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  • BitHub launches to help incubate SA’s bitcoin startups

    Cryptocurrency is a hot topic and the talking point on everyone's lips. Bitcoin has existed for a few years but is starting to make its way into the mainstream market. In South Africa, ecommerce giants Raru and Takealot has been some of the first major retailers to accept bitcoin as a payment method via payment gateway, PayFast. Launched this week, BitHub is a new space geared towards digital currency innovation based in Woodstock, Cape Town. According to Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi, one of BitHub's goals the incubation of cryptocurrency startups. One of the ideas is to line up innovators with banks...

  • Company Office

    SA consumers doing their product homework before purchase

    At a time when most consumers are spending conservatively, with a hawkish eye on every last Rand, value for money has become paramount. Long gone are the days when people sign on to mobile contracts on a whim, or buy insurance products at the behest of a smiling salesman. With deep-seated economic and political uncertainty prevailing, consumers are looking to inform themselves as best they can before spending a cent. “The good news for sceptical South Africans is that a host of new and sophisticated digital tools are coming online, giving people much-needed access to information,” says Ryan Marx, CEO...

  • This is why I won’t run another startup

    Earlier this year, I closed my startup. So now I get to reflect on what I’d have done differently. Hindsight is unfair and inaccurate, but I still enjoy its lessons. This is one, a note to my future self: "Don’t call your projects ‘startups’". It’s a semantic trick, but a really important one. Here’s why. Startups have become a commodity in an industry of startup conferences, websites, courses and competitions. As founders of young organisations, we struggle to distinguish genuine guidance and support from the distracting pizzazz of the startup industry, where we’re just the product, not the customer. Lured...

  • 5 women entrepreneurs from Africa to keep an eye on

    Africa is often viewed as a destitute region consumed by war, famine and disease. These are all very real facts and we are not here to minimise their severity. However, we do want to shed some light on the immense potential that some of these countries are showing. And this potential is in part due to the sheer force and determination of African women (over 520 million on the continent!) We all know that women are born fighters. They fight for their rights, for their children and for their future. From a 20-year-old who manufactures bikes with Ghanaian bamboo, to...

  • Ghana’s student app startup Flippy Campus is going to DEMO Africa 2015

    Flippy Campus, a made-in-Ghana product that aims to improve students' campus experience has become one of the first startups that will be pitching to investors at the one of the continent’s biggest startup event, DEMO Africa, held later this year in Lagos, Nigeria. The Flippy Campus team emerged the most outstanding startup among the ten that participated in the DEMO Africa pre-pitch event in Accra. According to the organisers, Flippy Campusu stood out and the team was able to convince the jury on their ability to link innovation, creativity and scalability. Students that follow Flippy Campus channels can access campus events...

  • Self-awareness is key contributor to entrepreneurial growth

    Most challenges around small business tend to revolve around figuring out the technical dynamics of the company or the market it's operating in, but too often than not, is the understanding of one's own character put under the microscope. Self-awareness -- a conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives, and desires -- contributes extensively to the success of an entrepreneurial business, says Busi Raphekwane who's a senior business mentor at South Africa-based incubator The Hope Factory. Founded in 2001, The Hope Factory is an established enterprise and supplier development, non-profit organisation. It's driven to develop black business owners, with...

  • Why Africa’s ‘largest retailer’ Jumia calls itself a startup

    In February, I put Nigeria’s two leading ecommerce giants Jumia Nigeria and Konga to the test. The results showed some concerns about the quality of customer care and order tracking services being offered by Jumia. Last Thursday, on the sideline of a major event held at the Main Auditorium of the University of Lagos, I spoke to Jonathan Doerr who's the managing director of Jumia Nigeria on the company that he describes as the largest ecommerce platform in Africa -- and the continent’s largest retailer. Even though many Africans see Jumia as a very big ecommerce company that is competing...

  • Enter your app into the MTN Business App of the Year Awards

    Entries for the annual MTN Business App of the Year Awards are now open. This year the awards will be focusing on categories rather than platforms, which is a change to form since the event first started back in 2012. MTN Business's competition has crowned many successful apps over the years, with startups like SnapScan and Wildlife Tracker to the big guys like FNB's banking app, Health ID from Discovery and DStv's Supersport app. Entries for the awards will close on the 26 June and can be submitted on the MTN App of the Year website. The final ceremony will take...

  • Travelstart’s Flapp wants to be the go-to tool for SA’s busiest flight route

    Flapp -- a portmanteau of Flight App -- is online travel booking site Travelstart's entry into the app market. The recently released app is touted as "the two tap booking app" for Cape Town to Johannesburg flights and vice versa. According to Travelstart, Flapp has been designed to specifically cover the two-hour Cape Town to Johannesburg route, which is among the busiest in the world. It will not be a spin-off of Travelstart, but rather its own brand with its own target audience. The company found that last year 43% of bookings for the route were booked under a week in advance,...

  • 5 effective communication tools every SME needs in the bag

    Regardless of the size of your company or how long you have been in operation, it is essential that you have communication tools in place that will allow you to better connect with your employees, vendors, and customers. Efficient and reliable business communication tools will lead to productive interpersonal relationships, successful resolutions of customer service issues, and effective marketing campaigns. A successful business will also understand that effective communication will rely on tailoring messages and services to obtain maximum results. Email Hosting Provider Many people prefer email communication over picking up the phone to make a simple phone call, so it is...

  • BitHub launches this week to help drive digital currency innovation in SA

    Digital currency innovation is getting hot in Africa. As we saw at the first-ever Bitcoin Africa Conference earlier this year, innovation is being seeing everywhere, from the remittances space and anti-piracy industry, to forward-thinking utility meters and smart grids. In order to harness and leverage these technologies, the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) will be launching a new space dedicated to digital currency innovation at the Bandwidth Barn in South Africa this week. Ian Merrington, the CEO of the Cape Town tech incubator, explains the value this space will bring to the digital currency space: BitHub will be the physical space where coders, designers...