SONA 2019: Talking to start-ups, the future fuel for our economy

SONA 2019: TALKING TO START-UPS, THE FUTURE FUEL FOR OUR ECONOMY

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | FEBRUARY 11, 2019

As South Africa celebrates its 25TH anniversary of freedom, President Cyril Ramaphosa used last week’s State of the Nations Address (SONA) to prompt citizens to continue building a society in which all South Africans live in harmony and enjoy their inalienable rights to life, dignity and liberty.

During his address, I picked up a few salient points that might interest the entrepreneurship ecosystem, particularly the start-ups, while acknowledging that his speech – or rather the work of government over the coming months/years will be underpinned by the following five points:

Accelerate inclusive economic growth and create jobs; Improve the education system and develop the skills that we need now and into the future; Improve the conditions of life for all South Africans, especially the poor; Step up the fight against corruption and state capture; and strengthen the capacity of the state to address the needs of the people.

 

For start-ups and the entrepreneurship ecosystem, this is where SONA hits home:

  1. Government announced an economic stimulus package last year, which was set to put the economy back on a recovery path. This includes initiatives to create jobs, more support for township enterprises and emerging farmers.
  1. Remember the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference that was held last year? It’s back again this year. South Africa’s inflow of foreign direct investment increased from R17bn in 2017 to R70bn in 2018. Provinces will also be tasked to compile lists of potential investment deals in the provinces. I think investments in high impact start-ups should feature prominently in this regard. 
  1. The World Bank’s annual Doing Business Report currently ranks South Africa 82 out of 190 countries. The President wants to get South Africa to the top 50 by 2022. I believe this will help attract more investments, yet government must remove as much stifling red tape as possible for small and medium sized enterprises to start and scale.
  1. The Competition Amendment bill will soon be signed into law. This is part of government’s efforts to increase investment, foster greater inclusion, create more opportunities and to curb the challenges the economy faces where the structure of such was designed to keep assets in only a few hands. I believe this will potentially open doors for new, smaller businesses to compete and to have a reasonable share of the market. 
  1. The agreement on the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area offers great opportunities to place South Africa on a path of investment-led trade and to work with other African countries to develop their own industrial capacity. I believe this will not only help with Africa’s integration plan, but get Africans to see and grasp opportunities that can be found if we work together.
  2. The Buy South Africa programme will be supported to increase the demand on local goods and ensure that government and the private sector procures such. I know Proudly South Africa has been championing this initiative and we should find more viable reasons to support local goods. Also, why not lower the VAT rate in shops to below the foreign rate on all locally produced goods?
  1. Government will expand small business incubation programmes and township digital hubs will be established in four provinces and then expand to the rest. I believe this is a step in the right direction. Perhaps the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) can help government establish GEN hubs across the country. The hubs should be equipped to ensure that they also provide quality technical support services to the community they serve.
  1. Support for small emerging farmers will be increased. This will help escalate exports and ensure that underutilized and unproductive land is put back into development. There are so many opportunities for agri-entrepreneurs and even the African Development Bank (AFDB) has a significant fund in the agri-sector.
  1. The eVisa regime will be implemented this year to increase destination marketing and tourism. I still highly recommend that South Africa should introduce start-up visas for high impact start-ups across Africa. This will help attract and nurture African talent in South Africa, encourage partnerships between us and other African countries and ensure job creation locally.
  1. The ocean economy is still a big potential. Investments have been made mainly in infrastructure development, marine manufacturing, aquaculture and the oil and gas sector could be making a massive comeback with the recent breaking news of the discovery of an abundance of new natural gas pockets off the Mossel Bay coast, potentially worth billions.
  1. Government has committed to contribute R100bn into the infrastructure fund over the next ten years, which will be used to leverage financing from the private sector and development financial institutions.
  1. The Early Childhood education programme will be migrated from the social development department to the basic education department. This will help ensure a firm foundation and making this integral to the education system. I always say we have to capture the kids when they are young. This also helps to develop and increase their entrepreneurial potential and helps them to compete with their peers globally.
  1. In line with the government’s Framework for Skills for a Changing World, it will be expanding the training of both educators and learners to respond to emerging technologies/4IR, including the internet of things, robotics and artificial intelligence. Several new technology subjects and specialisations will be introduced, such as technical mathematics and technical sciences, maritime sciences, aviation studies, mining sciences and aquaponics. To expand participation in the technical streams, several ordinary public schools will be transformed into technical high schools. This was undoubtedly my favourite take-out from SONA and one which I am ecstatic about.
  1. To ensure that government effectively, and with greater urgency, harnesses technological change in pursuit of inclusive growth and social development, the President has appointed a Presidential Commission on the 4IR. Comprised of eminent members hand-picked from different sectors of society, the Commission will serve as a national overarching advisory mechanism on digital transformation. It will identify and recommend policies, strategies and plans that will position South Africa as a global competitive player within the digital revolution space.

The President concluded his address with some inspiring quotes from Theodore Roosevelt, who served as America’s 26th President.

As we approach these tasks, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

All-in-all, an inspiring and motivational address I thought. But now that the talking’s done, it’s time to walk the talk and deliver on promises to ensure that the new dawn doesn’t simply fade away into a dark oblivion, but remains a shining and guiding light  for all South Africans.

Only together can we make sure that this truly becomes an exciting time for South Africa and the rest of the continent. We must also remember our proud African mantra, “when one succeeds, all succeed!”

Kizito Okechukwu is the Co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa – 22 on Sloane is Africa’s largest start-up campus.

 

 

 

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Too big to fail?

Too big to fail?

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | FEBRUARY 5, 2019

This is a term we’re definitely going to hear on a regular basis. Sure, it’s always easy to craft an opinion piece like this and analyse or critique large businesses, i.e. their modus operandi and working structures. But today let’s face it, the environment is becoming way more complex than ever before, across the globe.

The advent of the 4IR with sublime digital innovations, increased competition and not fully understanding their consumers’ buying needs and habits, is plunging many businesses into a dark and gloomy quagmire, as they simultaneously back-pedal and fast-track quick-fix and one-size-fits-all remedies, caught off-guard like deers in the headlights, trying desperately to enhance the customer experience, while struggling to remain relevant and sustainable. Now it’s important to note, that not only do large ‘legacy’ businesses face this dilemma, all do – even the few I manage.

 

‘Only the fittest survive’, claims the age-old cliché. In today’s business world, this survival translates into disrupt or be disrupted, participate or become extinct.

Let’s take Edcon, a retail giant in South Africa (who can forget their first Edgars card, the perfect buy now, pay later tool to top-up your wardrobe). Edcon now has over 200 stores and employs over 20 000 people, yet one of their challenges is that their tangible in-store merchandising model became clumsy and confusing to shoppers, many turning away for a different experience – most often to online shopping, as foot traffic in many mall stores continues to rapidly declines. Even with just this in mind, the notion was always that Edcon is too big to fail, as this would have serious repercussions on its thousands of low to middle income employees. Edcon failed to look ahead and now the company is apparently seeking almost R3bn for recapitalization.

Moving to the much-scrutinized public sector, just last week the World Bank’s Country Director, Paul Noumba, said Eskom is too big to fail. Yes, it’s public knowledge that the company had its governance challenges over the past nine years, yet many analysts say the company is also massively overstaffed, as well as management-heavy. But trying to retrench even at other SOE’s like the SABC and SAA for plausible economic survival, never goes down well with so many interest groups. Yet in their defence, they are trying to protect every job amidst our economically crippling unemployment rate. It’s a catch-22 situation.

More to my point in this article is that, importantly, companies still hasn’t fully embraced world-proven innovative and disruptive solutions and business models to help them out of the red and into the black. Many predict that Eskom will soon be divided into distribution and generation. Eskom is currently over R100bn in debt and is also seeking recapitalization, while the debt owed to it by a vast number of mismanaged municipalities still remains at a staggering amount.

So where to now? As a collective business community, in both the private and public sector, we need to develop new design thinking models to participate, anticipate and activate to ensure that our companies are pro-active, starting today, because the reality is that our environment has been severely, yet positively disrupted and will continue to be in the years to come.

A concept I would like to put out there, is that perhaps government should consider drafting a Disruption Policy, which forces companies to understand how their industries are being disrupted and present a plan on how to understand and embrace this for their survival. Maybe an Ombudsman could ensure that companies commit to it and plan ahead, because not doing this instantly puts jobs on the line.

In my humble opinion, I see many companies ceasing to exist over the next ten years or so, as most will still just go with the flow.

No business is too big to fail and none can afford to face the perils of an Edcon. Remember Blockbuster, Kodak, Polaroid and many others when market-relevant redundancy hit their business like a sniper’s bullet?

They never saw it coming…

So take heed, now’s the time for us to adapt or die. And it’s going to be an exciting journey.

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network – 22 on Sloane is Africa’s largest start-up campus.

 

 

 

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Are we ready for Globalisation 4.0?

ARE WE READY FOR GLOBALISATION 4.0?

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | JANUARY 28, 2019

Like most entrepreneurs and business-minded people, I enthusiastically followed the sessions and outcomes at the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. The theme for this year’s forum was Globalisation 4.0. In a nutshell, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is aptly defined by Professor Klaus Schwab in his book as “a technological revolution that is blurring the lines between the physical, the digital and biological spheres”. The 4IR is marked by technology breakthroughs in several things such as robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, blockchains and many others.

From a broader perspective, the 4IR invigorates open connection between technology and markets. It is heavily knowledge-based and requires new sets of competencies. The 4IR predicts and ‘anticipates’ how the market and the way we live will be disrupted by a digital revolution. MinHwaLee et al in their piece on 4IR published on Journal of Open Innovation also highlighted that due to disruptions, which have become visible in nearly every sector, including the labour market, the 4IR poses both a threat and an opportunity to various nations and societies. In order to eliminate the threat, countries must embrace the 4IR and rather concentrate on finding opportunities to boost efficiency and productivity that will open new markets and drive economic growth. Few years ago, at one of the annual Global Entrepreneurship Summits (GES) held at Stanford University, Mark Zuckerberg sharing a stage with President Barack Obama predicted that connectivity and digital transformation will revolutionise the way we do things.The recently concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) portrayed an emerging world economy that is increasingly based on the transfer of data instead of physical goods. Of importance to me, being the co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa, was that the GEN Global President Mr Jonathan Ortmans had the invaluable opportunity to meet with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the WEF.

 


SUPPLIED:
GEN President Jonathan Ortmans meets South Africa
President Cyril Ramaphosa at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Not only did they exchange ideas, they also discussed the impact of the 4IR in the entrepreneurial space and how start-ups can take advantage of the opportunities presented by it. Start-ups are still the most crucial and powerful problem-solvers, solutions-providers and job-creators of tomorrow and any country which fails to empower them, does so at its economic peril. These four investments will set us apart among various countries as the 4IR dawns on us: the ability to develop young coders; the synchronisation through the internet of computing devices in our everyday lives allowing us to send and receive data (IOT); and aligning this with machine intelligence that helps to predict, work and react like humans (AI) and the adoption of 5G mobile technologies that will help improve our network efficiency, productivity, decrease latency times with bandwith expected to reach 1GB per second.

Arguably one of the world’s most successful self-starters, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, opened his session at the WEF in style when asked whether he encountered fears or doubts over the course of building Alibaba. His response was magical. “Of course I was scared and had doubts. But I believed someone, if not us, would win. There are no experts of tomorrow, only of yesterday.”

He added that “in business, never worry about competition, never worry about the pressure. If you worry about pressure, don’t be a businessman. If you create value, there is opportunity. Today the whole world worries. That means there is great opportunity.”

So what keeps Jack Ma awake at night? “Nothing! If I don’t sleep well, the problem will still be there. If I sleep, I have a better chance to fight it.”

Taking into account the above, to respond to the 4IR from a national and institutional perspective, it is important to note that the waves of innovation and new paradigms will bring about development, deployment and exploitation of technologies.

However, the initiation and growth of these areas are strongly affected by the creative characteristics of organizations and, more specifically, our youth. Indeed, at the centre of the creation and growth of any technological solution, there are always the aspirations, curiosities, the creativity, competencies and passion of the people who have imagined, prototyped and tested a technology.

As a country, we need to acknowledge that successful countries bred from the 4IR will be those that recognize that, as much as they must become more technologically advanced, they also need to recognize the centrality of people (its citizens) and that the most human-based distinguishing factors will increase their importance as key value drivers affecting the creation and delivery of value.

In Africa, we have to brainstorm and develop strategic avenues to get our youth involved in the 4IR, while simultaneously creating appropriate platforms that will guarantee their participation in the highly lucrative and game/life changing digital revolution. Of course, creating an environment of this nature and magnitude is never going to be a walk in the park. It needs sustained dedication and commitment from all stakeholders. The good news is that lots of young people in townships, at various incubators and even in our start-up campus at 22 on Sloane are already developing some ground-breaking innovations in gaming, robotics and other digital disciplines. BUT – how do we ensure that this environment and its economics can provide them with the much-needed access to commercialisation?

In closing, the 4IR future does look quite bright for start-ups and I’d like to share a few success stories that’s just taken place this year. Last year, we had the opportunity to partner with Facebook and WhereIsMyTransport startup team in hosting their ‘First Connect Series of Hackathon’ at 22 on Sloane where WhereIsMyTransport aims to improve daily city travel by mapping both formal and informal modes of transport and making its data available to cities, transport operators and passengers across the world. The company has raised $1.85M in a Series A funding round, backed by mobility-focused venture fund Liil Ventures and prior investor Goodwell Investments, a Dutch/South African impact investment firm.

Andela, the company building distributed engineering teams with Africa’s top software developers, also announced the completion of a $100M Series D funding led by Al Gore. The round was led by Generation Investment Management with participation from existing investors, including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV, Spark Capital and CRE Venture Capital. The most recent financing brings Andela’s total venture funding to an impressive $180M. Andela simply recruits developers in Lagos and various other African cities, trains them and connects them with Tech firms in US and Europe.

Proof that the 4IR is officially open for business and everyone’s invited, we must take lessons from Jack Ma quote, “there are no experts of tomorrow, only of yesterday”, there is so much opportunities for young people to build for tomorrow. What they need is access and platforms to show their real potential.

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa – 22 on Sloane, Africa’s largest start-up campus. 

 

 

 

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Education and Entrepreneurship should be key in African elections

education and entrepreneurship SHOULD BE key AS africa MOVES TOWARDS FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS.

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | JANUARY 14, 2019

As the African National Congress (ANC) launched its election manifesto this past weekend and celebrated its 107th anniversary, the party hailed its achievements over the past 25 years. It’s important to remember that the ANC’s successes are also Africa’s successes. That’s because across the continent, the Ubuntu concept remains relevant to all and when one country succeeds, others are likely to succeed. The alluring idea that ANC could have achieved much more over the past 25years is something we still have to scientifically test if one acknowledges the burdens, challenges and mistakes of the apartheid past. Though one must also admit that the past decade has not entirely been citizen and country-centred.

A decade or so ago, election year for most African countries created fearful uncertainty and a severe lack of trust among voting citizens for the often dubious, power-hungry candidates. This resulted in both pre and post-election violence, fuelled by morally deficient leaders not willing to accept outcomes and wanting to prolong their term within a “democratic state”.

Photo Source: Jacaranda FM

Fortunately, Africa is now steering itself towards genuine free and fair election processes, but it’s by no means there yet, as many countries continue to delay results, restrict freedom of speech and ban social and traditional media, amidst vote rigging and corruption allegations. Yet any party, governing or challenging, is certain to also have an element of voter’s distrust and the ANC has its share too.

Moving on, Africa’s two economic giants, Nigeria (February) and South Africa (May), are heading to the polls this year. Nigeria has had its problems over the years, such as corruption, a lack of adequate infrastructure and endorsing policies that deter investors. Amidst this, the country is now promising to clean up its act and ensure that its citizens and specifically its youth – the primary future economic drivers of any country – are prioritized and supported to reach full potential.

This is something I cannot stress enough, because if any country stifles its youth, it suffocates its economy. Whether Nigeria achieves this or not is yet to be seen as similar promises been given today by politicians on the campaign trail has been heard before.

Back to the manifesto, the ANC achievement’s list over the years included transforming the future of millions of young people by massively expanding enrolment in schools, universities, colleges and early childhood development programmes. Although many analysts said there was nothing new in the President’s speech, a few things should be acknowledged, one being that he recognized the party’s shortcomings and is garnering various social partners to support his mission to address such.

Acutely aware that unemployment, which now stands at a crisis rate of over 9 million, the ANC’s manifesto also made bold mention of creating over 275 000 jobs per annum, something that does inspire confidence. Yet remember Africa, manifestos are basically political promises, which are designed to lure and secure voters. So these are promises that cannot be broken. The manifestos must be satisfactorily aligned with ensuring that proper and capable cadres are deployed to implement the vision of the party. Also non-cadres but qualified people must also be considered for various positions.

The ANC’s promise included establishing an Infrastructure Fund. It added that it will open new emerging companies by ending monopolies and anti-competitive behaviour. It will draw more women, rural people and youth into the economy by expanding access to digital skills and training young people by developing and supporting technological and digital start-ups, with a more concerted focus on SMMEs, cooperatives and township/village-based enterprises.

Increased access to education and skills development for more young South Africans is another feather in the governing party’s cap and music to my ears. The commitment to upskill the youth in data analytics, coding, the internet of things, blockchain and machine learning aligned to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, I warmly welcomed as a self-starter and a dedicated start-up champion.

With over a dozen African countries heading to polls this year, the key question is how have all the potential leaders prioritised education, entrepreneurship and the hugely significant role that young people play in their manifesto? Let’s hope that the continent as a whole strives to be a real, youth-empowering developmental continent.

Today, it really is becoming one Africa for all. The Africa Free Trade Continental agreement and the African Union’s continental passport invites us to seamlessly think and act continentally and realise that each of our countries can – and should – work together for our mutual development. We must always ask ourselves, have we prioritised and done all we can for our youth?

I hope all those countries heading to the polls this year will ensure free, fair and peaceful democratic elections, which will benefit the people and not the party.

Remember, the citizens, the world and investors are watching…

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa – 22 on Sloane, Africa’s largest start-up campus.

 

 

 

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Top #5 Resolution Tips for E-commerce Start-ups

Top #5 resolution tips for e-commerce start-ups

ALESIMO MWANGA | JANUARY 9, 2019

If you own an online retail platform in today’s world, it is a brilliant opportunity to take advantage of the new technology trends and boost your weekly or monthly income. Thanks to emerging technology, innovation and data analytics, the ecommerce industry is building a strong base for a more comfortable customer experience. The size of the e-commerce market is estimated to be $23 trillion which amounts to around 32% of the global GDP. This is according to the Unctad – Rising Product Digitalisation and Losing Trade Competitiveness 2017 Report. One other interesting fact is the estimation of the Digital Economy, which is said to be around $16.2 trillion, that’s 22% of the global GDP.  

The growth of the digital economy in Africa has created new opportunities for all entrepreneurs and businesses, one they leverage on to expand their market access, benefit from economies of scale and access to various opportunities within the value chain production.

PHOTO: Unctad: Africa E-Commerce Week

2 000 people from 60 countries recently took part in the UNCTAD’s Africa E-commerce week, which was co-organized with the African Union and the European Union. It was an event that had over 60 sessions convened to examine the different ways to help enhance the readiness of African countries to trade online and to also totally digitize their economy.

Throughout the week business representatives, founders & industry experts highlighted key areas of focus such as – trade logistics, legal & regulatory frameworks, skills development & payment solutions.  If you are considering what plans to focus on for your ecommerce business in 2019, here are five tips that could get you started!

#1   Consumer Trust

Let’s say you are walking down the street on a beautiful day, approaching you is a man who starts a simple conversation with you. He then asks if you will be interested in buying a highly discounted Zara clothing item. Hey! Whether it’s Versace, Gucci or Zara. We all want one, right? The question is, would you consider purchasing this item sold by someone random on the streets?

Customer trust is affected by most aspects of ecommerce. The E-commerce Foundation’s annual report on ecommerce around the world (which last year included African research for the first time), shows that consumers are concerned about: online payments, delivery, hidden costs, taxes on cross-border purchases, how the seller protects their personal data, and their right to return goods which do not come up to their expectations. The order in which these concerns fall depends on the country, but these six issues are always in the top eight worries.

So, how can you improve consumer trust to help enhance your revenue? Well:

  • Improve your security: Once a potential customer visits an ecommerce site and notices that there is no SSL certificate, they probably won’t (or shouldn’t) use that platform to transact.  
  • Another solution – “Trustmark” supported by a dispute resolution and guarantee that the seller applies relevant national consumer protection regulations or an industry self-regulatory code of best practice.  “Trustmarks” started in Europe and the USA. The Safe.Shop trustmark was launched to provide for cross-border ecommerce within Europe.  “Safe.Shop” has also been adopted in a number of non-European countries, including Brazil, Hong Kong, South Africa and Kenya.
  • Learn to under – promise and over – deliver: One thing you always want to avoid is your customer feeling cheated by you, this has an impact on your credibility. News about bad customer service often travels faster than good service.
  • Be all about customer service: Make it 100% about them.
  • You’ve got to be socially active. Building visibility shows you have nothing to hide.

#2   Mobile Technology

Once upon a time, sites could only be viewed by people with desktops. But those numbers are declining now. One major technological advancement responsible for that is the mobile technology. If it is online, then it has to be responsive, smartphones are now an integral part of human life. 

Sub – Saharan Africa has over 420 million mobile subscribers with a 43% penetration rate. Wait! That’s not all; by 2020 this is expected to hit over half a billion. This makes Africa the fastest growing market. Tell me why you wouldn’t want to take advantage of this? These stats were published as part of the Global 2017 Mobile Economy Report by the GSM Association (GSMA) trade organization.

#3   New Customers

Personalization and customer experience will be the holy grail for e-commerce businesses in 2019. In fact, early on in 2017, 33% of retailers said that personalization was a priority for them. If you are able to deliver a positive customer experience, this will indirectly attract new customers to your brand.  Shopify recently published an article which talked about providing an exceptional e-commerce customer experience by creating an important and memorable event for clients which in turn translates to an increase in brand favourability and loyalty.

#4   Digital PR

We all know that marketing can be very expensive, and doesn’t always achieve its aims, which is why Digital PR has become a popular marketing strategy. It is used by marketers to increase their online visibility. If what you’ve been using is not working. It’s time to do a recheck and think again. If your site is not getting the position you want it to get, your golden ticket can be by using an experienced Digital PR & Marketing Consultant.  If you have a very limited budget hire an intern or a recent graduate. To succeed you will need high-quality pictures & personalized experiences.  This can be done with a modest budget and innovative thinking. 

#5: Data Ownership

There are different ways to go about enhancing your ecommerce platform when it comes to data ownership. I’m talking about owning your own data management platforms. For example, Netflix is able to take charge and control their user data today because they own it.

One might also look at customer data. Using your clients’ data to enhance your customer satisfaction is key to success, and a great way to increase the conversion rate for your online shop.

  • Take note of why you have an increase in visitors on your site but not an increase in the conversion rate.
  • Analyzing your traffic sources.
  • And lastly, find out why potential customers abandon their shopping cart.

You need data for all of this. Take note of the data you collect and own it. But be aware of the regulations that govern the collection of personal data – particularly if you are selling cross-border.  

Conclusion

80% of pledges for personal improvement are largely ditched by February. In business though, it’s essential to have goals, and the New Year brings the perfect opportunity to reflect and assess what these should be. Given the opportunities and increasing the market size of the E-commerce industry. Having these resolutions will not only increase your revenue, but it will also improve on a global scale your brand loyalty and bring in new customers which we all need in the coming year.

Alesimo Mwanga

 
 

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Creating a strong social economy

CREATING A STRONG SOCIAL ECONOMY

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | DECEMBER 3, 2018

In the midst of the 2018 Global Citizen Festival, themed Demand Freedom, Defeat Poverty which is closely aligned with the United NationsSustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end extreme global poverty by 2030, I thought it relevant to share the latest activities and developments at 22 on Sloane, regarding the creation of a strong and sustainable social economy.

But first, what exactly is social economy? Various definitions explain that social economy is formed by a rich diversity of enterprises and organisations, such as cooperatives and social enterprises, sharing common values.

A social economy looks at creating new sustainable solutions for various needs and issues that have not been prioritized in our communities. It looks at building a strong, sustainable, prosperous and inclusive society. The four key activities at 22 on Sloane this week proved that the social economy is something to really focus on.

 

PHOTO: Kreativ Afrika Media

Sessions with Kamran Elahian, Global Innovation Catalyst

Last Monday, Kamran hosted several sessions to discuss various issues with stakeholders. His key mission was to understand the entrepreneurship ecosystem, including the current social economic landscape, and explore areas to collaborate with various stakeholders. Today, he is a global innovation advisor to 500 start-ups. As an Innovation Catalyst, he advises various governments on the transition needed from fossil-based economies to sustainable innovation economies. In the past, as a global high-tech entrepreneur, he co-founded ten companies and had six exits; three of which were Unicorn IPOs with a total cap of over $8bn. He was also the Chairman of Global Catalyst Partners with over $350m under management.

The African Odyssey summit, championed by Carol Bouwer

The African Odyssey is a beauty and fashion business summit, focusing on empowering and rethinking the economy of fashion and beauty. Sponsored by the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), amongst others, the event hosted at 22 on Sloane was attended by guests from all over the world, including local stars such as David Tlale, Nomzamo Mbatha and DJ Fresh, to name a few. The platform paid specific attention to developing social solutions for the two industries and ways to create inclusive value.

The Swaziland/South Africa Youth Exchange Programme

What better way to start inculcating a strong sense of social economics, than from the youngest age possible?

22 on Sloane hosted 21 youths from Swaziland as part of its exchange programme, who spent the weekend interacting with their peers from South Africa. Here, the focus was on completing design thinking challenges to develop solutions for the most pressing issues they face within their communities. This marked the end of our youth programme for the year, which saw numerous weekends of learning to start new ventures, to code and create value for their communities. Their evident commitment and passionate participation showed that they derived great value from the programme and left well-equipped to transform, build and sustain their communities.

A Social Economy Policy event, hosted by Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Economic Development

This event focussed on creating a policy on social economy in partnership with the International Labour Organisation, the Government of Flanders and the Industrial Development Corporation. The session was broken down into four groups and each group was given specific tasks, with the minister participating in all, stressing that “we must show passion in what we believe and the different thinking we need to accomplish our social economic goals. We must also get the business side right. Yes, it’s about having the heart, but ensuring sustainability is equally important.”

Here are a few key take-out points from his address:

  • Social enterprises need quicker access. Instead of always focusing on structure, let’s pay attention to delivery and outcome.
  • Social enterprises and the social economy must embrace the necessity for change with the coming of the 4th industrial revolution.
  • Take the existing models in townships and improve them. Also investigate and unlock new opportunities in communities. Burial societies are a good example of cooperatives, which hold sustainable value and create economic opportunities.
  • The dynamics of social economy must not be compromised. Take service delivery as a basic example. A food vendor’s car breaks down on the way to the busy business area in the community, a loss for everyone. But social enterprise does not mean that delivery is compromised. Remember, creating a sustainable social economy faces many unforeseen challenges, such as technical and human dynamics, to name a few.
  • With the Competition Commission, we have coordinated that small players can join forces to bid for opportunities. They need to organize themselves and use all available instruments within the community to weave through and build a great base.

Speaking recently at the Centre for Entrepreneurs lecture in London, the former Google CEO Eric Schmidt also highlighted on the social economy and the importance of building, saying that we frequently don’t build the best technology platforms to tackle big social challenges, because often there is no immediate promise of commercial return. He added that there are a million e-commerce apps, but not enough speciality platforms for safely sharing and analyzing data on homelessness, climate change or refugees.

As we round off the year, we must think about the communities around us that may not have the opportunity to celebrate the upcoming holidays or festive. How do we support them? How do we help them create value in their communities? How do we ensure that 2019 has a different outlook for them? I guess individuals like Patrice Motsepe and his wife Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe are a good example on how we can create a strong social economy. We don’t have to be as wealthy as them to impact our communities, we can do the little we can focusing on those around us.

Finally, building a social economy is a sine qua non for all nations and together we must tackle the issues facing our communities and find ways to ensure that our activities are always inclusive and supportive.

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network – 22 on Sloane is Africa’s largest startups campus.

 

 

 

 

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Startups share their views on 2019 election

STARTUPS SHARE THEIR VIEWS ON THE 2019 ELECTIONS

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | NOVEMBER 26, 2018

Recently, over 3000 delegates attended the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) at the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) 22 on Sloane campus, held in partnership with various private and public sector stakeholders.

With a captive audience of entrepreneurs at the GEW, we found that this was an opportune time and the ideal arena to investigate the significance of the political landscape in relation to businesses, specifically start-ups and those in the early growth stage. To this end we conducted a survey, which was completed by 300 respondents.

As campaigning for the 2019 national elections starts to move up a gear, various party ideologies are being bandied about, centred mostly on land reforms, economic prosperity (hand-in-hand with job creation), inclusion, leadership and transformation.

Small businesses, ecosystem builders and stakeholders, as well as the corporate sector are remarkably involved and engaged in the political process. What’s more, their political positions and ideologies are as diverse as the economy they fuel.

Our analysis provides keen insights into the political mindedness of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, that being how it regards the various policies and economic trajectories envisioned by the major parties.

It’s important to remember that entrepreneurship is deemed to be the backbone of any economy (and any country for that matter). Understanding their thought processes and views on the economy can support planning and development. Also, involving their inputs in policy decision-making is also essential for the much-needed transformation required to address the social reforms in this country. 

One aspect on which nearly all agreed upon, regardless of party affiliation, is that in the years to come, all our political parties should be less party-focused and more people-focused – inclusive and transformative.

Over half of our respondents were aged between 26 and 35, mostly start-ups (31%) and in the early growth stage of business (24.20%). 

 

The key findings from the 300 respondents are provided below in two sections.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL SURVEY RESULTS

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Startup nations policy summit 2018 – Hosted in Surabaya, Indonesia

A WIN FOR TEAM AFRICA AT THE 2018 STARTUP NATIONS POLICY SUMMIT HOSTED IN SURABAYA, INDONESIA

ALESIMO MWANGA | NOVEMBER 23, 2018

As Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrations begin to wind down in as many as 170 countries over the weekend, a group of startup-savvy policymakers and advisors have gathered in Surabaya, Indonesia, to explore innovative approaches being deployed to help stimulate the creation and growth of new businesses. The Startup Nations Summit is held each November as the official capstone to GEW when millions participate in 35,000 events, activities and competitions across the world.

For the second year in a row, the Summit features a policy hack where seven teams of public and private sector leaders, guided by experienced mentors, design policy solutions to real-world challenges restricting the growth of entrepreneurs in their countries.

Team leaders hail from Argentina, Brazil, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Peru, South Africa and Turkey with challenges such as increasing the number of women investors and attracting high-skilled immigrants, amongst others.

 

An increased participation of African delegates joined and participated at this year’s annual SNS meeting in Surabaya, Indonesia.  Another important achievement by team Africa at this important summit is that South Africa will host the 2019 edition of the Start-up Nations Summit in November 2019. This will be the first time the Summit is held in Africa and will look to focus on ways to enhance the African entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The South African delegation was led by Linton Mchunu, Chief of Staff for the Ministry of Small Business Development.  Mchunu says “Over the past 10 years, a new field has emerged in public policy around smarter ways for governments to enable the founders of new firms to start and scale more quickly in pursuit of economic stability and job creation. As more entrepreneurial societies have taken root, disruptive technologies have been unleashed on traditional industries bringing new, unfamiliar regulatory challenges to governments” Mchunu further added that “the Department of Small Business Development led by Minister Lindiwe Zulu, has been consistent in promoting a culture of entrepreneurship and creating a dynamic entrepreneurship which would contribute to the aspirations of the National Development Plan (NDP) specifically, the reduction of poverty, inequality and unemployment, which are common challenges globally, especially for developing countries.”

Leading to this global summit, early on this year, Johannesburg hosted the first Startup Nations Policy Hack in May 2018.  Over 50 stakeholders gathered at GEN22 on Sloane to hack policy solutions that addressed various policy barriers that hindered the startup ecosystem in South Africa.  The winning solution led by Jak Koseff, a Chief Director at the Gauteng Premiers Office, focused on elevating the procurement policies of government by spatially targeting quotas for procurement of goods and services from SMMEs, and better enabling pipelines of SMMEs from disadvantaged areas. The policy proposal, working with a team of senior officials from across Africa including from Nigeria and Kenya, was elevated and refined for the global policy hack in Surabaya.

Under the title of “Digitizing Procurement of SMME inclusion”, the team focused on enabling the 60-80% of African SMMEs that are considered informal to evolve into suppliers to both government and public sector value chains.

The solution, presented by Koseff as team leader, that won second place in Surabaya outlined what the team called the 3 D’s :

  • enabling Discovery – using digitization via mobile phones to make informal firms visible as potential contractors and service providers , As well as provoking the state – and then corporates –  to find or build a pipeline of SMMEs in the most deprived areas , at the bottom of the pyramid .
  • enabling De-risking – using the data gathered via digital means and  via the process of  supporting SMMEs to make it less risky for govts and corporates  to procure from SMMEs and for banks to finance them when they do get contracts
  • Enabling Delivery by building programmatic support into main contracts to enable SMMEs from the bottom of the pyramid to be effective sub-contractors and to grow in to fully fledged suppliers

The policy team which produced this solution included the following representatives:

  • Alesimo Mwanga, Research Director, GEN Africa – 22 on Sloane, South Africa;
  • Florence Kimata, SME Advisor to the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Cooperatives, Kenya;
  • Shehu Abdulkadir, Special Assistant to the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria

The African Team are in the process of working together to design, test and implement the refined proposed digital procurement solution with the support of global mentors.  In 2019, the first phase of testing will take place in South Africa & Kenya, the final beta version in Nigeria. The initial phase draws upon work done by the Gauteng Provincial government as well as national level initiatives in Kenya and Nigeria.   Results from the proposed tool will be shared with the wider community for further development and public input towards the end of 2019.

 

Alesimo Mwanga – Research Director

GEN Africa – 22 on Sloane

 

 

 

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22 ON SLOANE partners with Fortress to award R50k each to 25 startups

22 On Sloane partners with Fortress Reit Limited to award r50k grants to 25 start-ups

GEN AFRICA | NOVEMBER 19, 2018

In its ongoing drive to support communities and stimulate business growth and development, Fortress REIT Limited partnered with 22 ON SLOANE to fund the next wave of emerging entrepreneurs across South Africa.

Earlier this year, some 87 eager start-ups were selected for 22 ON SLOANE’s Residency Programme. 22 ON SLOANE entered into a new and exciting partnership with Fortress REIT Limited to help South African start-ups scale, which includes awarding seed grants and access to additional technical support to the new intake for 2019. Since 2018, start-up residents at the campus have relished the opportunity to engage with various in-house support teams, build and polish their products, network and access various markets.

Of the initial 87 selected, 67 remain, boasting combined revenue of over USD7million and employing around 250 staff.

 

Jodie Ellinor-Dreyer, from Fortress REIT Limited, said “This is just the start. We hope to drive change and support more emerging businesses and the youth in their quest to grow. We look forward to a long and sustainable partnership with 22 ON SLOANE.”

The current 67 startups operate in diverse sectors with 70% of them leading great technology initiatives that spans across various sectors. Twenty-five of the current 67 residents from diverse economic sectors were selected to receive a seed grant of up to R50 000 each from Fortress REIT Limited. They received this grant during the much-anticipated Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW),that took place from the 12 to 18 November 2018. The annual GEW is a highlight on any entrepreneur’s calendar. It’s a celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. The week-long event held every November, inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities, designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities range from large-scale competitions and events to intimate network gatherings, which connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors – introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

GEW is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of more than 15 000 partner organizations. Over nine million people participate in GEW activities globally. The Global Entrepreneurship Network Africa encourages various ecosystem partners to host GEW events in their communities and cities and seek partnerships from public and private sector stakeholders to support their activities.

This year, various South Africa ecosystem role players hosted more than 200 events across the country with a combined attendance of more than 20,000 people and 22 ON SLOANE also hosted its own activities.

Kizito Okechukwu, co-Chair of GEN Africa, thanked all partners for supporting 22 ON SLOANE, as well as those that champion other events within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. “For us, developing and supporting start-ups should remain our lifeblood; we should celebrate GEW every day and we urge other stakeholders to do the same”, he said.

 

For the 2019 Residency Programme, start-ups in the following sectors are encouraged to apply for residency:

Agriculture/agro-processing, E-commerce, Edu-tech, Fin-tech, Gaming, Health, Renewable Energy, Robotics, Transport and Manufacturing.

For applications, please visit www.22onsloane.co/residency-programme/

 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW the list of the 25 Startups that received R50k seed grants

 

  Name & Surname Business name Sector Description
1  Muralli Naidu Autoadviser Auto-Tech Using AI technology, Auto Advisor empowers consumers in the automotive space to make more informed decisions on car purchases, dealership choices and maintenance costs and to promote choice by allowing consumers to voice and share their experiences on a trusted community-based platform.
2 Simphiwe Nkula Khamzimla IT Solutions Fin-Tech Khazimla IT Solutions (Pty) Ltd is information, communications and technology company that focuses on providing integrated, mobile point of sale solutions, order management and cashless pay solutions for stakeholders within the informal trade sector. (the product is Info Trade App)
3  Taher Moosa Anylytical Technologies ICT The company use modern frameworks, tools and agile methodologies to deliver cutting edge solutions with minimal technical debts. They develop bespoke software solutions, offer advice on what technical route to follow, verify how stable and maintainable your code is, architecture review and software process review.
4  Warren Fritz BMC Firm Health-Tech Health Advisor is an app – based solution for the medical aid market which improves the healthcare plan buying and management process for consumers and enhances the customer relationship management between medical aid customers and their advisor/broker.
5  Tumelo Monyai Ndiza Aviation Solutions Aviation Ndiza Aviation Solutions is a provider of world class aviation solutions, tailored to meet the unique requirements of the aviation industry. They specialise in Aviation Cartography, Flight Procedure Design, Aeronautical Survey and Geographical Information System.
6  Banele Lukhele LukArts Education Luk Arts specializes in designing and rolling out creative arts based programmes to teach content, mainly in Mathematics, Science and English. Each programme is designed to be a fit for the client’s needs, looking specifically at learning styles, subject choices and resources available.

 

7 Mqondisi Mhlanzi Prime Time Studios Media-Tech As an internet based broadcasting company, Primetime Studios offers premium television content to paying subscribers across the country and the African continent. The channel aims to focus on Sports Lifestyle Content, Popular Culture, Travel, Current Affairs, Films, and Documentaries all from an African perspective.
8  Golden Hlongwane Magumuza Foods Food and Beverage Magumuza focuses on manufacturing food ingredients (spices, sauces) and the supply of food products to retail entities.
9  Melusi Ngwenya Dlloyd Creative Enterprise Digital services Dlloyd is a startup that provides bar-coding, labelling and digital printing services.
10  Moabelo Nzimande African Make Manufacturing African Make designs, supplies and rents unique and niche furnishings made from scrap tyres. These tyres offer comfort safety and pure relaxation in residential and commercial areas.
11  Sandile Mtshiki Phola Table Manufacturing Auto table has a versatile vehicle accessory that is both ideal and appropriate for motorists to utilise outdoors.
12  Koketsi Molefi Thaga Engineering Engineering Thaga Engineering renders engineering, construction, maintenance and consulting services to the power and petro-chemical Industry.
13  George Sindane Galattica Technologies ICT Galattica Technologies is a startup that focuses on ICT support for small and medium sized businesses.
14  Bontle Moeng BizNiz Africa Media BizNis is a startup independent online trade and investment news website that focuses on Africa’s 3 major business economic sectors such as: ICT, Mining, Energy.
15  Siphokazi Magcoba Sweet Gift Catering Food and Beverage Sweet Gift is a startup food and beverage company which focuses on providing catering services for small and medium businesses. Sweet Gift company was contracted in January 2018 as the in-house caterer for 22 on Sloane for a period of one year.
16  Francis Mande Rejanala Farms Agro-processing A rural based agri-business entity with a mission to enhance food security, create the much needed sustainable jobs for the marginalised and build rural economies into mainstream economies.
17  Nokwazi Mzobe Matoyana Consulting Education Matoyana is a boutique business consultancy agency with the single minded focus of enabling South Africa’s growing entrepreneurship economy. Targeting startups, small and medium enterprises, Matoyana’s business training and toolkit and expertise is all about promoting a culture of entrepreneurship, innovative thinking and sustainable business.
18  Maletuma Maile Basotho Heart Food and Beverage Manufacturing of home-style, non-alcoholic ginger beer that draws from the health benefits of the ginger root.
19  John Golden Digital Display Technologies Digital services Provides indoor and outdoor digital signage solutions for marketing and communication purposes.
20  Napo Mopeli Setsumi Agency & Trading Enterprises Renewable Energy Setsumi Agency and Trading Enterprise (Pty) Ltd t/a SAT Enterprise use primary agricultural produce and by-products to produce green energy and processed products like, cooking oil, juice, peanut butter, animal feed, etc.
21  Tebogo Mashego Ditsogo Projects Manufacturing and Engineering Ditsogo Projects specializes in metal fabrication and steel engineering services. They specialise in; Metal fabrication, Steel Engineering Services, Rolling Stock-underground material and explosive cars, Structural steelwork- carports, fencing, hopper & chutes, Conveyor structures- idlers, rollers, stairways, floor gratings, handrails, Supply of steel tubing and gratings

 

Add-On Services: Hydraulic and Pneumatic Cylinder repairs, CNC Turning, Sleeves-Diff housing, taper, cradle, trunnion, bucket Pulleys-Air-con, idler, tensioner, Pins and Bushes-Articulation, link, steering, Repairs and maintenance of Excavators, Front end loaders, TLB, Plant Hire and Transport.

 

22  Blessing Ngorima Aero 247 Drone Tech Aero 247 offers professional and world class drones engineering, training in manufacturing, design, modelling, analysis, coding, embedded systems, MATLAB, CATIA, CFD, repair, maintenance & operations of drones through a certificate and diploma course and industry relevant seminars & workshop
23  Whitney Jacobs Employ Me HR-Tech EmployMe South Africa (employmesa.com) is a web application that aims to reduce the cost of attending interviews by giving jobseekers the opportunity to upload a short video to accompany their online profile so that employers can get an idea of their personality, which is an important factor in assessing their cultural fit.
24  Lethabo Mashamaite Arnot Ash Manufacturing Arnot Ash is established with the objective of buying / acquiring Flying Ash to sell to the market for profit. Fly Ash is a by-product of the coal combustion process, derived from burning pulverized coal in electric power generating plants. When mixed with cement and water, Fly Ash becomes cementitious, which improves long-term strength of concrete.
25 Jonathan Maphosa Maphosa Attorneys Legal-Tech Maphosa Attorneys is a Law Firm with unique legal technology interests backed up by a research and development team comprised of lawyers, data analysts and software developers that specialise in Artificial intelligence (AI) and its legal practice applications. They have developed various legal toolkits that make  use of AI in legal research, legal documentation mining in discovery and due diligence, automated machine responses to routine legal queries, case law and data  analysis to predict case outcomes and smart contract drafting are just a few examples of our research and development areas in the realm of legal AI with the objective of establishing more efficient, faster and cheaper access to justice and legal services by making use of their intelligent software.

 

 

 

 

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Microsoft launches Head Start

MICROSOFT LAUNCHES HEAD-START: AN END-TO-END PROGRAM BUILD TO HELP TECH START-UPS GROW

FLEISHMAN | NOVEMBER 14, 2018

Microsoft launches Head Start: an end-to-end program built to help tech startups grow

 To win, you have to begin. Microsoft offers technology, community, and go-to-market benefits to help startups grow.

 Monday, 12 November 2018, Johannesburg – Microsoft launches Head Start: an end-to-end program built to help tech startups grow– Microsoft South Africa today launches Head Start – a support program that boosts tech startups by giving them open access to wide-ranging skills development resources, coaches and mentors, a fully-fledged customer network, and the platform on which to build their products and services.

Head Start is a complete program that will help tech startups innovate in the most trusted cloud – Azure – while strengthening the local startup system and preparing them to sell to global marketplace. South Africans who want to take their tech business to the next level can register and join the Microsoft South Africa Head Start programme here.

 

“As a company whose mission it is to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more, we get how critical entrepreneurship is, especially in the South African context where job creation is vital if we are to improve our economy,” says Lionel Moyal, Commercial Partners Lead at Microsoft South Africa.

The Economic Impact of IT and Microsoft in South Africa Report Microsoft recently undertook with IDC shows how IT job opportunities are growing three-times faster than national job opportunities. “We want to give as much support to tech startups as we can to make South Africa more globally competitive, and create jobs, but, if we don’t have skilled South Africans to fill these jobs it will be at a loss. Many of these amazing opportunities run the risk of being lost in the country due to the current skills gap that exists, which we’re working hard to close,” he says.

The report shows how cloud computing is driving massive growth in IT[1]. Over the next five years – between 2017 and 2022 – the adoption of cloud services will generate nearly 112,000 net new jobs in South Africa, of which Microsoft will contribute to 44% of the available opportunities, offering 53,000 net new jobs in South Africa. In today’s economic environment, that’s substantial.

To succeed, tech startups need three specific doors to open: the Technology door, the Business Development door and the Compliance, Regulation and Legal door. “A key differentiator of the Head Start program is the direct access to coaches and mentors that candidates have to guide them through these three key areas, with over 50 Microsoft South Africa staff volunteering to mentor. Candidates just need to schedule an hour meeting with various business experts from multiple fields across the business, and they’ll get one-to-one expert advice straight from those in the know,” says Moyal.

The three mentoring categories are defined as follows:

  • Technology: App development, Data and AI, DevOps, Cloud Platform, Security, Business Apps, Modern Workplace
  • Business: Marketing, HR, Finance, Business Development
  • Legal: GDPR, Security, Compliance and Legal

The business benefits for tech startups are multiple and immediate. When candidates join the Microsoft Partner Network, they instantly become part of a global community that connects them to the relationships, insights, tools, resources, and programs needed to amaze customers and drive growth. Signing up to Head Start means direct access to digital coaching and training, live events, and more. With all types of internationally-recognised qualifications and certifications offered by Microsoft Head Start, tech startups can vastly improve their knowledge and boost their organisation’s trajectory.

Moyal explains that through Head Start, Microsoft South Africa can help grow tech startup businesses by opening the right doors at every stage of the journey. And with over ten high-level partners involved in Head Start, the added value proposition is hard to resist. Candidates can look up the partners on the Head Start website.

“When we talk about empowerment, we simply mean that with the right tools, anyone can become anything. By connecting tech startups with a worldwide network of customers, cloud architects, business development experts, and the latest cloud technologies, Microsoft wants to nurture and evolve these startups into fully-fledged Microsoft partners themselves. The ecosystem itself is far bigger than Microsoft, but by backing the bold entrepreneurial spirit of the brave tech startup, we can bring real change to the future of the country and the continent. There’s no better investment,” concludes Moyal.

The launch of Microsoft Head Start coincides with Global Entrepreneurship Week (12 – 18 November 2018), where millions are inspired to unleash their ideas, start and scale new businesses, and connect to potential collaborators, policymakers, researchers, mentors and even investors.

 
 
 

 

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Global Entrepreneurship Week 2018 kicks off strong

GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK KICKS OFF STRONG

KIZITO OKECHUKWU | NOVEMBER 12, 2018

This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) got off to a flying start yesterday with the South Africa launch taking place at the 22 on Sloane start-up campus in Bryanston.

The eagerly-awaited event attracted over 500 entrepreneurial ecosystem stakeholders which included start-ups, investors, policymakers and various incubator and accelerator networks. Lindiwe Zulu, the Minister of Small Business Development, officially launched the week and welcomed all to what is set to be a jam-packed and dynamic cauldron of vibrant entrepreneurial energy. The minister also participated in the panel discussion that focused on how technology can be a vital enabler to help solve the burgeoning youth unemployment crisis.

 
The Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities range from large-scale competitions and events to intimate network gatherings, which connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors – introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

 

GEW is more than just an awareness campaign, it is a global platform for connection and collaboration, engaging all players in the entrepreneurship spectrum and strengthening international ecosystems, supported and endorsed by dozens of world leaders. GEN Africa encourages various ecosystem partners to host events in their communities and cities and seek partnerships from big and small businesses to support their activities.

 

I have strongly stated that over the years, many, if not most of the start-ups that have managed to scale were inspired by the GEW’s strong ethos and contagious spirit. It continues to inspire many to do so by supporting, understanding, celebrating and connecting the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem. Last year’s GEW statistics were absolutely phenomenal. Over 167 countries participated with 17 000 partners, 39 000 events, eight million people and a whopping USD$159million in play. In South Africa alone, more than 60 events were held with some 15 000 people participating. Invaluable testimony to the event’s global staying power.

 

This year, South Africa will host around 100 events. These include a full week of activities at 22 on Sloane with each day having its own theme. Taking place tomorrow (Wednesday) is the Microsoft Tech day – definitely a highlight not to be missed, which will incorporate the launch of the Microsoft HeadStart programme. This focuses on supporting tech start-ups in South Africa and will help:

 

  • Improve your knowledge and your organization’s trajectory with all types of training and certifications offered by Microsoft HeadStart.
  • Open the right doors at every stage of your journey by connecting you with a worldwide network of customers, cloud architects, business development experts and the latest cloud technologies.
  • Build the right solution with expert support.
  • Grow your customer base by introducing you to its extensive worldwide network of enterprises, governments and other start-ups from around the world.
  • Ensure compliance, regulation and assistance with business-based legal matters.
  • Grow and evolve your tech start-up into a fully-fledged Microsoft partner.

The Microsoft Tech Day will also offer sessions on Cloud Computing, Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, to name a few, which includes building an AI station from scratch on the day.

Included in the programme is a Youth and Social Entrepreneurship Day, which will be led by SAB Foundation on Thursday and a Funding Day on Friday, which will be led by the Industrial Development Corporation and various Venture Capitalists.

 

To find activities happening in your community/city, visit: https://genglobal.org/south-africa

To attend GEW events at 22 on Sloane, visit: https://www.22onsloane.co/gew/

Kizito Okechukwu is the co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), 22 on Sloane is Africa’s largest startup campus.

 
 
 

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22 On Sloane to launch its Startup Residency programme at the GEW

22 oN sLOANE to launch startup residency programme at the global entrepreneurship week

GEN AFRICA | NOVEMBER 5, 2018

The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa 22 on Sloane has launched its 2019 Startup residency programme which aims to attract over 100 startups to join its startup campus in Bryanston. This will mark the second year of its residency programme.

The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of programmes in 173 nations aimed to encourage the start and scale of new and young businesses. The 2019 applications will focus mainly on inviting Tech-based start-ups from the AgriTech; E-Commerce, EduTech, EnergyTech, FinTech, Gaming, HealthTech, Robotics and TransportTech sectors. In addition, start-ups from the agro-processing and large scale manufacturing sectors are also invited to apply. 22 on Sloane will be enlisting additional mentors and programme managers with technical expertise to support 100 of the start-ups which qualify for the 2019 residency programme. This year saw the appointment of the former Statistician General, Pali Lehohla, as a resident Research Advisor at 22 on Sloane and a few more appointments of learned and technical colleagues will be made over the next few months.

In 2018, 22 on Sloane selected 87 startups that joined its 2018 programme and have made a cash and kind investment to start-ups from its 2018 programme. Over 1000 applications were received in 2017 and 87 start-ups were selected for 2018 residency. The current number of resident start-ups is now at 60 with a combined revenue of over USD$7million, employing over 200 staff.

 

During the Global Entrepreneurship Week which takes place from 12-16 November at 22 on Sloane, startups will get the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges for an opportunity to join the residency programme. During one week every November, thousands of events and competitions in more than 170 countries inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity, while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. Powered by the Kauffman Foundation, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of more than 15 000 partner organizations.

 

The Global Entrepreneurship Week in South Africa will also offer various exciting sessions, masterclasses and networking sessions for entrepreneurs. The programme of the week will include:

 

  • Monday 12 November 2018 – The Global Entrepreneurship Launch and Policy Day to be led by the Department of Small Business Development
  • Tuesday 13 November 2018 – Agro-Processing and Manufacturing Day to be led by the Industrial Development Corporation and Nestle
  • Wednesday 14 November 2018 – Technology Day to be led by Microsoft. Microsoft will launch its HeadStart programme for Tech startups in South Africa
  • Thursday 15 November – Social Entrepreneurship Day to be led by SAB Foundation and Industrial Development Corporation
  • Friday 16 November – Funding Day to be led by various Venture Capitals, and Development Financial Institutions.

Microsoft’s HeadStart programme aims to support ten tech-based start-ups by providing access to customers, mentors and the platform to build their products and services. These chosen few will be selected from 22 on Sloane’s annual call for 2019 residency at its campus, which attracts over 100 start-ups.

 

The HeadStart programme will help start-ups to innovate in the most trusted cloud, prepare them to sell to global firms, use any development tool/language and connect with their local community. The most challenging part of an entrepreneur’s life is opening doors. Through this programme Microsoft South Africa aims to help startups grow their business by opening the right door at every stage of your journey – by connecting them with worldwide network of customers, cloud architects, business development experts and latest and most innovative cloud technologies.

 

For more information on attending the Global Entrepreneurship Week, visit: https://www.22onsloane.co/gew/

 

For more information to apply for the startup residency programme, visit: https://www.22onsloane.co/residency-programme/

 

 

 

 

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