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  • Q&A: Africa’s mobile money ecosystem and its opportunities for startups

    Ninety-nine percent of high school fees in the Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) in 2015-2016 were paid via mobile money, while M-KOPA and Fenix International have sold over 600 000 home solar power kits in East Africa via mobile phone as of April. These are just two interesting insights provided by Gerry Rasugu (pictured above), GSMA’s mobile money market engagement director for Africa and the Middle East. Rasugu spoke to Ventureburn following a report that the international mobile operator association released earlier this month. More innovation in mobile money is taking place in those markets with enabling regulatory frameworks Ventureburn: To what extent would you say the growth...

  • Company Office

    Bookmark Awards 2016 Entry Series: Emerging Digital Technologies and Channels

    With the deadline for entries to the prestigious IAB SA Bookmark Awards extended to 30 November, digital marketers have one last opportunity to enter and do battle for the industry’s most coveted awards across eight categories, of which the Emerging Digital Technologies and Channels category is one. The Bookmark Awards celebrate the country’s most creative and high-impact digital executions and rewards excellence in digital advertising and publishing work, benchmarked against the highest international standards. “The Emerging Digital Technologies and Channels category acknowledges the trailblazers in our industry, who are not only challenging the boundaries of what is currently possible, but finding...

  • Looking to go global? Start-Up Chile opens applications for new cohort

    Startups looking to base themselves in Chile and benefit from funding and accelerator support have until 5 September to apply to join Start-Up Chile's latest cohort. Applications for the six-month acceleration programme's Generation 19 opened last week Tuesday. Early-stage entrepreneurs from around the world who will contribute to Chile’s startup ecosystem can apply. Start-Up Chile will announce the names of those selected for the next cohort on 1 December and the programme will start in February. Startups that are selected will get access to a $30 000 equity-free grant, receive a one year work visa, have up to 90% of programme costs covered by Start-Up Chile and benefit from a free...

  • Two years on tax exemption for grants to small businesses fails to take off

    More than two years after it came into effect, a tax exemption for entities approved by the SA Revenue Services (Sars) that provide grant funding to small businesses has failed to take off. The tax exemption has been in effect since March 2015, yet only a single entity has applied for and received approval from Sars commissioner Tom Moyane (pictured above, left with Finance minister Malusi Gigaba) to operate as a small business funding entity. Under Section 10 (1) (cQ) of the Income Tax Act such entities that provide small businesses, including startups, with grants have since March 2015 been exempt from paying tax. The provision was included in the...

  • Small Business Corporation regime takes sting out of tax on those early profits

    Tax season is open - and the SA Revenue Service (Sars) is on a mission this year. Fiscal budgets are under immense pressure. South Africa's political and economic circumstances has seen an exodus of both tax payers and taxable assets. Many wealth management firms make a living purely from helping high net worth individuals move their income-generating assets abroad. It means that tax paying entities operating in South Africa will be under more scrutiny this year than ever before. The 2017 tax season for individuals opened at the beginning of this month. The company provisional tax deadline follows close behind it. As business owner,...

  • TIA-backed startups have two weeks left to apply for Young Enterprise Initiative

    Young South African entrepreneurs who have received support or funding from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) have two weeks left to apply for the Young Enterprise Initiative South Africa (YEI South Africa) 2017 programme. Applications close on 7 August. The programme, held by the French Embassy in South Africa and TIA aims to provide four South African startups with an opportunity to develop and grow in France. To be eligible for support applicants have to have companies that are at the early-revenue or pre-commercialisation stage that have been funded by TIA or that have participated in one of the agency's programmes. In an announcement last week on the French Embassy...

  • Grotech rebranding as Kalon Venture Partners to avoid marketplace confusion

    South African Section 12J venture capital (VC) company Grotech has rebranded as Kalon Venture Partners. Kalon CEO Clive Butkow said the rebranding was to avoid being seen as associated with another Section 12J VC company, Grovest. "The confusion in the marketplace was that we were an offshoot of Grovest and that's where the initial idea for a rebrand came from," explained Butkow. This, he added, was partly driven by Malcom Segal being chairman of both companies. In addition Butkow is a non-executive director of Grovest. He said Segal will continue to chair Kalon. Another factor driving the rebrand was that when the company was...

  • Top startup events in South Africa, Africa you should know about this week [24/07/2017]

    Looking to get into the South African startup scene or catch 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...

  • SA, Ghanaian startup shortlisted for Swiss-based Kickstart Accelerator

    South African startup Libryo and Ghanaian startup Farmerline have been selected for Swiss-based Kickstart Accelerator’s second cohort of 30 startups which hail from around the world. The announcement was made by Kickstart Accelerator on Wednesday. Libryo, a legal platform which enables organisations to understand their legal obligations, and Farmerline, an information service for small-scale farmers in Africa, will take part in the 11-week programme in Zurich from 4 September to 17 November. The second cohort has been divided into four verticals, namely: fintech, smart cities and robotics and intelligent systems. Adel Raslan, who handles publics relations on behalf of Kickstart, told Ventureburn that 10% of the applications...

  • HeePD to launch coding academy for people living with disabilities

    People with disabilities in Cape Town will be able to access free training in coding, with the expected launch next month of a local coding academy. The Hub Employment Ecosystems for People with Disabilities (HeePD), a commercial enterprise started in February, is working with partners to launch CoD - Ability Academy for People with Disabilities at the Open Design Festival between 13 and 25 August. The academy for people with disabilities will offer training in HTML, Java and C+. HeePD founder Riad Masoet, who has multiple sclerosis, told Ventureburn that HeePD will partner with various coding partners to establish the academy. Masoet did not want to say yet...

  • Innovator taps over R220 000 in support from CSIR grassroots programme

    Nkosana Madi has been able to tap over R220 000 in training and support from a Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) programme that aims to help innovators from townships and rural areas. Madi (pictured above), who is from KwaThema near Springs in Gauteng, has developed a motorised bike, the Fla'va. He says the CSIR, through its Grassroots Innovators Programme, is helping to fund an auto-CAD and design-modelling course he is undertaking. Since July last year the CSIR has also provided him with an engineer to advise him on the kinds of tools he should use to manufacture the bike and has...