds in Southern Africa to private equity remains limited and few pension funds in South Africa have taken advantage of the increased allocations...

  • 8 key factors affecting your ecommerce platform’s SEO

    For each and every website owner, SEO is the most critical aspect. However, very few know its importance as far as ecommerce marketplaces are concerned. Studies have suggested that 44% of all online purchases begin with an online search. This means that every other order placed on your ecommerce store originates from search results. Despite this, most business owners are not aware of necessary SEO features while looking for an ecommerce platform. While some of these platforms offer just basic SEO features, others charge a premium for add-on options. Why is SEO important for ecommerce platforms? Let us look at an example...

  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [18/04/2016]

    Looking to get into the South African startup scene or scratch up on some of your skills? Well, you’ve come to the right place. There are loads of competitions, networking sessions and workshops happening around South Africa and the rest of the continent (namely Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana) that we’ve rounded up to make your life a bit easier. This article is part of a weekly series that highlights all the top startup competitions, networking sessions, workshops and conferences around South Africa, and the greater region. If you have any event recommendations for us to add to the list, or...

  • Internet Solutions launches startup package

    Pan African telecoms service provider Internet Solutions recently announced the launch of IGNITE, a suite of technology solutions specifically aimed at startups. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the IGNITE package allows smaller, up-and-coming companies access to ICT infrastructure which rivals that afforded by big business. This infrastructure, it says, includes fast, easy, and affordable access to internet, billing, employee management and communications services. With the right digital tools, we believe that SMEs can be just as efficient, connected and productive as corporates with large ICT budgets, if not more so,” says Tony Koutakis, Executive Head: IGNITE....

  • 5 business hiccoughs tech startups need to be prepared for

    Just like all great things take time to materialize, so does the success of a tech startup. Of course, it will also require tremendous effort and the hope that, at the end of the day, things will pan out the way you desired. The first step to a successful and sustainable startup is starting it right. This comes with its fair share of trials and tribulations. There will be several factors to consider such as acquiring capital, improving your credit score, managing the operational costs, handling resources, and generally everything that goes into delivering high customer value. These factors...

  • You aren’t good enough: what I learned from defying average

    “You aren’t good enough”. That’s the message that’s been drilled into the majority of our heads from the day we started school. Every report card, every teacher instilling the fear of failure, and every student number doing exactly that - stating that you’re just a number. At school every report I received confirmed that I was average. I was always two percent above or below the grade average. Without fail, my teachers would put how average I am into writing: “Jacques can do better… I’m disappointed in him”. I even had teachers tell me how much I’m not like...