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  • The not-so-obvious reasons for South Africa’s entrepreneurship dilemma

    Many entrepreneurs need assistance in areas overlooked by some established companies and enterprise development agencies. Established businesses therefore have a vital role to play in increasing enterprise development in southern Africa through encouraging and nurturing the creative thinkers within their own companies as well as external startups. The subdued rate of emerging business activity -- at 4.5% growth compared to the 14% that the sub-Saharan region should be averaging (GEM report 2014) -- has often nothing to do with bureaucracy and funding constraints but, rather, much less obvious hurdles. Government funding opportunities, crowdfunding and initiatives by corporates such as the...

  • Company Office

    How to find a strong mentor to guide you to business success

    Why every entrepreneur needs multiple mentors… While the challenges of being an entrepreneur have been well-documented, reports often fail to describe the feelings of self-doubt, loneliness and isolation that tend to plague aspiring entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey. No amount of angel funding, slick technology or strategic business consulting can really assuage the feelings of doubt that accompany starting a brave new enterprise. Yet this is where strong mentorship can play a critical role – and in fact can prove to be far more valuable than landing an investment deal or angel fund backing. Mentors can keep tired...

  • New accelerator aims to boost youth entrepreneurship in South Africa

    An eight-week initiative aimed at accelerating young entrepreneurs' aspirations and boosting employment has launched in South Africa. As noted in a press release sent to Ventureburn, the New Ventures Studio was formed via a partnership between youth development NGO Salesian Life Choices and Caban Investments Limited. The eight-week programme calls for applications from aspiring entrepreneurs aged from 16 to 35, regardless of whether they have a business or not. A total of 20 applicants will be selected to receive a scholarship worth R35 000 and attend the Cape Town-based programme. Read more: Barclays Africa launches accelerator for health and fintech startups At the end of...

  • GetSmarter, CiTi partner to offer top entrepreneurial students bursaries

    Online learning institution GetSmarter, in partnership with the University of Cape Town (UCT), has collaborated with The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) to help top entrepreneurial students further their studies. The top 20 students graduating out of CiTi and Barn Khayelitsha's business development programme will receive a bursary to one of 20 hand-picked business short courses, valued at over R200 000, sponsored by GetSmarter and UCT. This will allow the students to further their studies with UCT short course certificates through GetSmarter. The bursaries awarded to the top 20 students will be handed out in January 2016. In an exclusive press release...

  • SnapScan’s Kobus Ehlers on keeping up with SA’s ever-changing payments landscape

    Kobus Ehlers is behind one of South Africa's top-ranked apps, and arguably the only successful startup to have made mobile payments relevant in the country. Even though multinational telecom giants like Vodacom struggle to get mobile payments off the ground in the country, SnapScan today boasts over 20 000 merchant clients, ranging from parking marshals to restaurants. While user numbers aren't disclosed, it's growing much faster than the merchant clients'. Yet, while growth is all good and well for certain niche sectors, the company is regularly experimenting with new features and integrations to feel out the ever-changing market and keep up...

  • MasterCard’s Start Path programme to support African startups

    MasterCard recently announced that startups in Nigeria and other African countries can apply for its Start Path Global programme -- a six-month partnership initiative for startups that extends its existing footprint to a greater number of countries globally in Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Over the past 18 months, Start Path has provided a variety of operational support, partnership, or investment for over 40 startups that are developing the next generation of commerce solutions, including Nymi, ZenCard, BillHop and Gone. Furthermore, Start Path Global has been designed to put the startup first which means a startup will no...

  • Raizcorp, Nedbank to host SimplyBiz workshop for Cape Town entrepreneurs

    South African business incubator Raizcorp in partnership with major local bank Nedbank will be hosting the SimplyBiz Shift Questions workshop in Cape Town 12 September. The workshop is part of a national effort to equip entrepreneurs with the tools needed to think differently about their businesses and accelerate success. CEO of Raizcorp, who will also be facilitating the one-day session, explains that the SimplyBiz Shift Questions workshop will teach entrepreneurs to shift the paradigms of their thinking. “Many people have this notion that if they follow the exact steps that a successful entrepreneur took in their own journey, they too will...

  • Crowdsourcing location-tracking device Leash enters beta phase

    Local Bluetooth-tracking startup Leash is entering its beta product testing phase. The company has 1 000 units ready for rollout with an additional 15 000 being released after receiving adequate user feedback. Founded by Mark Allewell -- founder of numerous startups such as Tourism Radio -- he got the idea from 2014's Internet of Things expansion. According to Allewell, the Leash concept has already been proven internationally. Leash's functionality enables the users to keep track of the whereabouts of their possessions. According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the device pairs with an Android or iOS device via low-powered Bluetooth and then...

  • Q&A with AgroInfoTech on building real tech solutions for Nigeria

    No one doubts the booming status of the tech ecosystem in Nigeria, but taking a closer look at where the action is happening would reveal that much of the noise is being made by players in the ecommerce space, followed by education, and so on. Strangely though, little is really happening in the agricultural space. That was until I met Oluwajoba Ayo Okediji, the founder and director of AgroInfoTech. In an interview, we spoke extensively on what is happening in the agricultural-tech space, the prospects and ongoing plans to launch Nigeria’s incubation hub for agriculture-focused tech startups. Ventureburn: Why is tech...

  • Why it’s important for entrepreneurs to think about their plan Z

    I recently came across an interesting article in the Financial Times (FT) which covers the question Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, has been asking entrepreneurs: "What is your plan Z?" We all have plan A's in our business. Even those who purport not to plan have some idea of the overall vision, direction and immediate business model. We are all also prepared to make a significant change ("pivot" in lean startup jargon) to one or more elements of the business plan if new information guides us to do so. That is a plan B. But the Plan Z to which...

  • India’s Zomato secures $60M cash injection to roll out exciting food services globally

    Restaurant-discovery startup Zomato has raised a US$60-million round of funding from new investors Temasek Holdings, and existing investors Vy Capital. The capital injection will help the India-headquartered company to introduce more of its product features and services to some of the 20 countries it operates in. In a blog post, Zomato's CFO Umesh Hora writes that some of these new businesses include online ordering, table reservations, cashless payments, point-of-sale, as well as its newly launched white-label platform. Read more: Zomato closes $60m round of funding for its appetite to take over the world Hora adds that the company will roll out online...