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  • Startups to take 1GIANTleap from idea to concept in 12 weeks with new programme

    Want to get help developing your new business idea? Startups have until this Monday (5 June) to apply to the 1GIANTleap programme which aims to help entrepreneurs to leap from idea to proven concept in just 12 weeks. The 12-week programme, an initiative of business support organisation Edge Growth, takes place from 8 June in Johannesburg. The programme, which was first run in 2014, begins with a selection process where entrepreneurs are tested on various qualities, business ideas, personal circumstances and their commitment to serving customers both online and offline. "One of the risks you run as an entrepreneur is to create something...

  • Company Office

    Colosseum Luxury Hotel and MzansiStore Announce Joint Venture

    Hotel and e-Commerce store announce the opening of a pop-up store Cape Town, South Africa – The renowned Colosseum Luxury Hotel and MzansiStore have announced their plans to enter into a joint venture through the opening of a pop-up store. MzansiStore is an e-Commerce platform that supports local producers of handcrafted products. A selection of the store’s goods, which are usually only available online, will be showcased and made available for purchase at the Colosseum hotel as of 16 July 2014. Deidre Luzmore started MzansiStore in September 2012 after noticing that there was a substantial amount of small-scale South African...

  • Cape eye cover startup one of 19 firms Business Partners VC fund has backed

    Glasses don't come cheap – ask anyone who has accidentally sat on a pair or had them munched by their pet dog. It's something Leon van Vuuren is trying to solve. His Paarl-based startup Eyecover offers to insure glasses for optometrists by partnering with certified financial services providers. The business launched in March 2015 and today has 10 employees. In June last year, financiers Business Partners invested R1.8-million in EyeCover in return for a 30% stake in the company. The funding went to expand sales, marketing and distribution. "Outside of the usual statutory documents and application forms, we had to provide an...

  • Cherry-picking black industrialists not sustainable charges entrepreneur activist

    The government won’t drive radical economic transformation by simply selecting a few black entrepreneurs and backing these with support and finance, entrepreneur activist Vuyisa Qabaka said yesterday. “You’re not going to drive radical economic transformation by creating this cherry-picked, fancy, apply here,” said Qabaka, who runs business consultancy Entrepreneur Traction. He was speaking at Silicon Cape event Tech eKasi at Workshop 17. “A black industrialist is not created through an application form. It’s created through blood, sweat and tears, taking risk, and finding investors and building up. So first of all our politicians need to get their minds straight about that,” he...

  • Naspers invests $80m in Indian startup

    Internet and media group Naspers announced this week that it had invested $80-million in online food ordering and delivery platform Swiggy in its Series-E funding round. During the five rounds of funding, Swiggy has all together raised $155.5m. Swiggy launched in 2014 in Bengaluru, India. Today the platform covers eight cities, namely: Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata. The platform has over 1,000 employees across all functions such as sales, marketing, technology and customer service with 13,000 delivery executives. Speaking to Ventureburn, Swiggy's marketing vice-president Srivats TS said the funds would help the startup to double its technology headcount and increase...

  • Retired Lions rugby player’s app aims to tackle ‘administrative nightmare’

    Former Lions rugby player Dylan des Fountain is looking to solve the “administrative nightmare” that many firms face collecting and reconciling staff expense claims through a new app his tech startup is developing. For the past 12 months Des Fountain, who retired from professional rugby three years ago following several injuries, has been involved in developing the app through his startup Slipztream. “I’ve always been the type of person who is looking for solutions to any problems whatever they may be, that’s actually how Slipzstream came along,” he told Ventureburn in an exclusive interview. He credits his wife Joy, who is...

  • SA’s FinChatBot expands to France with a layover in Kenya

    FinChatBot, a chatbot for financial services, has recently expanded into France, attracting interest from the Kenyan market. Founded last year after a market study conducted by startup incubator Far Ventures, FinChatBot allows businesses to engage with their customers in real-time via their preferred communication channel. FinChatBot CEO Antoine Paillusseau spoke to Ventureburn recently on the company's latest development in France and Kenya. "We were introduced to a potential client (in Kenya). When we met them they were quite excited about the product. We haven't signed any contract yet, we're still busy discussing with them, but our solution had a lot of interest." Although the chatbot service has courted...

  • Supporting one million small businesses can create over one million jobs – Zuma

    President Jacob Zuma says supporting one million SMEs could help South Africa to create over a million jobs and added that the government would later this year hold a rural and township economy summit to develop critical ways to grow "the indigenous entrepreneurs". Delivering the budget vote for The Presidency in Parliament today Zuma said supporting SMEs has been identified as an area with large potential for employment creation and economic growth. "If we have one million small businesses, and each employs one or two people, we would have created over one million jobs," said Zuma. "This is how important investment into small business development...

  • Applications now open to South Africa’s first media accelerator Jamlab

    Wits University today opened applications for a new six-month innovation support programme aimed at existing or new South African journalism and media teams. In a press release to Ventureburn, Wits said the Journalism and Media Accelerator (Jamlab) will be home to innovators who want to develop new forms of journalism and reach new, younger, audiences. Jamlab is an initiative of Wits Journalism and the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering in partnership with Ryerson University, Toronto and Journalists for Human Rights. The initiative will provide participating teams with the tools, facilities, contacts and the support necessary to realise their ideas and ambitions, combining professional...

  • Former ‘beach bum’ aims to turn fog into water to address Cape crisis

    From the outset it sounds like a crazy idea. To turn fog into water. But this is exactly what high-school dropout Grant Vanderwagen from Cape Town plans to do. The 25-year-old business consultant's idea to develop fog farms to help the city to battle its water crisis has already been featured on a number of online publications (such as 9lives.co.za, htxt and even on a site for a water network based in Germany). His H20 Catchers solution consists of metal frames covered with fine netting to gather condensation. He claims each fog farm can produce up to 10 000 litres at...

  • PitchDrive aims to help 15 African startups raise collective €20m in Europe

    Fifteen African startups will get the chance to raise a collective €20-million in Series-A funding from European funders when startup tour PitchDrive gets off the mark in the coming weeks. The three-week tour, which is set to begin on 14 August, is an initiative of Nigerian technology innovation centre Co-creation Hub (CcHUB) which has partnered with Google for Entrepreneurs. The tour kicks off at Google's Campus in London, before heading to TQ Amsterdam, Factory Berlin and then to the Impact Hub in Zurich, Switzerland, before concluding at NUMA Paris. Startups will get to explore the various markets the tour passes through and get the chance to pitch in front...