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  • 500 Startups partner GSF India opens second accelerator program applications

    Emerging market startups are a dime-a-dozen these days. Getting recognised and separating yourself from the pack is a challenge for any young company, but one way to achieve recognition is by gaining acceptance into an accelerator program run by, or associated with, a respected accelerator. 500 Startups, the ever impressive American seed accelerator, would be one such company to gain recognition through, and a program facilitated by one of its partners, GSF India, is one such program Indian entrepreneurs should explore. It just so happens the second year of the GSF Accelerator program has opened applications today. ...

  • Company Office

    IAB SA Bookmark Awards keeps pace with the ever-changing digital industry

    With only 10 days to go until the deadline for submissions to the IAB Bookmark Awards, digital marketers have one last chance to get their entries in and face off against the best in the industry. The awards continue to rise in prestige and have become the Academy Awards of the local industry – with one very particular difference. While so many other awards feature the same categories and subcategories every year, the Bookmarks have undergone an exciting revamp to reflect the dynamic nature of the digital space. The Bookmarks has, in a mere eight years of existence, established itself...

  • Why your email pitch did not even make the VC’s ‘maybe pile’

    Here’s the thing: if you do a cold-call pitch to a Venture Capital (VC) investor using email, your proposal is already at the bottom of the pile before anyone has even read the subject line. The reason: VCs mostly rely on warm referrals from within their trusted networks to generate dealflow, as this acts as an automatic filter and increases the quality of proposals. It also says a lot about an entrepreneur that goes through the trouble to "stalk" a VC and infiltrate his or her networks to ultimately get introduced, or introduce themselves face-to-face in the right forum. I...

  • Check out the 10 biggest tech entrepreneurs under 30 [Infographic]

    Need some inspiration? Why not look to the most successful, and young (under 30), tech entrepreneurs in the world today, in the form of a nice neat infographic? It's sure to lift your mood... or make you feel like a terrible person because you haven't yet marked your place in the history books. From what kinds of companies were received well in 2012 to the genius of their ideas to their problem-solving nature, we can all learn something from these entrepreneurs. It's important to have models for success, and where better to look than the best of the best. So...

  • RLabs raises R10-million for Youth Innovation Programme

    Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs) has announced that it has received R10-million in funds from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other partners to help with its Youth Innovation Programme. RLabs is a global community based movement and registered social enterprise that provides innovative solutions to address various complex problems. Founded in 2008, the organisation hopes to "impact, empower and reconstruct local and global communities through innovation." It seems with the latest investment from USAID it is well on its way to doing that. According to RLabs Managing Director, René Parker, "The support from USAID and The Western Cape Department...

  • Supercharge your startup’s focus with these priority optimisation tips

    Adii Pienaar is co-founder of WordPress theme shop and ecommerce platform WooThemes. A couple of months ago, I implemented a few “lifehacks” that would allow me to have better balance in my life (according to my unique set of variables & wants / needs). One of the consequences and / or requirements of these hacks were that I simply had to spend less time working / in front of my computer. I wasn't ready to compromise on my professional ambition though, because I'm passionate about what I work on. So instead, I forced myself to become better at prioritising the things...

  • Is MiName about to turn telemarketing on its head?

    Check this out. Cold-calling is annoying right? You're always getting hassled and it often smacks of privacy invasion. Yet, it's someone's job to make those sales calls and companies often have great products, it's just that they're not getting through to the right people. Three South Africans who wanted to put an end to the exploitation of cold-calling, actuaries Gaurav Nair and Derrick Hyde, and an engineer Lawrence Joffe founded MiName. MiName allows consumers to request calls from companies that sell products and services they actually need. The incentive? Cash rewards. MiName says the experience allows personal details to be kept...

  • How to find and hire superhero employees – before anyone else does

    Many businesses, from small startups to multinational giants, struggle to match the right person with the right position. Getting it wrong can have disastrous effects on company culture and in most cases, has a negative impact on your bottom-line. While all hires are important, the higher up the chain you go, the more important it is to get it right. And when you get it wrong, it can be disastrous – especially when the bad hire was the guy your board appointed to the top job. Hiring a CEO who is not cut out for the job can destroy a...

  • 6 reasons why your internet startup should be using Amazon Web Services

    Y Combinator co-founder, Paul Graham, defines a startup as "a company designed to grow fast." The definition highlights one of the hardest problems internet startups traditionally faced at the outset: weighing infrastructure capacity and cost. Amazon changed things up when it launched Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2006. It used economies of scale to offer services -- many of them developed for internal use and opened up to the public later -- to take the guess-work out of upfront infrastructure investments. AWS allowed startups to start small, with the knowledge that AWS would grow to meet the demand should business...

  • The Hope Factory: empowering women entrepreneurs

    According to Census 2011, 15% of South African households have female breadwinners, where a married woman is the head of the household. But as South Africa’s unemployment rate rises and it becomes increasingly harder to find permanent employment, Enterprise Development organisation, The Hope Factory, is finding that more and more women are looking to entrepreneurial endeavours to help them support their families. While the reasons for this are the same as for men, The Hope Factory points to a report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) that found women to “show marked differences from men in characteristics such as their...

  • Think being a tech entrepreneur is glamorous? Pick another career path

    Having spent the past two years building a company in Hong Kong, I can testify that it is f**king hard. In the beginning, ignorance is bliss. You allow your sexy PowerPoint slides to seduce you into believing your big idea is flawless. Your projections are up and to the right and you feel invincible. You sleep great at night and have the energy and ego to believe you will change the world. It’s not until you quit your job, realize you have no health insurance, absorb the fact that VCs don’t respond to your emails and that you only have...