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  • Starting a company is like dating: assumptions kill your chances [T4A]

    "Starting a company is like dating, sometimes you just don't fit," says Gavin Symanowitz of Feedback Rocket. Speaking at the Tech4Africa conference, Symanowitz argues that a lot of the time starting a company is more about wanting to disrupt an industry rather than strategically thinking about implementation. "Startup entrepreneurs like to think they’ll launch their new idea to the world and it will be a resounding success," says Symanowitz. "In reality, however, 'no battle plan survives contact with the enemy'. Inevitably, the market reacts quite differently to expectations and the entrepreneur needs to change the product offering in order to...

  • Company Office

    Tshwane free WiFi project provides model for social impact bond

    Model could help with municipal infrastructure challenges A free WiFi project that has successfully taken root in Tshwane could set the pattern for social impact bonds in South Africa in which the private sector guarantees delivery of services, the public sector guarantees payment and commercial funding is accessed upfront from the financial markets. Social impact bonds are a form of innovative funding that gives service providers, including nonprofit organisations, access to upfront resources to tackle social problems by tapping private funding to cover the upfront costs of social programmes approved by government institutions. Kasief Isaacs, portfolio manager for infrastructure investments at Mergence...

  • Africa is rising, but will we rise together? Africa Summit 2013 at a glance

    The 2013 Africa Summit (#AfricaSummit), hosted by the Omidyar Network in Mauritius, took place last week on 2 October where delegates from around Africa assembled to discuss the Accelerating Entrepreneurship in Africa report compiled by the philanthropic foundation established by Pierre Omidyar, in partnership with global strategy consulting firm, Monitor Group, and published in April this year. The in-depth report, arguably the most comprehensive entrepreneurship study done in Africa, was discussed at last year's Africa Summit held in Accra, Ghana, where solutions were put forward for the challenges raised in the report. This year's gathering was aimed at putting insights...

  • Luck, timing and user acquisition: how do you build a winning app?

    Should you invest in advertising your app or digital content? Did they know that they might be the next Internet hit in Japan? At B Dash Camp 2013 in Osaka, Japan, four panelists, Hiroki Teshima (United Inc and maker of COCOPPA), Shin Murakami (Yahoo Japan), Eiji Takahashi (Alim) and Shinji Kimura (Gunosy Inc) took to a hearty discussion about the elements that go behind a successful hit app moderated by Katsuaki Sato (Metaps). Luck or strategy? Alim, a young mobile gaming startup in Japan, has its first game Brave Frontier see 520,000 registered users with 340 000 monthly active users and...

  • Rocket Internet’s Lamudi launches real estate site for emerging markets

    Looking to rent, buy or sell property? Lamudi is officially launching its operations in 12 counties across Asia, Africa and Latin America with more to follow. The property marketplace allows real estate for emerging markets and plans further global expansion in the coming months. The Rocket Internet-backed venture grouped several real estate services under different names in various markets over the past five months. Amido (Africa), Ubilista (Latin America), Zamudi and House (Asia) are all now set under one brand namely Lamudi. The venture provides an internet marketplace that customers can use to easily find or sell their house, apartment,...

  • Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship: the 2013 winners

    The winners of the 2013 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship (AAE) has been announced at a Gala Awards Ceremony held in Mauritius by the African Leadership Network (ALN) on Thursday, 3 October. The award show is sponsored by the philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network that hopes to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. There's a total number of five winners (from 12 nominees) all ranging from different industries such as technology, manufacturing, social development and agriculture. Quoted by Bizcommunity ALN CEO, Isaac Kwaku Fokuo Jr. hopes the promotion of this impressive group of entrepreneurs will help inspire more...

  • 10 Asian travel startups rocking the crowdsourcing trend

    The sharing economy is growing like crazy. For cars alone, Uber has led the charge for other apps like Lyft, GetAround, and SideCar. In terms of hotels, Airbnb heads the pack. And now, in the travel industry, crowdsourcing for local tour guides is becoming a serious trend. The concept that all of these startups have is simple. Coordinate with local tour guides to develop tours for travellers – some conventional, some very adventurous – and serve them up in a nice and simple platform. Where they differentiate and win depends on a few things, including: How good their tours are How...

  • African Development Bank pumps $150-mil into reliable power for Zambia

    Electrical problems are prevalent for most of Africa, in some countries like Nigeria, people and businesses rely on generators to get the power they need, in a country like Zambia, they depend on hydro-power. This reliance on hydro-power is problematic for Zambia though, especially for small businesses, because if there is a drought there can be severe economic risks. In a bid to help divide the load of power production in Zambia, and increase availability, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of up to US$150-million to finance a new 300MW coal-fired power plant, as well as...

  • A very brief guide to entrepreneurship for the complete novice

    Starting a business isn't easy. Anyone who's tried to do it will tell you that. And if you haven't started one, you have a serious failure of imagination if the thought of it doesn't scare you just a little bit. It can be a little less scary, however, with the right kind of guidance. During the One Young World Summit in Johannesburg, a group of young people from around the globe got a taste of that guidance from a set of experienced entrepreneurs. We took some of their best pieces of advice and distilled them into a very brief...

  • 5 global online personas your business should take note of

    Getting to know your customers can be tricky in a near anonymous online world. While demographics might give you an indication of what the environment might look like, online profiling puts you on the front lines of getting to know your customers. According to a recent study by MasterCard, people adopt personas when shopping online -- an interesting consideration for ecommerce businesses. The Digital Sharing and Trust Project shows that consumers actually shed their “real-world” identities when they go online to assume “digital personas”. To be more specific there are five different personas parading themselves around the web today. The web...

  • Weekend entrepreneurs, we salute you (plus tools for your next project)

    It's good that we acknowledge entrepreneurs, but I think we sometimes forget to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit -- that subtle and yet powerful notion many of us harbour to pursue a business idea. Entrepreneurs don't fit a particular mold. The greats -- Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, for example -- all illustrate a passion and a belief in the ideas they found compelling. Sure, we can also see independence, resourcefulness and admire the excellent problem solving skills they have illustrated in the unstructured environments in which they often flourished, but their journeys all started...