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  • How good are SA’s recent tax grants for small business really?

    South Africa's Minister of Finance Nhlanha Nene last week announced lower tax rates for micro enterprises that qualify for a special tax dispensation. These form part of a number of tax concessions for small businesses that the government is busy putting into effect. But do these concessions really go far enough? Presenting this year's Budget in Parliament yesterday Nene revealed that micro enterprises registered for a special turnover tax (eligible for firms with an annual turnover of up to R1-million) will be able to benefit from reduced tax rates. The new measures -- which include increasing the threshold up to which qualifying firms don't...

  • Terragon Group to unveil innovative Africa-focused mobile ad tech at MWC

    The major African digital ad agency, Terragon Group, is unveiling its latest technology offering at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain this week. The product will enable advertisers to reach Africa's massive mobile audience, even through non-internet platforms. Called Adrenaline, the technology leverages channels such as USSD based balance enquiry, Call-Me-Back messages, End of Call Notification among others. “We identified that more innovation can be fostered through integration of available non-internet based mediums which we tied to the advert network of one of our businesses, Twinpine Limited," explains CEO Elo Umeh says in a presser. "We combine and integrate...

  • Beauty subscription startup RubyBox pulls out of Media24

    Online beauty subscription service RubyBox is pulling out of the Media24, a division of Naspers, which is concentrating its resources on other high-growth ecommerce companies. Founded by Sylvia Gruber and Margaux Knuppe in 2011, RubyBox received investment from the South African media giant's digital division, 24.com, in 2013. According to the press release, the investment saw RubyBox double its revenue, mainly due to the strong marketing channels the beauty service got access to. "I am grateful for the fantastic marketing support Media24 has provided and for the opportunity to work with such a talented team," said Gruber. "While we are sad to...

  • Impact Beyond Innovation: This backpack uses solar power so kids can study at night

    Impact Beyond Innovation is an article series that features startups from Africa putting social good at the forefront of their business models. Large parts of Africa remain off the electricity grid, meaning people are forced to use alternative ways of generating energy. These alternatives, as necessary as they are, are not always safe. The most commonly used alternative form of light is kerosene, which is -- according to the World Bank -- the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. Growing up, Salima Visram witnessed this: kids walking long distances to school, knowing they were being exposed to the dangers of kerosene....

  • Lumkani is going to Silicon Valley, wins $50k social entrepreneurship prize

    Lumkani Fire Detection has won the South African leg of Chivas Regal's Win the Right Way competition -- a global initiative that sets out to find and support the world's top social entrepreneurs. The Cape Town-based startup has developed an early-warning fire detection system for dense settlements. The small fire detection device consists of heat detectors that send an SMS with GPS locations to community leaders and the local fire department in times of danger. In 2014 Lumkani also won the award for best startup in the Global Innovation through Science & Technology challenge; the overall prize in the Comfortable Home...

  • Rocket Internet launches Everjobs career portal, to target Africa, Asia

    It's only been a matter of time before Rocket Internet got onto the online jobs classifieds space. And so, the German startup factory has today announced the launch of a new online jobs portal called Everjobs. Initially, the startup will set up shop in Sri Lanka after which it plans to target the fast-growing African and Asian markets. Everjobs was born out of Myanmanr's work.com.mm, which is said to be the number one site for job seekers in the country. Co-founder Ronald Schuurs said, "We see an immense opportunity to create a convenient job portal for economies on the rise in Asia...

  • How reverse innovation helped birth Ludwick Marishane’s waterless bath #AccentureIC2015

    Ludwick Marishane, the brain behind the so-called Waterless Bath, was one of the opening keynotes at The Accenture Innovation Conference. Dubbed the DryBath, his product is literally a type of gel that people can use to clean themselves. No water required. Marishane took the audience through his journey of creating an interesting product through the process of reverse innovation -- a concept he hopes would inspire more young South African entrepreneurs. “Growing up I wanted to be a scientist,” he says. “They were always the guys who came up with the cool inventions. My journey has gone from trying to...

  • What can South African SMEs take from the Budget 2015?

    This year's budget from Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene showed some support for the country’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by giving further tax relief to the smallest enterprises. Yet it still could have done more to help local businesses prosper, argues Daryl Blundell, GM of Sage Pastel Accounting. He argues that government is yet to translate its talk into action "Like most budget speeches, I was left feeling that the government could have done more to support the growth of the SME sector," he adds. "It would have been great to see if we’ve seen more decisive action on issues such...

  • Yuppiechef ditches its trademark hand-written cards in quest for authenticity

    Yuppiechef, the South African ecommerce site, is ditching the trademark hand-written cards it sends out with every delivery. In an official blog post by brand impact manager Jonathan Cherry, the company says it will be abandoning the practice, which has always been one of the cornerstones of its customer-service strategy, because it feels it "can offer even more value to our customers in other ways". In the post, Cherry relates the history of the practice, which originated as a celebration of the very first order to come from someone who wasn't a family member or friend of the founders....

  • Women in business: 6 top tips for making your startup super efficient

    There are different types of women in business: The mompreneur who works from home and balances the demands of a growing business with that of their household, kids and husband. The solopreneur who works from home, refusing to hire and manage staff - they work with a slew of freelancers or consult or freelance themselves. The entrepreneur who has staff and is trying to grow a business from strength-to-strength with or without the challenges of a family thrown on top of things. As a female entrepreneur I feel I will have arrived when I’m able to take time off during the day for...