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  • Is forcing banks to lend to SMEs a good idea?

    India's reserve bank recently introduced new measures under its long existing priority sector lending policy that mandate banks to lend a minimum percentage of their net credit to small businesses. But is forcing banks to lend to small firms such a good thing? Under the new rules, announced in April, banks must by March next year ensure that they lend a minimum of seven percent of their net credit to small businesses and a minimum of 7.5% by March 2017. For banks it means more work. They will have to continue to ensure that a total of 40% of their...

  • Seedstars World crowns mobile employment service Giraffe SA’s top startup

    Johannesburg-based employment company Giraffe has just bagged itself a ticket to Geneva, Switzerland where it will take a shot at the US$500 000 equity prize in 2016. The achievement comes after Giraffe was crowned the top South African startup by Seedstars World 2015 -- a global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets. The winning startup is behind a mobile platform that helps connect employees with employers across the country. Two months after it launched in January this year, the startup has connected 10 000 jobseekers with over 1 000 employers. Speaking to Shafin Anwarsha who's Giraffe's co-founder, he explains that the recognition...

  • PriceCheck’s Andre de Wet proves that a door-to-door salesman can make it big

    "Students all have money," said PriceCheck's Andre de Wet, who sold denim jackets while studying Medicine in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Inspired by his father, De Wet sold his first business at the age of 27. The South African entrepreneur traveled the world, worked in Singapore and London but always made his way back to his home country. He came back to a market he reckons is ripe for innovation and one that he's definitely going to take advantage of. Today, he's heading up one of South Africa's most popular mobile ecommerce companies which he's grown from four to 41 employees in...

  • Endeavour South Africa accelerator celebrates success rate at JSE

    The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), in association with Endeavor South Africa, recently showcased the success rate of its early-stage, black-owned businesses -- some of which have doubled their number of employees over two years. Endeavor is an initiative which supports over 1 000 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from nearly 700 companies across the 23 markets where it operates. Over the last 10 years, it has identified and supported more than 60 high-growth entrepreneurs. It's also developed the Excelerator programme, which works with black-owned businesses. Selected founders for the Endeavor Excelerator Programme in 2012 gained access to a business road map, an advisory board,...

  • Kenyan bitcoin startup wins $100k Bill & Mellinda Gates Foundation Grant

    Kenyan bitcoin startup Bitsoko recently won a Grand Challenges Explorations grant worth US$100 000. It went on to announce it will be sponsoring a Blockchain Events Series in Nairobi, Kenya. According to the Bitsoko website, The Blockchain Event Series will consist of six events held monthly at the iHub innovation hub. The aim is focus on Blockchain education, networking, and opportunities for local startups. The event wants to help local startups innovate the industry. It will also feature speakers from local and international blockchain communities. Attendees will receive a small amount of Bitcoin at the start of each event, which should help them...

  • Why communities work best for innovation in Africa

    With more and more South African entrepreneurs starting businesses in response to the country’s unique challenges, it’s no wonder that, out of the 30 entrepreneurs on Forbes’s recent Africa’s Most Promising Entrepreneurs list, seven come from South Africa. If innovation is the key to unlocking solutions for South Africa, what are we doing to nurture it? The business of small businesses in South Africa is booming. Startups are popping up everywhere with innovative, outside-of-the-box business ideas that answer the ever-growing need for practical, viable solutions in energy, tech, education, payments and more. Startups need all the support they can get in order...

  • SME Empowerment Challenge to support African innovations with up to $70k

    International heavy-weights Ford Foundation, World Economic Forum and the Hague Institute for the internationalisation of Law (HIIL) are collaborating to provide a lucky few innovative startups and SMEs in East and West Africa up to US$70 000 in seed funding. Based in the Netherlands, HIIL is a advisory and research institute for the justice sector with a mission to connecting bottom-up justice innovations with support and funding internationally. The Innovating Justice Challenge is in support of a variety of initiatives around the world including Kenya's Ushahidi; Access to justice for women in Kenyan property disputes; Legal aid for LGTBI community in...

  • Cape Town rising: the natural ground for tech entrepreneurs?

    A decade ago, no one in South Africa knew what the terms angel and tech startups meant. People were progressively adjusting to a new democracy led by the awe-inspiring Nelson Mandela. The government’s focus was on breaking down the barriers of racism and apartheid, not investing in risky ventures. But some individuals, like Justin Stanford and Vinny Lingham, anticipated the tech wave. We spoke to Stanford, 31, who explained to us how this dynamic duo set up the entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Africa. A self-made man, Stanford dropped out of high school to come to Cape Town and become an Internet...

  • uAfrica’s ecommerce awards celebrates 10th year anniversary

    South Africa's largest ecommerce competition, The South African eCommerce Awards, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Founder of the event, uAfrica (previously known as Jump Shopping) thinks this will be its biggest year yet. The awards were designed to recognise ecommerce stores that capture the public eye, give the best service, and have the best website, among a couple of other things. According to uAfrica, the event has seen year on growth with the addition of more and more entries each year. The South African eCommerce awards were introduced as part of uAfrica's South African eCommerce Conference in 2013. Andy Higgins, Managing Director...

  • Triggerfish officially launches search for Africa’s next big storyteller

    South African animation studio Tiggerfish, together with Disney and the Department of Trade and Industry, today announced the launch of Story Lab, a programme that aims to unearth South Africa's next big animated hit. Now 20 years old, Triggerfish is responsible for two of South Africa's biggest ever animated feature hits in the shape of Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba. The Cape Town-based studio is now looking to put out a feature film a year and Story Lab is a part of that strategy. The initiative, which is open to anyone who is 21 years and older and a...