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  • Entrepreneurial Snapshot: South Africa

    In a new series of posts -- Entrepreneurial Snapshot -- I'd like to give a brief overview of the six countries surveyed in Omidyar Network's Accelerating Entrepreneurship in Africa report: South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia. Most of the information in these posts will come directly from the report, so think of them as a summary, or abridged country profile. The report is the compiled information gathered from 582 surveyed entrepreneurs across the six countries, combined with 72 in-depth interviews. When I mention how something is 'viewed' or 'perceived' in these posts, I am referring to the entrepreneurs...

  • Company Office

    Film and Publication Board recognises authority of Press Council to regulate online press content

    Johannesburg: The Film and Publication Board (FPB) has, in principle, recognised the authority of the Press Council of South Africa (PCSA) to regulate online press content published by PCSA members. This follows a meeting last Monday between the FPB and the PCSA, South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau of South Africa (IAB SA), during which proposed revisions to the structure of the PCSA and the Press Code were presented to the FPB. Participating in a panel debate at the SANEF AGM in Auckland Park on Saturday, FPB CEO Mr. Themba Wakashe endorsed the revised Press...

  • Business Partners puts aside R1bn for SA’s tech, energy, agro-processing SMEs

    Business Partners, the specialist funding and mentorship company, says that it will make R1-billion available for its 2013-14 financial year to spend on business infrastructure, advice and after-care service for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The company's venture fund which stood at R400 million when it launched last year, will become a major focus. Business Partners hope to attract entrepreneurs with businesses, concepts, products or services with high-growth potential, especially in the in the technology, bio-technology, renewable energy and agro-processing sectors. According to Christo Botes, executive director at Business Partners, there is still an appetite for SME finance in South...

  • Microsoft 4Afrika included in Obama’s Washington Fellowship programme

    During US president Barack Obama's visit to South Africa last weekend, he announced the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. This fellowship is the new flagship programme under the president’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Part of this programme is Microsoft's 4Afrika initiative, which offers internships across the continent. The Washington Fellowship initiative is an annual programme and will commence next year and will put more than 500 young African leaders through leadership training and mentoring in the United States. This will "also create unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to use their new skills to propel economic growth and...

  • Hey Africa’s tech scene, I am sick of your whining: an open letter

    Dear Africa's tech scene (ATS), Shut the frack up. I am starting to get bored with your whining. Don't get me wrong, you are doing some pretty great things but enough with the moaning. It's time we had it out. Africa's tech scene is upset when it is criticised, upset when it is praised, and especially upset when Kenya or Nigeria are mentioned more than other countries. In effect, there is just no pleasing you. Perhaps an explanation is needed. Writing about Africa's tech scene can be a lonely job sometimes. Sure there are many people writing about...

  • Ninja Invoice aiming for disruption with simplest, cheapest offering

    Cape Town startup, Ninja Invoice, says that quoting and invoicing should not be intimidating and consume a lot of valuable time. Entering a market dominated by heavyweights such as Freshbooks and Xero, Ninja Invoice's founder Gerhard du Toit says his invoicing startup's offering is basic, on purpose. Ninja Invoice has one standard unlimited plan and claims to be the most affordable premium quoting and invoicing system available -- fighting words indeed. Aimed at freelancers and small to medium sized businesses, the invoicing service works under a single unlimited price of US$15 per month for "pro" access which will buy you...

  • Dave McClure says Silicon Valley is ‘functionally illiterate’ at marketing

    We here at Ventureburn think marketing is really important when it comes to thinking about your overall startup strategy. It's better to start thinking about it sooner rather than later. It turns out we are not alone. In a series of tweets that appear to have been sent out of frustration, prominent Silicon Valley VC, Dave McClure let it all rip on what he thinks of marketing in the startup space. Hint: he is not impressed. McClure is the founder of popular seed accelerator 500 Startups, which has invested in more than 300 companies, including Markerly, idreambooks, myGengo, Artsicle,...

  • Exclusive: Uber, the $50m smartphone-based private driver startup rolls into SA

    A job post on LinkedIn suggests that everyone's favourite private driver/car service, Uber, may finally be making its way to South Africa. According to the job post, which has been active for less than a week, Uber is looking for a city manager that will not only run its Johannesburg operation but help Uber launch in the city. Uber is a San Francisco-based company which makes a mobile application that connects passengers with drivers of luxury vehicles for hire. Uber at its core is an on-demand private driver. Users of the service can request a ride at any time using...

  • SA startup Weaver taps Facebook to help singles find love on a group date

    Joining an armada of dating startups -- some more legit, than others -- that tap Facebook for eligible singles, South Africa's Weaver is putting forward an interesting spin on matchmaking: group dates. Founded by the same guys that brought us CableKiosk, the ecommerce site that specialises in gadget cables, Andrew Lynch and Kiril Dobrev's Weaver sets up drinks between two groups of friends. There's no need for a public profile. Weaver matches up the two groups -- each consisting of three people -- using information from their Facebook profiles. Matches are made through a mix of number crunching as well as...

  • WooThemes founder cooking up educational resource for startups

    This is interesting. WooThemes founder Adii Pienaar, is quietly preparing to launch a new venture called PublicBeta. The new project looks to be an educational resource for entrepreneurs, with people including the likes of Hiten Shah, Chris Savage, Dharmesh Shah, Garrett Dimon, Spencer Fry, Amy Hoy, Nathan Barry, Sarah Hatter and Pienaar himself sharing their knowledge and experience on the platform. Its elevator pitch, naturally, makes it seem a little more exciting than that: PublicBeta is a learning community for entrepreneurs; and PublicBeta is your more intelligent and more experienced co-founder. Plus you don’t even have to give us equity. From...

  • Nigerian startup Knack launches affordable laptop and tablets

    Knack International Limited launched a trio of smart devices and a laptop over the weekend. The young startup from Nigeria is attempting to provide local tablets, smartphones, laptops as well as support services. The company states that it has a specific target that will focus on personal individuals, students, and businesses as the key market segment. Knack is a young startup company that focuses on providing hardware as well as ICT solutions in an attempt to position itself as a top brand in the African market space. Providing both a product and a service, Knack wants to establish long term relationships...

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