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  • 7 productivity apps South African small business should know about

    The head of products at MWEB, Rihana Hoosain, gives small business owners the low-down on some of the latest and greatest tech solutions to transform their businesses. Embracing great online tools and apps can really transform your small business in many ways -- from getting your staff in sync, increasing productivity, business intelligence and profitability to improving, simplifying and revolutionising the way your customers shop and pay. Here are a couple of interesting tools that could increase your business productivity. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • Konga’s bold attempt to revolutionise online payments in Nigeria

    Nigeria boasts over 80 million mobile internet users doing all kinds of stuff online. Yet, as big as the Nigerian tech landscape is, getting customers to pay online is still a major obstacle for ecommerce. Before the country's two largest online shopping companies, Jumia and Konga, launched about three years ago, several entrepreneurs tried and failed to get Nigerians to embrace ecommerce. Today, leading ecommerce stores might have also failed if not introducing its cash on delivery payment option, which is the preferred payment choice for more than 70% of online transactions. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • Ventureburn survey sheds light on SA’s tough, but pioneering startup industry

    Stuart Thomas, Matthew Buckland and Graham van der Made contributed to this article. Startup life isn't as glamorous as it’s sometimes made out to be, according to a new survey by Ventureburn. Employees and founders of startups are often paid below-market salaries, get close to zero benefits and are subject to high-pressure environments. Moreover, just 17% of startups are profitable, with only three percent of startups making it to the sought-after venture capital investment stages. But this begs the question: why is creating and working for startups an increasingly popular option? Although entrepreneurs will make it big if their startup succeeds,...

  • From lab to launch: the quest to build startup success in SA’s innovation capital

    Venture capitalist and founder of popular US seed fund Y Combinator Paul Graham once wrote that the recipe for startup "clusters" is having a great university near a town smart people like. Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille believes this might just be the case for Stellenbosch in South Africa, which echoed the general tone of the evening at the reopening business incubator LaunchLab last month. Situated about 50km outside of Cape Town in the country's Winelands, Stellenbosch is not only home to JSE-listed giants such as Mediclinic and Distell, but also transformative tech companies like the instant messaging...

  • Running a lean startup? Here are 9 free tools that could help

    Some entrepreneurs don't have a choice when launching a lean or bootstrapped startup. They may struggle to find financing, but wish to still proceed with their business plan. Whatever the business, outfitting a company can be an expensive undertaking. Office tools can consist of applications, finance, website, and other items -- all of which will help you focus on working on your business model. These nine free online tools can help you achieve a slimmer startup and reduce initial costs. Some of them may require financial input once your usage expands, but most still give away a substantial amount of functionality. Read...

  • Why it’s so important for startups to nurture leaders from within

    One of the greatest challenges for a startup founder is growing the startup into an organisation that is far beyond his own strengths and limitations. It can be sometimes difficult to part with responsibility when what you’re responsible for, has become an integral part of you. That’s when you find you need to hand over responsibilities to people you trust and more importantly, people who can do what you do: lead. But to be able to identify leaders, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. There are qualities that are common to all leaders like communication, team...

  • Ampion Venture Bus: an NGO’s mission to drive impactful innovation in Africa

    There are various initiatives through which entrepreneurs can come together to ideate, develop, test and launch a product (and company) in Africa, but none of them sound as somehow crazy audacious as the impact driven non-profit, Ampion Venture Bus. Basically, participants are put on a bus which then travels through different countries, attending pitching events and building products as they go along. If you consider the bad roads and restrictive nature of a bus, one would think it is not the ideal way to facilitate innovation and ensuring overall efficiency, but co-founder of Ampion Jan Schafft thinks otherwise. He tells...

  • How much can small business learn from customer self-service?

    In the “old days” just a few years ago, it was a good idea to arrive two hours before your domestic flight in order to check in and get the seat you wanted. In some cases, it was a good idea so that you wouldn’t be bumped off the flight due to chronic overbooking practiced by airlines. And then suddenly passengers were able to check in on line and even using smart phones 24 hours before the flight, and all that stress just melted away. (Unless, of course, the airline’s website isn’t working too well.) Welcome to the age of...

  • Rise of the consumer — is South Africa’s Private Shopper in the pound seat?

    Taking your business else-where can have some negative connotations, unless of course you are talking about taking it online, in which case you are possibly going to make a whole lot of money these days. That's especially true for some of the world's online shops. Ecommerce is making a big entrance all around the world. If you didn't know this, meet Instacart, a brand that has a style that resembles a stiff cocktail of companies, combining the convenience and flexibility of Uber, with a splash of Amazon and a hint of entrepreneurial intuition to make it a long island on-demand ice...

  • This is why I won’t run another startup

    Earlier this year, I closed my startup. So now I get to reflect on what I’d have done differently. Hindsight is unfair and inaccurate, but I still enjoy its lessons. This is one, a note to my future self: "Don’t call your projects ‘startups’". It’s a semantic trick, but a really important one. Here’s why. Startups have become a commodity in an industry of startup conferences, websites, courses and competitions. As founders of young organisations, we struggle to distinguish genuine guidance and support from the distracting pizzazz of the startup industry, where we’re just the product, not the customer. Lured...

  • Why Africa’s ‘largest retailer’ Jumia calls itself a startup

    In February, I put Nigeria’s two leading ecommerce giants Jumia Nigeria and Konga to the test. The results showed some concerns about the quality of customer care and order tracking services being offered by Jumia. Last Thursday, on the sideline of a major event held at the Main Auditorium of the University of Lagos, I spoke to Jonathan Doerr who's the managing director of Jumia Nigeria on the company that he describes as the largest ecommerce platform in Africa -- and the continent’s largest retailer. Read more on Ventureburn.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • 5 effective communication tools every SME needs in the bag

    Regardless of the size of your company or how long you have been in operation, it is essential that you have communication tools in place that will allow you to better connect with your employees, vendors, and customers. Efficient and reliable business communication tools will lead to productive interpersonal relationships, successful resolutions of customer service issues, and effective marketing campaigns. A successful business will also understand that effective communication will rely on tailoring messages and services to obtain maximum results. Read more on Ventureburn.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Stockbox is your subscription delivery site for household essentials

    In the South African market we constantly see the rise and fall of different online shopping ventures. Some of these businesses use proven cookie-cutter methods of trying to replicate the success of others, while a select few take a more unique approach. Stockbox focuses on the latter approach by trying not just a standard click-to-buy model, but a service as well. Founded by Ryan Egnos, Stefano Sessa and Donovan Schönknecht, Stockbox is the new kid on the block, having only launched a few weeks prior. Since then, several design changes have been implemented, new functionality added, and it is all the more better...

  • CustosTech wants to curb movie piracy using bitcoin

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

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

    South African entrepreneur and the founder of creative agency group MadWorld, Adelaide Potgieter, is very daring. In between rocky roads of the past, vulnerabilities, she’s over the years managed to turn a R1 500 investment into a R60-million company by daring to dream. This was the message that was left at Startup Grind Cape Town this month, with the ever so enchanting, Potgieter, as the honoured guest. As always, the event was buzzing with highly ambitious, excited entrepreneurs hungry for knowledge, and managed to live up to its hype as the South African entrepreneur revealed her secrets to success.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var...