• BURN MEDIA
    • Memeburn
      Tech-savvy insight and analysis
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!
  • 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...

  • Want your ecommerce startup to take off? Forget the discounts, push customer service

    According to business consulting firm Lee Resources Inc, 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with you again. The number one reason for their unhappiness is service delivery. Service delivery has become a hotly debated topic in South Africa, and we have seen frequent examples where customers have taken to airing their frustrations on public forums. One only has to look at the anti-Cell C banner debacle that caused quite a stir in the media recently. The whole incident developed into something bigger because the customer felt that he wasn’t receiving the service that he deserved and decided...

  • Amendments to Section 12J under the Income Tax Act welcomed by VCs

    Complex legal or financial regulations are all too often cited as South Africa's main obstacles for flourishing entrepreneurial activity. First introoduced in 2009, Section 12J under the South African Income Tax Act has come as a welcome step in venture capital activity. Now, new amendments to Section 12J will take effect in January 2015, with the aim of boosting investment in entrepreneurial businesses. Erika van der Merwe from Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA), which represents about R160-billion in assets, elaborates: We believe that these more attractive tax incentives have the potential to boost greater levels of investment...

  • U-Start Africa: SA entrepreneurship is in a very good space

    After radio host and entrepreneur Kieno Kammies' introduction, the annual U-Start Conference kicked-off today at the Cape Town City Hall. Stefano Giudotti and Zachariah George opened with remarks on how far U-Start has come -- which is actually a great deal since its initial entrance into South Africa. Founded in Italy in January 2012, U-Start is a global boutique advisory firm offering an online platform which is the entry point to U-Start Services, facilitating the connection among local entrepreneurs and international investors. I attended their conference in Italy two years ago for Perk and found it very beneficial. I was impressed...

  • Ackerman: even big businesses face small business challenges [U-Start Africa]

    Gareth Ackerman may be the scion of one of South Africa's most prominent business families but he has his own retail entrepreneurship story that spans many, many years. Hilariously enough it started with him telling the audience at the U-Start Conference in Cape Town that due to a "bender" on his grandfather's part, the boat to France and the Battle of Delville Wood was missed and his family ended up flourishing in South Africa. Thank goodness for that -- as one delegate put it on Twitter: Listening to billions. Gareth Ackerman. One of the first points Ackerman made was around...

  • About 40% of global SMEs don’t believe Africa has growth opportunity

    A new study has shown that approximately 40% of global SMEs don't see the growth opportunity Africa offers, despite positive economic growth. This doesn't bode all too well for flexibility to the region's unique ecosystems. The study -- conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of logistics giant DHL Express -- surveyed 480 SME executives and experts from business lobbying groups, and further found that many multinationals and state-owned companies do however take advantage of the opportunities the African continent presents. Charles Brewer, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, says that despite current challenges to attract global...

  • Feet on the ground, head in the cloud: the mindset of doing business in Africa

    Barely two years ago, foreign businesses and analysts were hailing Africa as the world’s economic miracle. With economic, political and social reforms sweeping the continent, a burgeoning middle class and growth rates hovering around the 6% mark, people were queuing up for a slice of a US$1-trillion opportunity. Today, that picture might appear less appealing to some. Epidemic challenges have swept various countries, especially in West Africa. Across the continent, instability and conflict are either simmering just below the surface - or worse, bursting out into the open. Between strikes, extremist activities, economic turmoil and political unrest, the African...

  • TrustPay wants to bridge the disparate islands in the mobile payments space

    The mobile payments space is booming. In Africa, pioneering systems like MPesa are still going strong, while the likes of Snapscan and FlickPay are gaining traction among smartphone owners. Internationally meanwhile, the entrance of Aplle into the space is only likely to accelerate acceptance and innovation. For the most part however, the various apps used remain fairly disparate and, in many cases, limited by national borders. A new play by Cape Town-based company TrustPay is looking to change that. Aimed at emerging markets, TrustPay claims to be able to connect merchants and consumers to one another through the assimilation...

  • Safaricom announces new $1-million venture fund for Kenyan startups

    Kenyan startups seem to be treading on fertile grounds. Kenyan operator, Safaricom, has revealed a US$1-million venture fund aimed at assisting the development of mobile applications in Kenya. The fund has been set up for two years with possibility of extension and will be offered to mobile ICT startups based in Kenya. This will be done through equity investment in their business or in the form of other debt instruments. According to Safaricom, startups will be eligible to receive amounts between US$75 000 and US$250 000. The funds will be administered together with the international tech fund TBL Invest, which was...