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  • Entrepreneurs, investors: innovating and funding startups in SA

    A recent panel, entitled Unleashing Entrepreneurial Innovation in South Africa, at the Road to the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, yielded some interesting remarks from its participants about SA startups, entrepreneurs, and investors. The panel consisted of moderator Nic Haralambous, founder of Nicharry; Greg McDonald, fund manager at Edge Growth; Ian Merrington, CEO of Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi); Antonia Norman, CEO of Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship; Toro Orero, managing partner at Draper Dark Flow. Innovation and copying in SA Haralambous posed the first question to the rest of the panel, asking there are a lot of innovative ideas and if funding...

  • 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...

  • Bureaux Black: take a look at Cape Town’s new high-end co-working space

    Cape Town has its fair share of co-working spaces, catering to the city's startups, freelancers, and anyone else who needs a bit of flexibility in their working environment. Each of them offers something different, including the latest entrant into the space: Bureaux Black. The penthouse office suites, managed by The Bureaux, are located in Sea Point and are meant for people looking for something a little more sophisticated than your average co-working environment. “We’ve designed premium private office suites and luxury office space for professionals, travelling executives and independent consultants who require an impressive, functional fully-serviced space with no...

  • 3 of Africa’s top fintech startups heading to Switzerland for global showcase

    Three African fintech startups will be winging their way to Geneva in September after they were named the winners of the 2016 Innotribe Startup Challenge for Africa. The event, which took place this week in Mauritius this week, forms part of SWIFT’s African Regional Conference (ARC). Winners of this year’s challenge received a US$10 000 cash prize and invitations to attend Sibos, SWIFT’s annual global financial services conference, taking place from 26-29 September in Geneva. The startups will have the opportunity to share the stage with FinTech experts, providing great insights on innovation happening across Africa to...

  • 5 Nigerian startups with seriously disruptive capabilities

    ‘Disruptive’ is a powerful word, because it’s not really about a startup that is making money or one that is able to get millions of users. Instead, a disruptive startup is one that is groundbreaking and innovative. Prior to 2015, Nigeria’s startups had largely been founded by developers who had ideas and believed they could make money from such. And so far, several of them have been able to develop tech products that are still profitable – even before the advent of ecommerce. “Even though many foreigners and local investors think of ecommerce giants Jumia and Konga when they talk...

  • 2 days left to apply for Telkom FutureMakers InnoTech Programme

    If you've got a startup that's still in the 'concept' stage and want to make it a reality, you might want to take a look at the Telkom FutureMakers InnoTech Programme. You'd better hurry though as applications for the intensive ‘from concept to market’ process, run at the Woodstock Bandwidth Barn, Telkom’s Cape Town FutureHub close on Friday, 20 May. InnoTech begins in June 2016. The first eight weeks are your ‘Pitch Deck Journey’, addressing your business fundamentals and getting you pitching-strong. Those businesses that progress through phase 1 will go through an MVP bootcamp before entering phase 2,...

  • MEST out to recruit SA-based entrepreneurs

    When it comes to entrepreneurship, MEST is one of the most important organisations on the African continent. The Accra-based incubator equips tech entrepreneurs to compete in the pan-African mobile space and to scale globally. As we reported earlier this year, the accelerator has opened up its programme to South Africans for the first time. It's a programme that appears to be worth joining too. Admitted applicants receive a full scholarship to a one-year entrepreneurial training program that blends an MBA-type education with hands-on training in software development. During the program, students form into teams, develop a product, write business plans,...

  • This competition is giving R2.5m in seed-funding to innovators

    If you're working on an idea that you think will change the world, then you might want to have a look at the GAP Innovation Competitions. The competitions -- organised by the Gauteng Accelerator Programme and hosted by the Innovation Hub in Pretoria -- are looking for innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs that are working on novel ideas that will improve the efficiency of government service delivery, increase the competitiveness of the local economy and enhance the quality of life of ordinary citizens. Categories are in the ICT, Medical, Biosciences and Green economy. Winners of GAP 2016 will share over R2.5...

  • This clever UK urban gardening startup could be very useful in SA

    South Africa's urban population is growing rapidly. At the same time, a variety of factors have seen the price of fresh produce shoot up dramatically over the past few years. An obvious solution is to grow your own food, but many city dwellers don't have gardens, or even balconies where they can grow that produce. It's a difficult problem to be sure, but one UK-based startup may have an answer. The Bristol-based startup, called LettUs Grow, produces soil free urban gardens for growing salad vegetables within the home. The gardens are lit using LED lighting and use automated, soilless,...

  • The unstoppable rise of African fintech is rapidly changing the way Africans transact

    Fintech is disrupting the way ordinary Africans manage and use money. And these fintech players are standing up to traditional institutions as a force to be reckoned with. Accenture estimates that over one-third of mainstream financial services’ revenue is at risk due to disruption in the industry from fintech. Many reports show how the rapid development of African fintech, which exploded in the years following the 2008 global meltdown, is threatening established players in the mainstream financial services sector. Africa is fertile ground for new fintech services which are leveraging the power of communities and social media to make financial services...

  • 5 crucial things investors should know about timing the investment cycle

    Understanding where we may be in an investment cycle is difficult but worth the effort. Trying to time an investment cycle, however, is nearly impossible. For early stage investing, in particular, there are some important points to consider when thinking about the investment cycle. Timing a moving target While markets move up and down, each cycle is different. In particular, people are usually responding to what happened in the previous cycle. This includes both market participants, who tend to overweight recent events, and the regulators, who make rules to deal with the problems of the previous cycle. As a whole, markets are...