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  • Microsoft 4Afrika introduces PR toolkit to help startups build their brands

    A one-stop resource for Africa's entrepreneurs who seek to up their PR game have launched. The 52-page interactive document, by the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, aims to help small business owners create maximum impact with their communication strategies. Microsoft's Perry Kamel, who heads the SME arm in Africa, says the team set out to create a customised resource that meets the exact communication of local small businesses. She added in a press release: Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, and hence these series of toolkits are doing exactly that -- helping not...

  • Company Office

    Be good at being wrong… and getting it right quickly

    Even the best entrepreneurs get things wrong from time to time. Launching a business is a learning process, and you are bound to go down dead ends and change direction here and there, says CEO of Nomanini, Vahid Monadjem.  One of our investors, Esther Dyson, has the words “Always make new mistakes!” in her email footer. Being wrong is pretty much unavoidable when you’re doing something new. You have to work with a mixture of facts and assumptions. You don’t have a crystal ball, but you have to take a view. And even if a solution or a strategy is...

  • Everything you need to know about the West African startup landscape [2015/2016 Update]

    Update: Are you a venture capitalist or an angel investor looking to invest in a company? Are you an entrepreneur looking for capital or other opportunities? Are you an aspiring startup owner looking for assistance? Well, you have come to the right place. Ventureburn presents an updated guide to West Africa’s startup scene. This article is the most comprehensive guide for anyone who wants to get involved with, or have a better understanding of, the region's fast-growing startup space. It's the second of our inaugural series, with others focussing on South Africa and East Africa. With some insight from our friends...

  • Ideas Challenge Zambia looks to entrepreneurs to solve social problems

    The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), BongoHive Technology and Innovation Hub have teamed up to launch the Ideas Challenge Zambia. With a focus on the Zambia's social challenges, the initiative is calling for ideas related to two information and health-related themes: Mapping and Focused Antenatal. Not only is the challenge looking to source ideas with social impact from the public, but it plans to turn these into viable web and mobile-based products and services. The Mapping challenge sets out to develop a platform that maps and offers locations of health facilities, schools, shops and other social facilities in Zambia. The platform...

  • Here are 4 books every startup founder should read

    To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be able to juggle several hats at the same time. Identifying a problem and developing a scalable solution is the easy bit. Your initial days as a founder may be spent coding and refining the technical architecture, but then comes a concerted effort on streamlining operations, drumming up sales, and executing a marketing strategy. In an ideal scenario, founders already have experience in what it takes to build a company. They might have worked different jobs in the past or have a fancy college degree which will, at the very least, point...

  • ‘It makes all the sense in the world’ — former PriceCheck CEO on Naspers sale

    Last week emerging markets media and internet giant Naspers sold its award-winning South African price comparison site PriceCheck back to original founder Kevin Tucker and Silvertree Internet Holdings. Launched in 2006, the price comparison website was quickly snapped up by Naspers four years down the line. Under the leadership of renowned entrepreneur and ecommerce expert Andre de Wet, the platform has grown to become Africa's largest sites of its kind. It's grown its staff to over 40 members, expanded to Nigeria and is clocking in 25 million unique annual visitors. But why would Naspers let go of such a fast-growing company?...

  • New regulations set to boost private equity activity in Namibia

    New regulations in Namibia, requiring institutional investors to invest a minimum percentage of their assets into unlisted assets, are set to provide a significant boost to private equity. Daudi Mtonga, the director at private equity firm VPB, explains that the new regulations prescribe that long-term insurance companies and pension funds must now invest a minimum of 1.75% of their market values domestically into unlisted investments, with a maximum investment of 3.5%. This is a new asset class introduced by Regulations 28 and 29. CEO of the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA), Erika van der Merwe, says that...

  • Meet the 10 Senegalese startups to pitch at Seedstars Dakar 2015

    From education to health and fashion, 10 exciting Senegalese startups have been chosen to pitch at the Seedstars Dakar event taking place 17 November. The winning startup team will have the opportunity to pitch for a chance to travel to Switzerland, where they will compete for up to US$500 000 in equity investments at the Seedstars World final event next year. On a mission to unlock and recognise the emerging market's top innovators, Seedstars World's previous participants have collectively raised over US$20-million, providing employment to over 360 employees all around the world. Competition is expected to be stiffer this year round as Seedstars...

  • 3 ways investors can navigate Africa’s mobile markets

    As investment opportunities go, Africa’s mobile market is about to have its day in the sun.Two-thirds of the sub-Saharan population own mobile devices, and 86 percent of Kenyan households use mobile financial products. The number of smartphones in the African market is expected to grow from 67 million in 2013 to 360 million by 2025, unleashing new possibilities in data and information access for consumers while easing reach to potential markets by entrepreneurs. This uptick in mobile usage is redefining Africa’s socio-economic landscape. With applications and platforms including money transfer, search engines, news aggregators and more, this technology is not...

  • Durban elearning startup Advantage Learn takes top honours

    Durban, South African-based online education company Advantage Learn has been named the winner of the Dragons' Den-style competition Sunday Times FNB Shark Tank. Its founder, James Lees, will receive coaching from some of the province's best business minds, media exposure, and bank assistance from FNB, all to the value of R150 000. "We appreciate the questions, we appreciate the wisdom , as we don’t often get that. As a Durban entrepreneur, we need more of these events," Lees said. Read more: Don’t discount Durban when it comes to South Africa’s digital landscape Advantage Learn seeks to become a thought-leader education, innovation...

  • Meet Figjam, the Zimbabwean startup showing the tech scene how it’s done

    The following article is written by community newspaper Harare News editor, Harry Davies, about how local startup Figjam is finding success in the Zimbabwean market. Figjam is behind a mobile app developed specifically for the African retail and distribution market that allows seamless transfer of data to and from the field. A search online reveals millions of articles on how to and how not to enter the tech startup industry. With a failure rate worldwide of over 90%, it’s no wonder that there's so much conversation around the right and wrong ways to enter the tech market taking place. In Zimbabwe,...