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  • Future Females opens applications for three-month virtual incubator

    Are you a female entrepreneur who believes they are ready to take the next big step in building a profitable dream business? Future Females, an international community of female entrepreneurs, has opened applications for this year's edition of the Future Females Business School.  The programme, which is priced at $749 for participants (or three monthly instalments of $269 each), is a three-month virtual incubator that supports entrepreneurs to start and grow profitable businesses online. Applications for the incubator -- which is powered by The Growth Academy -- will close next Friday (1 March), while the programme itself is set to...

  • Company Office

    Fintech Zande closes gap in SA's R40bn cash market for spaza shops

    It is estimated that the SA spaza shop market is valued at about R40-billion a year and that 90% or more of the transactions are in cash. This market is growing at about 10% each year. Despite this alarming statistic of unaccounted cash, SA’s informal market is characterised by unbanked spaza owners with limited or no access to better financial products. This makes it difficult for them to deal with Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies who generally do not open lines of credit with smaller retailers that order in small quantities. It was this mismatch which allowed a local fintech,...

  • Microtraction looking to invest outside Nigeria says partner Dayo Koleowo

    Lagos-based early-stage investment platform Microtraction is looking to do "some non-Nigerian" deals this year, its former principal investment officer and newly appointed partner Dayo Koleowo has revealed. Last year Microtraction -- which was founded in 2017 by Yele Bademosi (who was last month appointed as a director at Binance Labs) -- has so far invested in only Nigerian startups. It's made eight investments to date. The platform ordinarily invests $65 000 in two stages. The first investment is usually about $15 000 in exchange for a 7.5% equity stake. This is followed by an additional $50 000 convertible note at...

  • Why it’s time we outlawed paying to speak at tech conferences [Opinion]

    There is a reason that publishers, as well as content platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have been compelled to clearly mark which content is advertising and which isn’t. And although the reason will be obvious to many reading this, for those that it isn’t, let me summarise: there is always an agenda and it’s not always benign. It’s a hotly debated topic too. Coming from the media space, I have seen it first hand. There is a constant battle between editorial integrity and a desire to keep the lights on. For the good publishers, editorial integrity always won --...

  • SA fintech JUMO selected to join second cohort of Google Launchpad Studio

    Fresh off raising a whopping $64.5-million last year, fintech startup JUMO today announced its participation in the second session of Google’s Launchpad Studio. The startup's financial technology platform connects underserved markets with financial services. In 2017 the startup -- which was founded by South African Andrew Watkins-Ball in 2014 -- became the first SA startup to be selected for Google's prestigious Launchpad programme (see this story). Established in 2017, Launchpad Studio is a fully-tailored product development acceleration programme that gives selected startups the unique opportunity to work hand-in-hand with Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) research and development teams, with access...

  • What budget 2019 means for tech startups in South Africa

    Finance Minister Tito Mboweni yesterday presented the 2019 Budget, but what does it mean for the country's tech startups? In his budget speech (opens as a PDF) yesterday Mboweni sketched a picture of a South Africa struggling with failing state-owned enterprises, ballooning debt and continued low growth, but remained optimistic that the ship could be turned around. "It will not be easy. There are no quick fixes. But our nation is ready for renewal. We are ready to plant the seeds of our future," he said. In his budget speech Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said the country needs to free entrepreneurs from...

  • Crypto exchange platform Coindirect raises €1m in round led by Concentric

    Cryptocurrency exchange platform Coindirect today announced that it has raised €1-million in an investment round led by London-based investor Concentric. Coindirect, which is registered in the Isle of Man and was founded in 2017 by South Africans Donald Jackson, Jesse Hemson-Struthers, Nicholas Haralambous, and Stephen Young, claims to have 40 000 users in South Africa. In a statement earlier today (21 February) Coindirect said London-based crypto firm Blockchain.com and US-based MakerDao also participated in the investment. Coindirect plans to use the investment to further expand across Africa and Europe, supported by partnerships with Blockchain.com and MakerDao. "In the immediate future we're looking...

  • Here are the 50 regional finalists of the 2019 MEST Africa Challenge

    MEST, the Pan-African training programme, seed fund, incubator and hub for tech entrepreneurs in Africa, has announced the 50 regional finalists of this year's MEST Africa Challenge. The winner of the pitch competition, which is now in its second year, stands to receive up to $50 000 in equity investment from MEST and space in a MEST incubator. The finals of the challenge will be held at the 2019 MEST Africa Summit which will take place between 10 and 12 June in Nairobi, Kenya. In a post on Medium yesterday (20 February), MEST said this year's challenge had attracted over 1000 applications. Following the...

  • From vision to keeping positive- 8 habits of successful entrepreneurs [Opinion]

    Not all entrepreneurs are created equal. Some fail, some just remain one-man-bands, some go on to create small businesses, and some go on to create massively scaled businesses. Over the years I have met and had conversations with many founders that have built some impressive businesses. From these conversations, I have compiled what I see as the eight key habits of successful startup entrepreneurs: Vision – most entrepreneurs (and business leaders) are able to sketch and effortlessly communicate a message of growth and opportunity for employees. In a startup environment this is particularly important. Startup employees often find themselves in...

  • Sars Section 12J VC companies –  hype versus substance [Opinion]

    There are many legal ways for South African taxpayers to reduce their tax burden, and investing in a SA Revenue Service (Sars) approved Section 12J venture capital company (VCC) is one of them. However, opinions are divided on the hype of a tax break versus the substance of sustainable investment returns. The 101 on Section 12J Section 12J is not an asset class in itself, but rather a provision in the Income Tax Act that was introduced in 2009 to address one of the main challenges to the economic growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) --  access to equity...

  • Biotech incubator OneBio opens applications to SA, Zim startups

    Cape Town based biotech incubator OneBio has opened applications for its six-month incubation programme to South African and Zimbabwean startups. OneBio is an initiative of the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) in collaboration with the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR). The programme, which is also being run in partnership with Zimbabwean innovation hub TechVillage, is funded by the Finnish government through the Southern African Innovation Support Initiative (SAIS). Applications for the programme will close at midnight on 10 March, while shortlisted applicants will be contacted for an interview by 15 March. OneBio's six month incubation programme...

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