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  • Angel group invests in African low-cost housing solution

    This is interesting. South African angel investment group AngelHub's is taking a swing at the low-cost housing market by providing funding for Namibian-developed technology, the Kavango Block Brick. The technology looks to address the lack of affordable housing on the continent, which is a major obstacle to development on the continent. In South Africa alone, the housing backlog is 2.6-million houses. Many of these customers fall into the so-called gap market, representing would-be homeowners whose income is too high to qualify for government subsidies but too low to qualify for bank loans. Heinrich Schroeder...

  • Company Office

    New integrated payment, POS solution allows retailers to transact in 2 seconds

    The South African financial technology company that brought card-payment systems to smaller businesses as far back as 2008 has just announced a new integrated payment solution that will benefit franchise store owners, larger independent retailers and franchise owners. Sureswipe is SA’s first independent payment service provider to offer a fully integrated payment solution with acquiring services. Paul Kent, managing director of Sureswipe, says: “Our new Integrated Payments product has been developed for higher volume businesses that use a Point-of-Sale system. It reduces manual hours spent on reconciliations, makes customer payments quicker and safer, and cuts both costs and complexity. We have brought functionality...

  • 5 thoughts on writing great press releases

    Michelle and I attended a Silicon Cape event this week where Sarah Rice shared her experiences as a public relations consultant for rock-star companies like personal finance management site 22seven and African instant messaging giant Mxit. Rice sowed valuable advice on relationships between startups and the media onto a hotbed of Cape Town’s bright up-and-coming startups and a lot of what was said resonated with me, especially the part that affects my job the most, communication with startups. The communication usually starts in the form of a press release. We love press releases. Learning about new companies and tracking their...

  • Doing business in SA? Take heed of the Protection of Personal Information Bill

    The protection of personal information bill (PPIB) is a law which will be passed shortly to regulate the manner in which entities may use an individual's personal information going forward. The purpose of the bill is to fundamentally protect a human right, which is a person's privacy and their right to choice, and as long as we don't have any mechanism or regulatory control over what people can do with an individual's information, that right cannot be protected. This bill enables that right to be protected. Deloitte and ITWeb recently conducted a survey to gauge what South African companies are...

  • WPP’s buying spree shows a thirst for digital marketing startups

    WPP, the world's largest advertising and marketing group, is on a buying spree, reports the Financial Times. Who says there is no M&A any more? WPP made no fewer than 40 acquisitions, in 21 countries, in the first half of 2012. That is nearly two a week. ... WPP is already the world's biggest advertising agency. It intends to get bigger still. As Sir Martin points out, half its business -- emerging markets, digital -- did not exist a decade ago. Ed: One of the most recent examples of WPP buying a company with emerging markets roots saw it acquire South African-born...

  • Business in 2012: is it a case of go mobile or go home?

    eBusiness has gained traction, as companies are conducting more transactions, improving digital content and expanding the amount of services on offer online. But the industry has also diversified into the mobile marketplace. For over a decade, mobile retail has been viewed as a niche market, with profitable but somewhat insignificant products such as ringtones and wallpapers. The industry was scattered and unstructured, facing several challenges (including a somewhat shaky reputation due to a number of unscrupulous merchants). This changed rapidly when mobile platforms such as the iPad and with it, the highly-successful app store, gained popularity. Addictive new...

  • Plans this weekend? No? You should probably check out Gigham

    Gigham popped up on our radar earlier this year when the guys behind it pitched their idea for a new type of online events portal at Google's startup incubation project, Umbono. People living in the Mother City and Jozi are not exactly left wanting for things to do, but it's not always that easy to find out what's going on. Some folks are particular about what they're looking for and others are more intrepid and would like to try something new. Gigham aims to cater for both groups with over 2000 events in total listed for both cities. When the...

  • eCommerce goes freemium with eShop

    eShop, a new “freemium” eCommerce solution, launches today to South Africans. If you're thinking of selling products online, eShop deserves a serious look. eShop's setup is refreshingly uncomplicated -- integration happens through copying and pasting code generated via eShop into your existing website. The service is available to SME businesses, as well as larger enterprises. eShop's free account offers basic, but essential functionality needed to sell up to 10 of your products online. Should your needs grow beyond the features offered in the gratis version, there are three paid packages to choose from. There are no setup fees and eShop offers...

  • Entrepreneurship — some people just don’t get it

    I heard a story this week that raised my blood pressure and left me fuming at another great injustice. Unfortunately there is very little I can do about it. Kicking the dog would not be PC (and after all, it’s not her fault); stamping my foot makes me feel like a child and waving my fist in the air while shouting at the universe... well, it didn’t do anything the last few times so that’s out too. So instead, I’m venting through my keyboard. The story goes as follows. A friend of ours has an...

  • Härnu is map-based social networking and it’s brilliant

    And now, for something special. Härnu is a refreshing approach to connecting people, a social network of sorts, but it’s quite unlike one you’ve used before. It’s hard to pin down what Härnu really is. A portmanteau of the Swedish "Här", meaning "Here", and "Nu", meaning "Now", it appears useful for a myriad of things, but there’s a strong focus on geographical context. If you’d like to learn a foreign language, discover new music from a specific part of the world, find out more about world events from a local perspective, or if you’re simply curious about how people on...

  • Student entrepreneurs take note: make your idea a business with YEC 2012

    If you're a South African student with a flair for business, check this out. It's a brand new conference designed especially for the likes of you. Founded this year, the Young Entrepreneur Connect Conference aims to "build an entrepreneurial culture among students in South Africa". The inaugural theme of the conference is "The Year Of The Futurepreneur". Through inspirational stories from real-world entrepreneurs, the conference hopes to provide first-hand recounts of how businesses got started and to equip attendees with the necessary knowledge and resources to get their own ventures off the ground. The conference launches on Saturday 29...