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  • Seedstars to launch digital academy in Lagos

    Global entrepreneurship organisation Seedstars has announced the launch of its first digital entrepreneurship academy in Lagos. The aim of the academy is to educate digital change-makers in Nigeria and enable them to spread the use of internet and digital technologies. This, Seedstars says, is aimed at helping the country combat its rampant youth unemployment rate, which according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) affects over 5.5 million individuals who are unemployed and over 12 million who are underemployed. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, a large part of the academy's mission is to address the...

  • Company Office

    Welcome to the Matrix: Mastering the art of Scenario Planning

    For entrepreneurs, one of the most frequently cited challenges is the task of having to juggle multiple demands on your time at any given moment. In my view, however, there is a task that is perhaps more taxing – and yet absolutely critical – that entrepreneurs have to tackle every day. It is the task of identifying and planning for multiple possible business scenarios in the midst of an ever-changing market environment. Smart scenario planning, in effect, is something that undoubtedly needs to be built into the fabric of your daily communications with the board, management and your team...

  • A Day in the Life of: Silvertree Capital VC Manuel Koser [Native Article]

    Cape Town-based Silvertree Capital kicked the year off on an epic note when it committed US$10-million towards internet companies on the African continent. The VC firm surely had good reason to so. Its portfolio has been boasting record growth over the last two years and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it had to move its office recently to accommodate a bigger crew. For the last edition of our A Day in the Life of… series, we're zooming in on the life of the VC -- Silvertree co-founder Manuel Koser. Before Silvertree Capital, Koser co-founded and served as co-CEO...

  • Absa bets on partnership with RainFin’s credit marketplace [Update]

    Fintech peer-to-peer funding institution RainFin, today announced a partnership with Absa bank, a member of Barclays Africa Group Limited, to offer RainFin's products to Absa customers. Although Absa already owns 49% equity in RainFin, the bank will now incorporate the online lending marketplace's offerings into its suite of products. This will allow the bank to offer SMEs unsecured working capital loans within 48 hours after application. CEO of RainFin, Sean Emery (pictured top left), says: "This is the first real example of how a bank in South Africa is embarking on a journey to incorporate something across the whole scale." According to Paul...

  • Knife Capital announces R100m fund to amplify more SA startups

    Renowned South African venture capital (VC) firm Knife Capital has launched a new investment fund called KNF Ventures. With a rather generous target of R100-million, the fund will invest in innovation-driven startups by providing tax incentives and high returns. The announcement also adds to an increase in confidence for South Africa's startups. Earlier this month, local ecommerce company Travelstart secured US$40-million from UK investors, while VC firm Silvertree Internet Holdings committed US$10-million investment to South African and African startups. "By leveraging knowledge, networks and funding, KNF Ventures will accelerate the growth of strategically relevant South African scale-up companies and generate enhanced...

  • Startups scramble to reform shipping industry

    Several industries are long overdue for a complete overhaul. Shipping ranks high among them. The way humans have been getting products from one place to another hasn’t changed much in more than a century. In fact, take away the changing nature of transportation and shipping doesn’t go anywhere both literally and figuratively. The advent of the Internet Age, however, is priming to change that or lack thereof. It’s just up to business leaders to take the lead and revolutionise the shipping industry for the 21st century. Admittedly this is a lofty goal—but that shouldn’t stop startups from making it their...

  • SA has some serious work to do when it comes to encouraging entrepreneurship

    South Africa's startups may be the silver lining to an otherwise gloomy economy, but there are nowhere near enough of them. Moreover, the country is falling behind the rest of the continent when it comes to tapping entrepreneurial potential. That's according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2015 Global Report, which shows that while 73% of adults in South Africa see entrepreneurship as a good career choice and around 45% of the working-age population feel they have the ability to start a business, just 9.2% go on to do so. In 2015, 62 economies around the world participated in...

  • MTN, Jumia to launch pan-African entrepreneurship challenge

    Mobile networks operator MTN and online shopping destination Jumia are launching the MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge. Participants will be competing for a US$25 000 cash prize for their startup idea. The event will be targeting more than 60 universities in 13 countries across Africa when students will be tasked with developing unique digital applications or smart solutions to a tangible problem faced in Africa. "We believe inspiration of new business leaders in Africa and their enablement to success, will be key drivers for the future rapid evolution of a broader start-up culture on the continent," says Herman Singh, MTN's group chief digital officer. He goes...

  • Jobox wants to change the South African freelancing market

    From graphic designers to personal chefs, micro job freelancing platform Jobox looks to change the way the freelance market in South Africa works. According to Darryn Rabec, co-founder of Jobox, the platform looks to serve as the central hub for freelance work, which is currently unsatisfied in the South African market. "The need for a platform of this nature is unmet in South Africa. International players do not adequately cater to the South African market. The biggest issues of using them being extremely inconvenient payout methods, foreign income tax complications, and currency conversion issues," says Rabec. Co-founded by Rabec and Sbusiso Buna,...

  • SA private equity gains despite national economic slowdown

    Looking for investment growth in South Africa? Well, private equity seems to be where most of the action is. A recent report by RisCura and Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) found that private equity continues to outperform listed equity over a ten-year period. By tracking data from September 2015, the report recently revealed that the South African private equity industry delivered a ten-year internal rate of return (IRR) of 20.7% in September 2015, down from 21.7% in June 2015, net of all fees and expenses. This performance compares with the 14.9% return from the JSE All...

  • How important is a monetary union for East African investments?

    African governments have been working to establish a monetary union for the past several years, and the benefits of such a move cannot be overstated. By 2024, the East African Community will have unprecedented cross-border exchange that will revolutionise member economies and foreign investment prospects. The system will spare investors the headaches and expenses of currency conversion, and that improvement alone will make the region more attractive. However, the East African Community should heed the eurozone’s economic troubles as it works toward implementing its own monetary union. Greece defaulted on US$1.7-billion in debt it owed the International Monetary Fund in 2015,...