Small Business Academy Stellenbosch applications open

Small Business Academy Stellenbosch applications open




Small Business Academy Stellenbosch applications open

The University of Stellenbosch Business School’s Small Business Academy (SBA) Development Programme will be available for the first time to small business owners in Stellenbosch next year. 

The SBA Development Programme aims to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to build and grow their businesses

Hosted in partnership with the Social Impact Division of Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch Network, and Distell, the programme is targeted at empowering entrepreneurs from low-income communities and businesses in Stellenbosch. 

The programme

The programme will take place over nine months, beginning on 24 February 2021. 

Participants in the programme will complete modules in the following: 

  • Computer Literacy 
  • Business Essentials 
  • Marketing 
  • Financial Management 
  • Business Plan Development and presentation 

In addition, each participant will receive one-on-one mentoring from various MBA candidates and alumni of the Business School, who will provide continuous guidance and support throughout the programme. 

In the last phase of the programme a series of workshops will be held for participants. These workshops will focus on a range of topics such as, how to gain access to funding, marketing through social media, business insurance, and more. 

Successful graduates of the programme will receive an official completion certificate from Stellenbosch University. 

Garnet Christians, an alumnus of the SBA Programme and Director of Acu-Temp, explains that the programme provides essential skills to participants. 

“To effectively run a business, it is important to have as much knowledge as you can. Before I took part in the Programme, I was mostly involved with the physical aspect of the business and lacked expertise with the administrative side of things, such as how to finance, run and market my business operations. By completing the programme, I gained a better understanding of the overall business.”

Requirements 

Applications for the programme are currently open and close on 29 January 2021. 

All applicants must complete this form. The full cost of the course is R2 550 per person. 

Here are the requirements for enrolling in the programme: 

  • Applicants must have completed matric 
  • Own an existing small business 
  • The small business must have been operational for at least two years 

Read more: R26-million investment raised for Stellenbosch University spinout companies
Read more: Initiative launches in Stellenbosch to support local businesses

Featured image: You X Ventures via Unsplash 

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Telkom FutureMakers launch Township Innovation Incubator

Telkom FutureMakers launch Township Innovation Incubator




Telkom FutureMakers launch Township Innovation Incubator

Telkom, SA’s leading telecommunications company, announces the launch of the Township Innovation Incubator, a virtual technology business programme that is targeted at tech entrepreneurs based in Soweto. 

The programme is on the hunt for 15 entrepreneurs based in Soweto, who have developed a technological solution to a problem faced in a community.  

 Applications for the Township Innovation Incubator close 11 December

In an official press release, Mmathebe Zvobwo, Telkom’s Executive for FutureMakers explains that the aim of the Township Innovation programme is to address social challenges in communities.

“The project is close to our heart as a business because driving meaningful social impact in and around the communities we operate is imperative; we have to take care of the people who take care of us – there is a very clear correlation between our success as a business and the success of our communities. The devastating rate of unemployment among youth alone is an alarming call to which we need to wake up and actively engage with local businesses and communities in an effort to lessen and ultimately eliminate. The repercussions otherwise are a ripple wave that will stun us all.”

Township Innovation Incubator

Developed by Telkom’s FutureMakersthe Township Innovation Incubator aims to provide technology-driven and social entrepreneurs with access to tech development support along with financial and non-financial business support services. 

Hosted over a period of 18 months to 24 months, the Township Innovation Incubator is a virtually-held technology business programme. During the incubator programme, participants will be educated in a number of areas including; digital skills training, access to funding, entering the market, business development, and more. 

Requirements

Soweto-based entrepreneurs who focus on tech-driven innovations to solve problems within the community through tech-driven innovations are encouraged to apply online before 11 December.

Interested applicants must adhere to the following requirements:  

  • Applicants idea must leverage technology to solve a social challenge
  • Founders must be based in and intend to operate in Soweto 
  • Applicants must have a technology-based concept that solves a social challenge
  • Businesses must have 51%+ Black-owned South African entity
  • Applicants must possess entrepreneurial characteristics such as risk taker, problem solver, curiosity, leadership, strategic thinking, and innovator.

Telkom FutureMakers

Telkom FutureMakers, the Enterprise & Supplier Development initiative of Telkom launched in 2015. 

The initiative has reportedly supported more than 2 500 small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMME) by providing incubation, investment, connectivity, and business development support services.

Telkom FutureMakers focuses on four areas of investment (innovation, venture capital, and township economy that include diverse value chain programmes, such as Corporate Innovation Accelerator, the IDF Fund and I’m In Accelerator, and the Township Innovation Incubator. 

Read more: Township tech startups accelerator launches
Read more: Absa supports SA tech entrepreneur initiative

Featured image: Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels

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Google invests R2.2-billion into Western Cape 

Google invests R2.2-billion into Western Cape 




Google invests R2.2-billion into Western Cape 

Global and renowned tech giant, Google has announced an official investment of a whopping R2.2-billion in investment funding into Cape Town and the Western Cape. 

The notable investment will amount from both Google and other investors will positively contribute to job creation and the growth of various local industries

Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro comments on the investment made by Google and what it means for the regional tech industry. 

“The fact that global tech giants such as Google are looking to make a considerable investment in the province further solidifies our position as Africa’s Tech Capital. We welcome these investments and the confidence boost it provides”.

Five notable investments were announced at the presidential investment summit into the Western Cape, notably by Google, Amdec, Capita, Lactalis, and Teraco. According to reports, collectively all the investors have committed to an investment of R7.8-billion into the province. 

Salman Kajie, head of the InvestSA One Stop Shop Western Cape outlines what the massive investment means for the province. 

“Not only do these investments boost our local economy, but they will go contribute to much-needed job creation in the Western Cape,” commented Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier. “Maintaining our position as a leading investment destination, retaining investor confidence, and attracting new investments remain key as we rebuild our economy following a challenging year. These declarations are compelling proof to the local and global investment market that we are open for business!”

Investment impact 

Aside from positively contributing to economic growth and job creation, the investment bodes well for investor confidence, setting a bar that encourages international and local investors to contribute to the Mother City. 

James Vos, City of Cape Town Mayco member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management highlights that the investment will contribute to dynamic growth in the tech sector. 

“Boasting world-class infrastructure, sound governance, a skilled workforce, coupled with political will – the Mother City offers investors a plethora of investment opportunities in thriving industries like Agri-business, Manufacturing, Tech, Creative Industries, Real Estate, Maritime Manufacturing, Business Process Outsourcing to name but a few. The City of Cape Town is ready to partner with the public & private sector to help attract & land investments that will drive demand & make sense.” 

Read more: Western Cape launches tech ecosystem initiative
Read more: ICT Incubation programme launches for Western Cape businesses

Featured image: Greg Bulla via Unsplash 

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OneCart partners with Exclusive Books and HP Store

OneCart partners with Exclusive Books and HP Store




OneCart partners with Exclusive Books and HP Store

Cape Town-based startup, OneCart, an on-demand grocery delivery service has announced a partnership with HP Store, a computer and electronics retailer, and bookselling chain, Exclusive Books.

Expanding its current offering of groceries and household goods, OneCart will now sell products from HP Store such as inks and toners along with a full range of books and stationery from Exclusive books. 

 OneCart users shop at the HP Store and Exclusive Books as a new partnership is announced

In an official press release, Ariel Navarro, COO of OneCart explains that the partnership drives a wider range of products for users to choose from. 

“We are delighted to partner with leading retailers Exclusive Books and the HP Store, and bring even more variety and value right to the doorsteps of OneCart users with the ultimate convenience and flexibility of same-day delivery.”

OneCart

Founded in 2016 by an entrepreneurial duo, Ariel Navarro and Lynton Peters, OneCart offers consumers a personalised online shopping experience with a marketplace that offers access to a wide range of stores. Users can order items on the innovative OneCart platform and receive their delivery within a mere two-hours. 

OneCart collaborates with malls and retailers to ensure deliveries are completed within the day of the order to provide same-day delivery services that are convenient and flexible for users. 

Before the partnership with HP Store and Exclusive Books, OneCart focused on delivering groceries with retailer partners such as Woolworths, Pick n Pay and Pick n Pay Liquor, Food Lovers’ Market, Dis-Chem, Clicks, Jacksons, Mr Pet, Makro, and Makro Liquor.

Navarro comments on OneCart expanding its range to ensure that a variety of products are on offer to users.

“OneCart is excited to offer customers new product ranges. Our vision has always been to be an all-inclusive e-commerce platform. Groceries were the obvious market entry point for us. Now, having grown our market share in this area significantly, OneCart is ready to increase its range to include books from Exclusive Books and ink cartridges from HP Store, and more.”

OneCart pushes integration

OneCart aims for an all-inclusive eCommerce platform that will provide users with a wide range of products from multiple retailers. The expansion of the online marketplace will result in a decrease in the cost of online shopping and will add value to the platform as integration occurs.

Navarro comments on what OneCart users can expect from the expansion.

“We are working very hard on achieving full integration with our existing retail partners’ ranges and adding health and beauty, pets, liquor, and general merchandise. We plan on becoming the premium go-to e-commerce platform in South Africa and hope to make more exciting announcements soon.”

OneCart aims to expand its delivery areas across SA. They recently added the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, and Cradlestone Mall and Cedar Square in Johannesburg. The expansion will also create job opportunities as there is a need for more people to shop and deliver the goods to OneCart users. 

Effects of Covid-19 on OneCart

Covid-19 has brought along challenges and entrepreneurs, workers, and students operating from home have forced marketplaces to adapt and digitise to support the increase of online shopping. 

Stacey le Grange, Head of Marketing at HP Store explains that the partnership with OneCart strengthens the relationship with customers.

“With OneCart, it’s like having your own personal assistant who can dash out for ink when you run out so that you can finish printing that work report or school learning material.”

The partnership between OneCart and Exclusive Books is a retail strategy as SA’s largest bookselling chain, Exclusive Books has a strong online presence that can accelerate the online marketplace, OneCart. 

Batya Bricker, Marketing, Loyalty, and Procurement General Manager at Exclusive Books comments that the adaption to Covid-19 sparked innovative solutions to continue to provide books for customers. 

“At Exclusive Books, we consider books an essential service! During the lockdown, we created and ensured five different ways for customers to get books, even if they were not able or comfortable to come into a store. These included a phone-in option, and of course, online shopping. Partnering with OneCart offers yet another convenient channel for customers to get their books.”

Read more: Uncertainty as grocery, food delivery startups say they’ll stay operating during lockdown
Read more: New early-stage Venture Capital Fund to back cohort companies launches

Featured Image: OneCart  (Supplied)

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Instant EFT shines in local Alternative Payment Methods space [Sponsored]

Instant EFT shines in local Alternative Payment Methods space [Sponsored]




Instant EFT shines in local Alternative Payment Methods space [Sponsored]

South Africans are following international trends by embracing Alternative Payment Methods (APMs) when it comes to online purchases.

While in-app payments, wallets, and QR codes dominate in the mobile payment space, when it comes to bigger ticket items, instant EFT payments are becoming the method of choice

“The traditional choice of credit or debit card for online payments is beginning to shift. The fragmentation of the payment ecosystem over the last few years has also been given a nudge as a result of the pandemic with more people exploring alternate options,” explains Brendon Williamson, CSO at South Africa’s largest payment service provider, DPO South Africa. 

The move towards a cashless society is being boosted by APMs. But they are also having an impact on card-based transactions. 

A US report from fellow payments technology company, Paysafe, released in September last year shows how the younger generations are rapidly embracing newer payment methods. 

The study showed that only 39% of Generation Z (consumers aged between 16 and 24) make online payments using a credit card, compared to 49% of consumers aged 25 and over. 

The report finds 40% of Gen Z consumers have made in-app payments, with 15% making in-app payments on a regular basis. What’s more, 34% of Gen Z consumers have used a mobile wallet in the past, with 14% using them regularly. Meanwhile, only 10% of non-Gen Z consumers use mobile wallets regularly. 

“We see a similar trend in South Africa where the younger generation is more comfortable with APMs generally and are especially fond of mobile payment options. Payment offerings need to retain their interest though because younger generations are happy to try new things. So keeping your product offering sticky is imperative. Loyalty and rewards schemes are well received amongst all age groups, but the younger demographics are very adept at gamifying these programmes, which makes them particularly attractive” explains Wllliamson. 

The exception to all the rules

While it too is growing in popularity, the one APM that refuses to be confined to a demographic tickbox is instant EFT.

Williamson explains that this payment method is widely embraced across all age groups, especially when it comes to bigger-ticket items as well as for those who prefer traditional EFT transactions but want to do things faster. 

“Experience with our SiD Secure EFT, which we have offered for two years now, shows us that it continues to resist being pigeonholed. We can clearly see that both young and old love to use SiD when paying for holiday bookings as well as airline tickets. Working with FlySafair for seven years and more than a decade with both Mango and Kulula clearly shows that people are increasingly opting for instant EFT as a safe way to secure their travel purchases,” he says. 

Another retailer that is seeing a steady uptick in instant EFT payments is the national bed specialist, Dial-a-Bed. 

“A large percentage of our sales have traditionally been manual EFT and the time we lose waiting for confirmation of funds to be cleared has compromised the level of service and speed of delivery we wish to provide. So with faster clearing, the rest of the customer journey continues more seamlessly,” explains Janlo Van Den Heever, head of omnichannel marketing and sales at Dial-a-Bed. 

Van Den Heever goes on to say that the retailer has seen a steady gain in instant EFT transactions as trust in the offering increases and says those who choose this method generally receive their orders in half the time compared to shoppers who manually transfer and send proof of payment.

“Making sure you know your users and how they want to transact is imperative for organisations who hope to grow their customer base – and understanding and acting on trends is a big help. However, when it comes to making sure you have your bases covered at the checkout page, including an Instant EFT offering is a no-brainer,” Williamson advises. 

About DPO South Africa

DPO South Africa (previously PayGate, PayFast, Setcom/SiD, VCS, and PayThru) is a subsidiary of the Pan-African DPO Group. It offers online retailers of all sizes instant access to simple, effective, and secure online payment services, including PayGate Plus its newly launched fully managed payments solution. DPO South Africa has connections to multiple acquirers, fully managed relationships with banks, card, and payment networks, and sophisticated risk management with PCI-DSS Level 1 compliance. It processes payments for merchants across SA, Namibia, and Botswana. With DPO, local business owners can now accept all major payment methods in 19 African countries through a single integration into the DPO Group. For more information please visit www.paygate.co.za

This article is supplied and sponsored by DPO South Africa.

Featured image: Supplied 

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To thrive in a pandemic, you need to reinvent your business [Opinion]

To thrive in a pandemic, you need to reinvent your business [Opinion]




To thrive in a pandemic, you need to reinvent your business [Opinion]

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to many debates. But if there’s one thing commentators appear to be united in, it’s the certainty that our world will be forever changed by it.

We’ve all heard the phrase the ‘new normal’, and some economists have predicted that most businesses will have to fundamentally change the way they operate to be able to succeed in a post-COVID global economy.

The good news is, that this is entirely possible – science tells us so. Businesses that are sufficiently agile and creative have the potential to pivot and reinvent themselves, and ultimately stay relevant both during this pandemic and after the dust has settled. The pivot process is multifaceted: it involves forming new habits, adopting a committed growth mindset, and behaving like a hungry and innovative start-up.

In behavioural science, there’s a term for the kind of behaviour that sets apart the individuals who are able to succeed when faced with similar challenges where their peers tend to fail. It’s called ‘Positive Deviance’, and it’s a capacity that allows these people to come up with better solutions. Positive deviance calls for openness, and optimism of behaviour first rather than thought – in essence, the mindset that it’s “easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than it is to think your into a new way of acting”.

Equipped with these tools, success in the wake of Covid-19 is entirely possible.

Combine powerful new habits with a growth mindset

Humans are all too familiar with the need to change, it has been a critical part of our survival for millennia. It has also been studied in detail and the science of how and why people change is well known and established. What Covid-19 has made abundantly clear, is that businesses are no different. Companies both big and small are capable of adapting to the prevailing circumstances – and indeed of thriving amid them.

Strong leadership is crucial to the success of this adaptation. Even at the best of times, good leaders can help businesses to maximise productivity and achieve their goals. During times of crisis, good business leadership involves forming new habits to make change possible and keeping a firm and steady gaze on the growth potential. Doing so can lead to important shifts in the way your business works, in the way it engages with its client base and the way it solves problems.

While it can feel daunting to consider changing systems and processes at a time of uncertainty, this lateral-thinking approach is the very thing that makes growth and success achievable.

Think like a startup

One way to adopt this growth mindset is to think like an entrepreneur starting a business. Start-ups focus on what makes good strategic sense, they prioritise innovation and they’re quick to adapt to change. Be like a start-up.

Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo

Entrepreneurs look around and ask, “Why does everyone do this the same way?” They start with a blank piece of paper before them and write down ideas that are entirely new and fresh. Businesses that disrupt the status quo, particularly during a crisis, can position themselves at the cutting edge of their industries. The result is growth.

 Form multi-disciplinary teams

Unprecedented problems need to be met with a diverse range of knowledge and skills. A narrow approach is only going to reduce, or even eliminate, your chances of success. You need to be able to look at things from a variety of different perspectives and find a number of different solutions to any given challenge. This requires different people with different skills-sets to be seated at your table.

Be curious and creative

Go beyond your own context for inspiration. You might be surprised at the parallels that can be drawn between sectors and industries. 

Leap into action and start doing

Start-ups are bold. They turn their engines on quickly in order to put some of their ideas into practice. They think carefully and strategically, but then swiftly take the plunge to see whether their ideas have scope for success. Making this part of your approach will likely distinguish you from your competitors.

When BrightRock was founded, we realised that things could be done differently. We wanted to create a new type of life insurance that would give clients and financial advisers the tools to co-create a solution that precisely met their individual needs – even when those needs changed. Agility has been the name of our game from the very beginning.

Today, BrightRock is the fastest-growing insurer in our market segment, and we provide cover that is both relevant and appropriate to each individual client. In fact, according to the NMG Risk Distribution Monitor for Quarter 2 – the hard lockdown period – BrightRock was the only life insurer to increase new business by 4% in a period when the industry as a whole saw a 38% reduction (compared to the same period in 2019).

Embrace risk – strategically

Our experience has taught us that nothing in business is guaranteed. You have to perform and get better at whatever you do, or you will lose your competitive advantage. These uncertain times may tempt some businesses into being more risk-averse, but in many instances, being decisive in this time is what will set you apart.

For several years, BrightRock has combined its crafting of personalised insurance solutions with an entirely different space: content creation and communication. The BrightRock Change Exchange, as it is known, offers readers the opportunity to understand life’s biggest change moments by learning from the experiences of others. This online platform also offers helpful tools, apps, and expert opinions. And the content that we publish there is informed by and inspired by the latest scientific thinking around how people adapt to change in their lives. Through this medium, BrightRock is able to demonstrate the power of embracing change and being adaptable within it – and certainly, over the course of this unprecedented year, it has been a critical tool both internally and among our clients.

In this new era, businesses need to re-orientate their products, services, and business model to a new business landscape. Continuing with the ways of old is no longer an option. To continue growing and staying relevant depends on adaptation, innovation, and the courage to reinvent.

This article was written by Suzanne Stevens, Deputy CEO of BrightRock.

Featured image: Suzanne Stevens, Deputy CEO of BrightRock (Supplied)

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SA 4IR startup LayUp creates unique payment solution

SA 4IR startup LayUp creates unique payment solution




SA 4IR startup LayUp creates unique payment solution

Cape Town-based startup, LayUp has created an innovative solution to the traditional lay-by payment system for consumers, decreasing the rate of debt and allowing low-income individuals to purchase goods and services without opting for a credit-based purchase. 

  SA 4IR-tech startup launches digital payment solution to alleviate credit payment issues in SA

The developed service allows consumers to deposit money towards goods or services and once it has been paid off, the consumers are provided with access to said item or service.

Tackling the old age lay-by system that has reportedly resulted in high administrative costs and high non-completion rates for both merchants and retailers, LayUp’s new payment tool aims to improve finalisation rates of up to 60% for businesses. 

In an official press release, Andrew Katzwinkel, founder and CEO of LayUp explains enhancing the completion rate and providing access to SA’s low-income market.

“Through driving awareness of when payments are due and making payments easier and more convenient for consumers, our platform could improve completion rates up to 60% for businesses. Currently, consumers need to be in-store to make their lay-by payments, with their ID, and worse, it needs to be the same store at which the purchase was initiated. Clearly, such conditions can lead to high drop-off rates.”

LayUp system

There are, reportedly 20.3-million credit-active consumers in SA with R1.4-trillion in local consumer debt. Low-income and middle-income earners are excluded from credit purchases as they lack a credit record. 

Credit purchases increase the risk of merchants not receiving payment. These challenges caused by credit purchases encouraged the launch of the digital lay-by app as an alternative payment solution for businesses. 

Katzwinkel explains that the system used by LayUp is less admin and cost-effective. 

“But where the traditional lay-by system means that merchants have to manually manage and monitor incremental amounts of money from multiple consumers, LayUp’s technology removes the hassle and complexity. This is through automating collections, refunds, cancellations, and settlements, which significantly reduces overall administrative costs, as the platform’s interface or API was built with an accompanying treasury system that allows payments to be reconciled and settled instantaneously.”

How does it work?

The digitised lay-by app developed by SA digital distributor, LayUp encourages customers to secure their goods or services by activating their payment plan by making a small deposit that is determined by the merchant. 

The consumer has the freedom to choose the payment period for the specified item. This flexibility in payments is subject to the perimeter’s set out by the merchant. 

The payment plan is flexible and connects to the app by communicating reminders for payments that are due. Payments can be made via credit card, online, or in-store at any affiliated retailer. 

The scheduled payments to merchants that secure the goods or services will have no additional interest fee. Products will be redeemed by the consumer after the total amount is paid in full. 

Market extension

Founded in 2019, LayUp has reportedly surpassed R10-million in transactions since inception. 

The startup aims to integrate into large enterprises in the future with a focus on using LayUp systems to save for medical procedures that include surgeries or cosmetic dentistry. 

The cost-effective digital payment solution aims to increase the number of goods or services sold during a single purchase. The rate at which goods and services are sold is known as the turnover. The LayUp merchants are expected to experience an increase in turnover as the order value increases. 

Katzwinkel explains that LayUp can accelerate cash flow in SA’s untapped low-income market and notes that the basket size indicates the growth potential.

“Not only that, with 30 million consumers currently locked out of the economy through the inability to access credit, by circumventing the need for a credit check, LayUp also offers businesses the potential to tap into South Africa’s underdeveloped low-income market. This represents potentially billions in transactions, opening access to new revenue streams for businesses.”

Read more: New Nigerian fintech to launch digital wallet platform
Read more: Africa: why digital payments are key to financial inclusion [Opinion] 

Featured Image: Andrew Katzwinkel, CEO of LayUp [supplied]

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Absa supports SA tech entrepreneur initiative

Absa supports SA tech entrepreneur initiative




Absa supports SA tech entrepreneur initiative

Absa Group has announced that it will support phase two of the 1 000 Tech Entrepreneurs Programme, an initiative dedicated to providing South African entrepreneurs with the opportunity to create innovative tech-based businesses.

 The 1 000 Tech Entrepreneurs Programme is backed by Absa Group

Led by Silicon Durbs, a technology ecosystem that aims to transform the culture of technology through innovation, Absa Group will provide partial funding to the innovative programme. 

Lindani Mkhize, founder of Silicon Durbs and the campaign lead for the 1 000 Tech Entrepreneurs Programme, comments on expanding the programme across Africa with the support from Absa. 

“We’re hoping to stimulate a culture of technology entrepreneurship that can be copied in other African markets and prestigious supporters like Absa help us to bring this dream to life while creating an ecosystem with stakeholders that are willing to collaborate, partner and support each other.”

The 1 000 Tech Entrepreneurs Programme

The 1 000 Tech Entrepreneurs Programme encourages innovative South African entrepreneurs to create tech-driven businesses that will address and alleviate real-world challenges. 

The 12-month programme is structured to assist with business growth and development. Consisting of various bootcamps that began at the start of November 2020 and will end in March 2021, the programme will educate and empower participants in a range of topics from value proposition, design, product engineering, brand development, pitching, and more. 

The five-day bootcamps will be held in different locations across the country. 

National ecosystem partners in the programme will support participating entrepreneurs to further grow their technology-driven businesses.

In an official press release, Andrew Davies, Digital Partnerships Ecosystem Lead at Absa Group said that the unemployment rate amplified the importance of initiatives, such as the 1 000 Tech Entrepreneurs Programme, to combat real-world challenges.

“This year has shown us more than ever, that large corporates should be supporting entrepreneurial ventures in order to create employment opportunities. Added to this, it is the fresh and innovative thinking of technology entrepreneurs that gives rise to the type of startups that solve real-world problems.”

Absa reportedly facilitates more than 40 entrepreneurs through its WorkInProgress (WIP) innovative lab that connects tech startups with potential investors and growth partners. 

The WIP provides top facilities to startups and offers support to accelerate growth in the tech industry. WIP hosts events such as hackathons, solvathons, accelerators, and startup-support programmes that are aimed at finding innovative solutions that are used to scale businesses.

Register

South African tech entrepreneurs are encouraged to register for the 1000 Tech Entrepreneur movement online

Interested applicants are advised that no prior entrepreneurial experience is required. 

Read more: Absa invests in SA startup stock exchange A2X Markets
Read more: Job Booster Programme to upscale 50 entrepreneurs

Featured Image: (From left to right) Charmaine Lambert, head of WorkInProgress and Lindani Mkhize, CEO of 1 000 Tech Entrepreneurs Programme (Supplied) 

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Cape Town committed to empowering entrepreneurs with disabilities

Cape Town committed to empowering entrepreneurs with disabilities




Cape Town committed to empowering entrepreneurs with disabilities

The City of Cape Town has announced its commitment to supporting programmes and initiatives that support the growth of businesses owned by entrepreneurs with disabilities.

Cape Town is committed to growing businesses owned by entrepreneurs with disabilities

With November being national disabilities month, the COCT hosted a Disability Entrepreneurship Seminar with the focal theme as ‘Promoting, Encouraging, Supporting Entrepreneurs with Disability’ on 20 November 2020.

The seminar was hosted in collaboration with the national department of Women, Youth and People with Disability, the national department of Small Business Development, the Western Cape Government’s Department of Economic Development, and various stakeholders

The initiative of commitment to entrepreneurs with disabilities will be managed by the COCT’s Urban Management Directorate.

Grant Twigg, Mayco member for urban management comments on the city’s commitment to finding effective ways of providing solid and sustainable support to entrepreneurs with disabilities.

“The City believes that economic participation is the most powerful means of empowering people with disabilities. In this regard, the Urban Management Directorate seeks to promote inclusiveness and access for entrepreneurs with disabilities to programmes and incentives.”

Addressing critical access issues

The recently hosted seminar analysed the existing government services that entrepreneurs with disabilities can access.

In relation to this, the seminar covered the challenges and constraints surrounding gaining access to these services offered.

Findings from the event indicated that many of the facilities are not disabled-friendly, with a lack of ramps, sign language interpretation, or information in accessible formats. This hinders entrepreneurs with disabilities from participating in the available training or accessing business development services.

Twigg explains entrepreneurs with disabilities operate their small businesses under strenuously disadvantaged conditions.

“We cannot have an inclusive city if we don’t address the needs of all our residents, including the needs of our residents with disabilities. Entrepreneurs with disabilities face great disadvantages arising from discrimination on the basis of their disability. They are often marginalised and denied opportunities. A majority of entrepreneurs with disabilities operate their businesses under adverse conditions. Not only do they encounter difficulties in finding working premises, markets for their products, and access to finance, but they also have limited access to training in entrepreneurship skills and management.” said Twigg.

Dedicated the creating long term solutions to the challenges highlighted by participants, the seminar has created a plan to ensure that it supports entrepreneurs with disabilities.

Read more: SA fintech breaks the $2.5-billion disbursement mark in Africa and Asia
Read more: SA fintech Ukheshe acquires SA startup Oltio

Featured image: City of Cape Town, (Supplied) 

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SA fintech Ukheshe acquires SA startup Oltio

SA fintech Ukheshe acquires SA startup Oltio




SA fintech Ukheshe acquires SA startup Oltio

Ukheshe, Africa’s leading digital fintech platform provider has announced its acquisition of Oltio, a South African startup that has launched several mobile payments and banking solutions, including the digital payments platform that assists Masterpass, Mastercard’s QR payment service in SA. 

Ukheshe partners with Mastercard to acquire SA startup Oltio

The collaboration strengthens Ukheshe’s partnership with Mastercard, expanding on its participation in the Mastercard Accelerate Programme that includes Start Path and Fintech Express.

In an official press release, Clayton Hayward, CEO of Ukheshe, explains that the collaboration with Oltio aligns with its mission to drive inclusivity through mobile-led financial solutions.

“Digital-first solutions for consumers remain a key priority. By enabling different customer segments as part of our ongoing partnership with Mastercard, Ukheshe is well placed to continue providing fintechs, telcos, and banks with payment solutions, and services that will further deepen financial inclusion in South Africa.”

Ukheshe

Ukheshe is Africa’s market-leading fintech platform provider. The platform provider assists sectors in banking and telecommunication by building microservices that allow fast digital transactions for clients.

The African fintech aims to transform and innovate the payment industry, by developing components that are scalable and secure to launch into the digital-led market. 

Ukheshe and Mastercard partnership

Oltio was previously acquired by Mastercard for its technology, skilled employees, and infrastructure that contributed to the development of mobile banking and digital payment solutions in emerging markets in Africa. 

The local startup developed the digital payment platform that supports Masterpass as it allows users to pay for purchases with their bank card via a QR code which is scanned with a mobile phone.

Ukheshe’s acquisition of Otlio will allow the fintech platform to continue providing its financial service which operates via Masterpass. This will assist in supporting financial service providers without impacting consumers or merchants. 

Suzanne Morel, country manager at Mastercard, South Africa explains that the acquisition strengthens the partnership between Ukheshe and Mastercard. 

“Today’s news builds on the momentum of our QR work in South Africa and deepens our collaboration with fintechs. We look forward to combining our global network with Ukheshe’s local understanding of consumer and SME pain points to provide consumers and businesses with safe and seamless payment experiences.”

The use of QR codes in SA supports the objective of contactless payments that allows merchants of all business sizes to accept payments seamlessly and securely. 

Ukheshe participates in the accelerator programme offered by Mastercard which provides access to Mastercard’s technology, data, expertise, and a global network of corporates and fintechs which is used to accelerate operations globally.

The transaction between Ukheshe and Otlio is anticipated to close by the end of the year.

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Featured Image: Clayton Hayward, CEO of Ukheshe. [supplied]

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