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  • Ventureburn goes behind the scenes on SA Florist’s Dragons’ Den deal

    When it was announced that the international phenomenon that is Dragons' Den was coming to South Africa, I for one was sceptical about how much value it could really add to the country's entrepreneurial landscape. It is, after all, an entertainment show and its success depends on its ability to keep people watching. That said, it was always clear that there was intrinsic value for the entrepreneurs who did actually manage to get funding, if only because of the cash injection it would provide. Meeting SA Florist founders Nicholas Wallander and Fraser Black, however, it's obvious that the power of...

  • Dragons’ Den SA episode 11: stop and smell the flowers

    As an entrepreneurial show, Dragons' Den SA is mostly there for the entertainment value. You only have to look at the similarities between the worst entrepreneurs who enter the den and the worst singers on other reality TV shows to realise that some people will never learn that they're not destined to be entrepreneurs, or singers for that matter. Once you get past that though, it is possible to take some value out of the show and learn important lessons from it. In this, the eleventh episode of the series, for instance there are lessons about focusing your product...

  • 8 factors to consider before you advertise your SME [SPONSORED]

    Advertising your small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) is not something you should just jump into. You work hard for your money and you need your advertising budget to work as hard for you as it can. So before you go ahead and start spending money, here are eight things to consider before you start advertising your SME. 1. What type of advertising is right for me? With so many platforms and channels at your disposal it is crucially important for you to firstly decide where you are going to put your advertising budget. Is it going to be an online banner...

  • 3 ways to go about hiring foreign skills for your SA startup

    Even before I was involved in the tech entrepreneur scene in SA and before I ran an immigration and visa services firm, I noticed during my tech recruitment days that companies simply didn't understand how the work visa system in South Africa functioned. And because they didn't understand it, they were afraid of it. The plain truth is that it's very simple. Either you can hire that foreign skill, or you can't. But if you can, then there is no reason (unless perhaps financially) why you shouldn't. In fact, the most recent visa regulations, which came out in May 2014,...

  • Opera Mediaworks acquires South Africa-based AdVine Mobile

    Browser and mobile software company Opera Mediaworks (OMW) -- which is part of Opera Group -- is getting its foot into Africa's mobile ad space with the recent acquisition of Cape Town-based AdVine Mobile. The deal doesn't come entirely out of the blue as OMW and AdVine have a long-standing relationship, with the mobile ad company being responsible for monetising the Norwegian-based company's mobile-ads in the region. Other clients include mobile social network Mxit and the BBC. AdVine is now wholly owned by OMW. "We will continue to trade as AdVine in the short-term but we now have access to a global...

  • $100m pan-African initiative to support 10k entrepreneurs across the continent

    Africa's startup landscape just got a lot more exciting. The Nigerian-based Tony Elumelu Foundation has just announced a US$100-million entrepreneurship programme that seeks to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs across the continent. The multi-year programme, which is headed by Nigerian billionaire Tony Elumelu, aims to provide training, funding, and mentoring for local innovative business minds. Ten-thousand entrepreneurs, to be exact who are all expected to create over 10-billion jobs within the next 10 years. "Whether you’re in Lagos, Accra, Johannesburg, Nairobi or Dakar, Africa is buzzing with entrepreneurs who need a platform that enables them to take their business or...

  • What lessons can SA’s ecommerce outlets learn from ‘Blackout Friday’?

    On Black Friday some of South Africa’s leading ecommerce platforms adopted the international holiday to run specials and boost sales. It's a pity they didn’t realise that to do so you need to follow international tech trends as well. The specials came out, the customers came and the technology failed. Ecommerce in South Africa blacked out and this time there was no Eskom to blame. Only bad practice and a lack of focus on what really runs your business — your tech platform. The real issue here Yes, loss of revenue is a problem. Yes, in a space where retention is everything, upsetting...

  • Vouch wants to change the face of mobile advertising in SA

    South Africa's mobile space is becoming more and more exciting. With a growing middle class and cheaper hardware diversifying the market, the country should take a healthy slice of Africa's mobile ad market, which is expected to reach a massive US$1.3-billion by 2016. Whether this bulk of cash will be dominated by a few digital giants or by the many upcoming startups remains to be seen, however. In an attempt to get in on the action, South African mobile ad startup Vouch is on a mission to change the way brands engage with customers. It wants to do this by...

  • Balance the hype and potential with the reality on the ground [U-Start Africa]

    “Build a business not a product”, “build the right networks”, “think long term and exercise patience” and “be amazing while you do it” -- these words by Keet Van Zyl of Knife Capital and Rapelang Rabana of Rekindle Learning at the recent U-Start Africa conference summed up both the event and the entrepreneurial experience for me. Every successful entrepreneur that I have met in the last five years, has in their own way -- most times through trial and error -- worked on a sustainable approach to their business venture. This was a pretty constant refrain throughout the conference, with...

  • Springleap goes big: expands into Middle Eastern, pan-African markets

    Springleap is on a mission to take over the world. Backed by a new group of experienced industry leaders and a community of 22 000 creatives, the crowdsourced design startup is expanding into the Middle Eastern and pan-African markets. Initially hailing from an office in Cape Town -- 2014's World Capital of Design -- the crowdsourcing design startup is today operating in New York City as well as Johannesburg. News of its expansion comes hot on the heels of it raising a R4.1-million funding round a few weeks ago from a group of international investors. Read more: SA crowdsource design startup...