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  • Social hackathon to create solutions around early childhood development

    With the help of technology experts, creatives, and early childhood development (ECD) practitioners, the ECD hackathon hopes to find solutions to problems encountered in this sector. Some of the challenges include limited access to nutrition, lack of parental involvement, training for practitioners, and safety considerations. Along with its partners, Innovation Edge, the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University, GovHack, Ogilvy, and Silicone Cape, the Bertha Centre will be hosting the event. Seven Cape Town-based ECD organisations have been asked to think about their key challenges and how technology may help to facilitate. The creativity and feasibility of each solution will...

  • Startups need a problem, not a solution

    If you have an awesome idea for a new startup, stop. Write down your solution, put it away and start by identifying the problem that you’re trying to solve. Contrary to popular wisdom to “Always focus on the solution not the problem” building a startup is not about knowing what you want to build up front. It’s about knowing what problem you want to solve and constantly evolving the solution to better fit that problem. The surest way to fail at building a startup is to try and build a product. Chances are, no one is going to really want it...

  • CustosTech wants to curb movie piracy using bitcoin

    Founders of CustosTech: Frederick Lutz, Gert-Jan van Rooyen, Herman EngelbrechtIn January last year an illegal copy of the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, was making its rounds on the internet. The situation became quite awkward as the early release copy was traced back to popular TV show host Ellen DeGeneres, and had her name written all over it. Literally, as her name was watermarked onto one of the exclusive copies so that people could find the origin of the leak. The story reflects a pressing time in the movie industry when most producers -- of digital movies, music,...

  • Are carpooling services Nigeria’s next big thing?

    In March, I spoke to the country manager of "the world’s sexiest startup", Uber, on how the company is faring in Nigeria. Among other things, Ebi Atawodi said the company is planning to introduce a carpooling service where individuals can use an Uber ride, consequently lowering cost. This is basically what Nigeria’s latest transport Jekalo is all about. The founders launched the company on 28 May mainly through a newsletter and social media. Its apparent novelty really got a lot of people talking about it, including social media influencers making me wonder how many of those that talked about it...

  • Pivot East 2015 announces mobile startup semi-finalists

    Pivot East, an East African-based startups competition for tech companies, has announced its semi-finalists for this year’s competition. All entries were based on a number of criteria were allowed from a large number of African countries, the majority being from East Africa. Going on its fifth year, the competition originally focused on app developers, but has shifted focus as a startup pitching event. The aim of Pivot East is to help startups organise and refine their business model. It also looks to expose these companies to investors, corporate, research and development companies, and the general public. According to the Pivot...

  • Dare to dream, dare to fail: 4 lessons from Adelaide Potgieter’s MadWorld

    South African entrepreneur and the founder of creative agency group MadWorld, Adelaide Potgieter, is very daring. In between rocky roads of the past, vulnerabilities, she's over the years managed to turn a R1 500 investment into a R60-million company by daring to dream. This was the message that was left at Startup Grind Cape Town this month, with the ever so enchanting, Potgieter, as the honoured guest. As always, the event was buzzing with highly ambitious, excited entrepreneurs hungry for knowledge, and managed to live up to its hype as the South African entrepreneur revealed her secrets to success. 1. Drive...

  • 7 ways you can lose your company’s most valuable talent

    Recruiting the right people is difficult in a market where many important commercial, technical and management skills are in short supply. Keeping employees once you’ve recruited them can be even harder. Every time you lose a good employee, it costs you money because you’ll need to recruit and train someone to replace him or her. It disrupts continuity in your business, can hurt customer relationships, slows you down, and results in you losing a small piece of your corporate memory. That’s why organisations must create an employee engagement and retention strategy to ensure that they remain competitive and productive. Here are...

  • New UNICEF-backed platform looking to crowdsource innovation

    A new platform has launched with the aim of crowdsourcing innovative solutions to the world's most pressing problems. Called CauseTech, the platform comes out of a partnership between the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network and UNICEF Innovation Center. It aim is to aggregate the world’s best innovators, technologists, developers, and researchers in a global ideation ecosystem to start finding unique ways of addressing some of the biggest challenges currently facing the planet. As well as connecting groups of people who might otherwise not have contact with each other, the platform will play host to a...

  • Africa’s the new China — here’s why investors should care

    Apart from the fact that one is a continent and the other a country, Africa is the new China. This seems like an odd idea at first. After all, China has a booming economy, and African countries are poverty-stricken, politically volatile, and unjustifiable business risks. Right? Wrong. Africa is actually the next frontier in global expansion. Allow me to explain. Pretend for a moment that you’re the CEO of a major American clothing manufacturer. Your company is thriving, but you want to diversify your sourcing chain. You typically outsource this production to Chinese companies, but the current rising energy and human capital costs...

  • Tax assistant TaxTim starts expansion plans with PwC Namibia partnership

    South African online tax assistant TaxTim has helped more than 1.3 million local citizens do their taxes since it launched in 2011. With the help of advisory firm PwC, the company is expecting to boost that number even further by expanding to Namibia. More importantly, the neighbouring country acts as testing ground for its grander expansion plans. Having integrated with SARS eFiling late last year, the Cape Town-based company is now backed by 15 tax professionals at PwC's Windhoek office and contains all the knowledge and tax legislation required to output compliant tax returns for Namibia Inland Revenue. Read more: TaxTim will dramatically...