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  • Reframing and solving the right problem: why it’s so important for entrepreneurs

    Bernard Roth is the co-founder and academic director of Stanford University's d.school. He recently presented at Stanford's eCorner a talk called: reframing problems and getting honest. I was so struck by the importance of the talk for entrepreneurs (and non-entrepreneurs) that I thought I should summarise the key points in a blog, but also publish the talk itself (see below). Read the summary if you like, but the video is definitely worth watching. From an entrepreneurial perspective, we face problems and challenges practically everyday. Although there seems to be a never-ending supply of support on the web or from experts,...

  • 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...

  • 5 tips to keep your employees from burning out

    If there are people who work extremely hard it has to be entrepreneurs. These people can put in serious hours of work time and not feel like they have done enough. There are those people who just want to show up at the office at nine in the morning and leave before five. The moment you own your business and you want to achieve something from it, you will work yourself like a donkey. The reason for working hard could be a motivation to attain success or simply to avoid failure. The most surprising thing is that some people...

  • 10 great merchant account providers (that aren’t PayPal and Google Wallet)

    When your ecommerce dreams are new and you aren’t yet sure how to run an online store, it makes sense that you would use the most popular online payment services providers on the web. Indeed, Paypal and Google Wallet offer some interesting and exciting merchant services when you have no clue what you need or how you want your shop to function. However, after a few months, most people in the ecommerce industry become frustrated with the titans of the internet: Paypal is outrageously expensive, Google’s customer service is atrocious, and both have clunky interfaces that rarely mesh well...

  • 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...

  • 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...