StartupGuy

I am StartupGuy
I start a fire with ice

Born: 29th July 19XX

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November 15, 2019 StartupGuy0

We all love to craft our own ideas in order to build a niche, and that very much requires making some hard decisions. I mean…. Starting your own business is more than projecting numbers and looking at profits.

It could even mean leaving your current job. We may often crib about our boring work and horrible bosses. But are we driven enough to do something new out of boredom or passion?

If you’re confused and curious, consider these 10 important points to definitely add substance to your contemplation. Things to ponder over while quitting the job to start a business:

 

1. Are you ready for the bumpy ride?

Leaving behind the corporate league with one foot in the entrepreneurial journey is certainly a risky encounter. Are you actually ready to face the roller coaster ride of this new life? Business means that you will be on your own with nothing to fall back on. Are you ready for that?

2. Are You ready to take on multiple roles?

You’re soon going to be a boss, and that means wearing multiple hats. You will have to carry out several functions with or without resources at your disposal. This is until you start making those leaping gains. The experience of self-employment can prove to be more challenging than that of being an employee. Are you ready for that?

3. Are you willing to burn bridges for a better tomorrow?

Don’t resign abruptly from your current job until you’re sure that’s what you really want to do for the rest of your life. What if your employer could help launch you? You need to pull off a few stunts heroically. A new venture requires a breakthrough idea, support and effective execution. Are you ready to stake it all?

4. Are you ready to brush up on your skills frequently?

The market dynamics in this current scenario changes within a fraction of a second, calling for changing your strategy as and when. How comfortable would you be to rework on your own products, ideas and services, so they level with the brilliance prevailing in the market?

5. Are you ready for a new routine?

Starting a business from the scratch is going to surely take away most of your time, thus keeping you away from your family, friends and barricading your social life. You will have to evaluate and measure up the odds of risking your personal life to a certain extent in order to make it work. Are you ready for that?

6. Do you have enough resources for your new venture?

Having an idea is never enough but you are going to need efficient planning, implementation and adequate resources to run the show. Ask yourself the kind of resources that you have so as to push your venture ahead. Are they enough?

7. Are you ready for the grueling sessions?

Get ready for the grill. From selling the product to monitoring accounting and even advertising, you really gotta have all the answers!

8. Are you open to constructive and destructive criticism?

As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to be assertive and otherwise be able to accept other’s opinion about your work and products. Are you willing to take in the destructive criticism with grace?

9. Can you ignore euphemistic people or opponents?

Your success may bite your opponents hard. If people provide you with devastating information or hinder your vision, work and career, can you bypass them? Can you actually not give a damn?

10. Do you want this MORE than anything?

If this is what gives a kick, then you must invest in your venture and importantly, your future too. Ask yourself if you’re willing to let go the fancy frenzy of the corporate, and live a more rigorous but fulfilling life.

Are you sure about removing the corporate badge and entering the entrepreneurial space? If you’re not still, then reconsider your options again.


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December 23, 2018 StartupGuy0

Having attended the Africa 2018 Forum held in Egypt under the high patronage of HE President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in early December 2018, I got to have a very lovely startup conversation with Mr Alaa Moustafa, who is a Business Support Manager at Egypt’s Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC). Alaa was moderating my session during the World Youth Forum under the creativity pillar where I made a talk about the role of Startups in global economic development.

I also got to learn a bit more about TIEC’s exciting initiatives including the the African App Launchpad (AAL) initiative, an Africa-wide platform aiming to build capacity of Egyptian and African youth and foster establishment of sustainable Egyptian and African startups in the area of the advanced ever-changing app and game technologies.

AAL targets building capacity of ten thousand learners and establishing one hundred startups. AAL works by availing a high-quality, technology-learning online platform through crowd-sourcing top online content developed by prestigious universities and leading companies, and delivered through three leading MOOCs; Coursera, edX, and Udacity. This initiative was launched as a culmination of the recommendations made During the World Youth Forum.

In this blog, I am going to share some serious learning about launching your app. I hope you enjoy this article. Please do share your views and comments…

The lean startup methodology is to develop quickly, iterate quicker, and learn at the speed of light. It’s very rare to get things right first time, which is why you need to be quick to change and learn – most importantly don’t make the same mistakes. Some startups don’t have the luxury of continuous development, because of depletion of runway, and so never crack it and fail. So here’s some of my advice, from StartupApp’s developments to make sure you get some key things right first time for your app.

Make the value immediately accessible

We were guilty of making the first version of our product land on a profile page for the user. The thinking was that it immediately personalised the experience. However we soon learnt the hard way, and that is with apps, you have around 10 seconds to convince someone your app is worth keeping. How do you do that? Show them the value immediately. Ideally the value will of been effectively communicated in the marketing, but those who followed through to download need to see and feel the value for themselves. Whatever the value in your service, make it super easy to understand the quickest thing the user accesses.

Don’t assume you’ve got a good Product – Market fit

When in startup mode, it can be easy to become obsessed that what you’re doing is right. I mean, you’ve made all the plans, gone over it all in your head and it sounds exactly like something the world needs? This is a common mistake that, particularly for introverts, is hard to overcome. This is because it involves stepping out of your own mindspace and communicating with others. Of course, when we create, we’re innovating and that has to come from one person or persons, but don’t just assume you’ve cracked it.

Even experts in their field will seek validation for theories or work they put forward, and at the earliest of stages, you’re thinking shouldn’t be any different. What you risk is spending time and effort bringing a product to the market that you find out no one really needs, despite all the evidence you’ve done internally pointing to the contrary. Be prepared to work with your market along your development journey and listen to them to find the solution that they want, not what you think they want. This will increase the likelihood of your final product being relevant and sticky and so able to achieve growth.

Make sharing really easy.

The key to most apps’ success is how quickly you can make it go viral. Now there’s no secret formula for this, and if I’d cracked it, I’d be selling it for billions, not blogging about it. There are some simple things you can do however to aid that process and get a strong viral coefficient. It starts with making any sharing functionality you have very easy to access and accessible when the user would want to share it.

Leveraging any users network is powerful, so integrating with a user’s network on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp for example are great tools and if placed appropriately will be used. What you’re looking to achieve is hammering home the value of your proposition, for the user to go… wow! I need to show someone this.

It’s at that exact point, your integrations or sharing mechanisms need to be there to help the user quickly and easily share that value. This is the creme de la crem of marketing for your start-up because it’s recommendations from trusted sources. You’ve not sold anything and your value is doing the talking. Get this right and you’re laughing.

Be aware of the unforeseen

So wrapping up this blog is a point that does a circle back to my opening comments. Building lean and validating as you go is key because I can’t stress it enough… there WILL be problems and new pieces of feedback that you wouldn’t of even thought of.

Keeping a lean mentality and process will help you deal with the unexpected, so you’re efficiently positioned to react appropriately.  This is the most proactive you can be in this situation and in all honesty, I wish my team and I had this mentality when we started. But that’s the power of hindsight and fortunately it’s not too late for us, so it’s exactly how we’ve been working for the past year.


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May 10, 2018 StartupGuy0

StartupApp, is a collaboration platform and workspaces for entrepreneurs and founders to use to support their business and share creative ideas, based in Johannesburg.

StartupApp, the “one-stop shop for startups, entrepreneurs & the self-start society” which was launched back in April 2016 has recently unveiled the collaboration element of the site, which will allow members to add projects and connect and collaborate together to help bring their ideas to life.

The primary objective of StartupApp is to inspire, support and motivate people across South Africa to fully realise their self start potential. As Sandile Shabangu, a Founder of the platform explained, they are looking to make a long term social impact:
“Many people have great creative ideas but are baffled by the bureaucracy, obstacles and even terminology which exists and which acts like a barrier, preventing them from going any further with their ideas. In a nutshell, the ethos behind StartupApp and the self start society is to remove those barriers and to provide a place where those creative ideas can take root and grow.

We are aiming to bring together all people with ideas – be they exploring their creative potential for the first time, or an experienced self starter or entrepreneur. Fundamentally, StartupApp is a place where self starters and great minds can come together, to collaborate on their big ideas and make them more of a reality.”

The StartupApp collaboration platform provides a unique dedicated space where projects and ideas can be worked on; where connections between self starters can be made and where all the tips, resources and tools needed are signposted. Users can create public and private workspaces, request to help others, and seek collaborators to help make their own ideas a reality. If help is only needed with certain aspects of a project or business, bespoke workspaces can be created which are specific to an individual’s own needs.

There is a train of thought that society is broken, that the economy will continue to drag its feet and that employment will be hard to find; however, with the launch of their collaboration platform, StartupApp believes they are helping potential self starters and entrepreneurs everywhere get that little bit closer to doing their own thing and making their ideas a reality.

At The Startup Magazine we believe that the collaboration platform and workspaces created by StartupApp is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs and self starters to use. We aim to cover and show support to any hub and collaboration platform available for startups to work with and share creative ideas.  The Startup Magazine have covered several different workspaces around Southern Africa.

Finally we strongly encourage you to have a look at StartupApp platform, and maybe share your creative ideas, and collaborate with great minds.



April 18, 2018 StartupGuy0

When we’re faced with doing something that’s outside our comfort zone, whether it be making the jump into starting a business, or literally jumping out of a plane to do a sky dive, most of us have a tendency to overthink before we act.

It’s a perfectly natural response. In these situations, our limbic system, i.e. the part of our brain which controls things like our fight or flight response is screaming at us to move away from danger, while at the same time, the more evolved, conscious part of our brain (the part which makes us human) is trying to reason that what we’re planning to do is actually a good thing. The end result is we end up going round and round inside our heads, thinking but never actually doing.

Because our limbic system is very powerful, it has a strong influence on our behaviour. This defence mechanism worked really well back when we had to fend for ourselves in the jungle… it kept us alive! But the problem is, in 21st century life we face a very different set of challenges which often conflict with what our primal instincts are programmed to tell us.

In order to succeed in business, we often need to do things that the primitive part of our brain interprets as dangerous.

A prime example here is public speaking. For most people, the thought of standing up in front of a room full of people to give a speech sends their limbic system into a full on panicked flight mode, even though we know it to be completely irrational.

So how do we overcome this inner struggle and get on with taking action?

The answer is simple…

The faster you act, and the less you deliberate something, the less likely you are to be halted by your emotions, and the more likely you are to get it done. It’s just like ripping off a plaster.

So next time you want to do something that scares you, don’t overthink it. Just empty your mind, count down from 5, and do it.

You’ll be amazed at how well it works!



March 14, 2018 StartupGuy1

I always find myself searching google on how to do stuff? My best search was how to clean aged copper products. Google suggested a YouTube video and bob was my uncle. I found what I was looking for, the video gave me exact details on how to use some home ingredients to clean my copper products, suffice to say, the results were phenomenal. I felt uber smart and I haven’t stopped searching ‘how to’ stuff since! With this being said, I have noticed that quite often when searching how to on Google, that Google pre-suggests what my search is or what my search may be and the thing I always notice is what people or business owners are searching the web for.

This is what this month’s article is about: How to market my small biz. This got me thinking, how many small business owners in South Africa are searching for the same thing?

If you are currently a small business owner or planning to be one, chances are you are on the internet quite often, in fact you might just be spending most of your working day online. That is if you’re not out knocking on corporate doors selling your business to potential buyers. Now, the fact that this search suggestion comes up so often gives me insight as to what small business owners need or want to know better for themselves. Which is a great thing because it means that you realise you have the power to effectively grow your business and just generally want to now more. Not every business owner is equipped with all the knowledge it takes to run a business, at the very beginning of it, and that is understandable of course. You learn a lot of what must be known on the job! But what you do know for certain is that there is a product and or a service that must be sold to a consumer who needs or wants what your business has to offer.

Starting a small business today is not very difficult. In fact, in South Africa today, we have many enterprises and government organisations and initiatives that help make it affordable and most definitely possibly to pursue your business goals. However, the onus is still on you to understand why you are in business and who you will sell too. Knowing your product or service and knowing yourself is one thing. But understanding how to market your business is something else. You could be an amazing sales person with a great offering, you may even have the world’s most amazing product/s. But if you can’t get your offering to its market then you don’t really have a successful business. Promoting your offering to a potential customer with a fancy business card does guarantee you a sale. It only just means you have wasted money. Why? Because you have paid for that business card and got more of a compliment for the fancy business card than you did for your business offering. But if you have promoted your offering to a potential customer who noticed your business’s marketing efforts and they have contacted as a result of this, then you are guaranteed a sale. Why??? Well because you have effectively managed to engage the individual/s interest in your business’s offering.

The How to market my small biz search is so successful among small business owners today because it teaches the individual the basics and most important fundamentals of marketing. The search will yield the results I have listed here and this is because the practices below have been the foundation of all marketing principles, commonly known as the marketing mix, since the 1960’s.

You must research the need of your product or service, hopefully this would have been done before you started the actual business.

You must understand who your target market is, this is the people whom you want to buy your offering.

You must understand where most of your business will come from and the demographic of this buyer. This is the specific details of the potential buyer and the reason for this is to better understand your buyer so you can sell more product to them, without having to physically force your product on them. This is a time-consuming study and is not immediately revenue producing activity but is absolutely necessary for the continuous success of the business.

You need to know where to price your offering. If you enter the market too low, you risk turning a loss and if your prices are too high, well then you are not competitive and risk people not buying from you.

Once you are certain of all of the above, you now have to focus on promotion. How to get my product to its market.
Along with the above, the search will also show results of today’s most common and also effective marketing practices. These results will be more digitally focused as most of today’s consumers of any product or service will track and find you online either via a computer or their mobile phones. This means that a large majority of your marketing efforts will and has to be digitally focused. To be more specific, what I mean small business owner, is that you will have to learn how to market your business online.

Be sure to have an online presence. This is mainly your company’s website which should be built by a professional as it needs to be user and mobile friendly. Your website is your online business card, only with a lot more information and insight to your business.

Be sure to be found on Google. If you can’t be found on Google, then your business is hiding in some dark road with no pedestrians to see what you have on offer. This is search engine optimization or better known as SEO.

Social media today, is like currency. If your business not on social media, well then… your chances of transacting are slim. You should not only aim to have a social media presence but aim to have it optimised and specifically targeted to your market. Please do keep your viewers engaged, enlightened and entertained in your posts as they help grow your business. Social media is todays word-of-mouth.

Have a monthly emailing campaign to your customer base. Inform them of what is happening in your business and what the latest deals are. Keep them interested.
And then repeat the above efforts weekly to grow your brand.

These digital marketing efforts are the basics and very simple to affect and will guarantee brand development, business growth and more sales! Searching How to market my small biz is a search you should do at least once a month as it brings up every article, post, company, technique and the what not to do’s you will need when learning how to market your small business. My hope for you is that you will be very successful in your marketing endeavours and the growth of your business.

Article by Shannon Rosenberg, Director and Owner of Eighty6 Marketing (Pty) Ltd



February 10, 2018 StartupGuy0

Don’t get caught up in what you haven’t accomplished or what you failed to do last year. Look ahead with a positive attitude and desire to achieve more. Be patient with yourself and know that it won’t be easy to do, but that you have the ability to create change yourself and your lifestyle.

Be good at setting goals this year. Don’t rely on having to repeat yourself each week and struggling to remember what it was you wanted to do. Come up with attainable goals and write them down. Make notes about why you want to achieve these and how you’re going to get there. Display your goals somewhere you can see them each day and be reminded of what you set out to do.

Take more Time for you

You can’t improve yourself if you’re focused on your job or everyone else. You have to turn the attention on you and make yourself a priority. If you work a lot, this means reducing your hours and increasing the time you spend relaxing and doing what you love. For example, go to the movies, try a new workout or play games online. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it makes you happy and gives you a break from your everyday demands and responsibilities.

Manage your Stress

You’re going to instantly improve yourself if you get your stress under control. This is usually the one roadblock holding you back from greatness. Make it your goal this year that you’re not going to allow stress to take over and change your mood or alter your health. Put actions in place that help you cut your stress in half. Go for walks, read or talk to a professional counsellor. When stress gets the best of you, it starts to impact your relationships, self-image and wellbeing negatively. Don’t give stress a chance to step in this year. Get ahead of it and set yourself up for success early.

Be Adventurous

You can’t become a better person doing what you’ve always done. Be adventurous and step outside your comfort zone often. This could be the year you change jobs or you go on that expensive vacation you’ve been saving up for. Shake up your life a bit and witness how good it feels not to be tied down to your rules and negative self-talk. Be active, get involved and start enjoying life again.

Conclusion

The New Year is the perfect time to revisit your life goals and work on yourself. Keep a positive outlook and hold yourself accountable as you make new changes. Get excited about all that could be if you stick to it.


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January 24, 2018 StartupGuy0

I’ve been in business for a year now and boy has it been one exciting journey. I remember before starting my small business, I anticipated immediate growth. I was so excited I already imagined spending money on necessary company assets to further grow the business. I was excited at the opportunity to employ people, already had great people in mind, their packages and even imagined how they would love me for being the most amazing boss in the world….Figured I would have a nice office with a picture of my beautiful wife on the desk. Yup, this is what happens in the first year of a new business. I really thought this is what my first year would be like and it sure sucks to be wrong.

I started the business knowing I would do things differently compared to my unknown competitors within my industry. I knew I had what it takes to make my company a success. What I did not know was that growth takes time no matter who you are or what your idea or business is. Unless you’re a 17-year-old kid who developed an app that…I don’t know…. helps toddlers tie their shoe-laces whilst preventing them from falling over; moms are just jumping for joy at this app and you instantly needed huge offices with developers, designers and an expensive coffee machine… growth takes time. As with anything in life growth takes time! I most certainly never thought that I would lose three clients within my first year of operating. Three clients!!! That’s like losing a million rand if you’re a small business owner. Let me just explain that me losing those clients was purely because my clients had no budget left to continue with my services. And this I also did not anticipate. So yes, after just one year of being in business I not only believed I did not grow but that I shrunk too.

I own a digital marketing agency and we assist start-ups and small business owners with digital marketing strategies that help accelerate their growth. This allows the business owner to focus on sales and operations, basically everything else whilst we focus on their marketing. My job is to help small businesses increase their brand visibility so that the company can attract more customers via communication platforms that promote this. Many small business owners in South Africa, not all, have amazing businesses but lack the help and time it takes to grow the business, and marketing is definitely one of the cornerstones to any business. It helps keep the roof up, if done right. Heck, if done at all!

This is amazing, right??? That’s what I thought! I still think this. I love my business. It’s a passion! I’m good at it! The thing is… I am not the only person or company doing it, so does this mean I should let go of this passion? Does it mean I can no longer continue with my business because there are many other key players I must contend with? Does it mean I now have to pursue another venture or seek employment again? Absolutely not! I have invested 378 days of my life to my business and most of those days to our clients. I have made sacrifices, mistakes that I care not to ever remember again nor to let you know about in this article because of its embarrassing nature. I have learnt what to do and what not to do in my business and industry and this is not taught at a tertiary level. This is practical learning, ‘On the job learning’ as it is better known. I have held my breath in anticipation of a phone call from a potential client. I have sent thousands of emails and made hundreds of phone calls to secure client meetings and new business deals. I have raised my standards of what I will accept in my business and what I will not accept. I have turned potential clients down, not due to arrogance but in an attempt not to do business with other businesses that aren’t in line with what we do or offer and to protect my name and that of my business. I have decided that my business will deal ethically always, no matter the cost! I have made difficult decisions for the sake of my brand’s reputation and personal sanity. I have celebrated signing new clients and have triumphed over losing clients. And after having invested just one year of my life, which I am sure you can agree with me that this is a long time to do all that is necessary and learn all that I have learnt, for me to just turn my back on it, growth or no visible growth, I simply cannot do.

You see, growth in a business does not always mean that your turnover and profits will be in a positive this is not the only way to measure growth in a company. This is obviously a sure sign of growth but to a small business owner who still has to realise this, it is not and can’t be the only measurement for growth. Being successful in all your daily activities, achieving all your set weekly and monthly goals leading up to your first year in business is a sure sign that your business is growing. Deciding to plant a seed in the ground comes with the expectation of growth. One plants a seed in fertile soil, it’s fertile if you’ve made sure that it is good for planting and you are sure of the fact that this seed will get enough water and sunlight throughout its lifespan and that it will grow to be tall and strong. It wasn’t planted as a fully-grown tree, it grew to become a fully-grown tree and the same is true with your business. You as a small business owner can’t see the end from the beginning and with the right amount of perseverance, determination, courage and most of all FAITH, your business will grow. It might not seem like it, the same way the seed in the ground doesn’t seem to be growing after having planted it, but time and patience will reveal the truth. Then after having done all things necessary to make sure that the plant survives i.e. keeping your business doors open and in operation, you realise that growth was in fact subtly taking place all along.
Ruben Chavez said it so “Remember, growth is a process. You may not be exactly where you want to be but you’re closer than you were yesterday and that’s what counts”

Article by Shannon Rosenberg, director and owner of Eighty6 Marketing (Pty) Ltd
www.eighty6marketing.co.za
info@eighty6marketing.co.za
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December 19, 2017 StartupGuy0

THE BUSINESS OF INNOVATION, CREATIVITY & INSPIRATION

We’re certainly living in interesting times!

The apparent discovery of water on Mars, with its now even higher potential of occupancy. AI, robots and the fear of robotics serving and dominating humanity. Consumer behavior “schizophrenia” demanding brand collaborations with unusual associations. Super smart technologies with its clear byproduct being the lack of human privacy – on earth and just for now! New brand dispositions, new organizational narratives, new value chain principles and between all that, SO MUCH to overwhelm anyone. Sigh!

Literally, new needs are being designed by humans for humans.

And so this list of newness that goes on, and on and on, can be said to take way from the “honesty” of life in its truest and simplest sense. It’s like a donut that was “just a donut”, before transformed into a centerpiece on top of a decadent drink- topped with toppings. Comm’on, you know those new age decadent shakes that ooze craze, calories and fun!

But why? Why the hell (for a better use of word!) all this need for change?

This border- line anxiety to impact, to resonate, to re-focus, to relate and to dominate perception. Why? The notion of progress has become so confusing. It can be totally fear inducing and simply put, can be downright tiresome if not processed in bite sizes!This is even for a person like me who is naturally charged to survive on “the future”.

However in saying all this, there’s an undeniable and sheer brilliance in which the world is operating at! There’s a remarkable frequency in which brilliant minds and innovators are creating at (and that’s said outside of when they’re not innovating to nuclear bomb one another!). The pedigree of Innovation can be said to be at the level purest to the word. Be it for a Better World or for better competition..or just for better bottom line. It’s impressive.

More than the deliberate convenience designed for human impact through innovations, there’s a very simple, gross truth. In fact, maybe the only truth that’s left in its truest form. That being, the need to innovate for the “Business” of Innovation.

The Economic impact resulting from Design thinking, Innovation and Creativity is certainly a more seriously tabled discussion now, by key business and industry decision-makers, than it ever has been before. This is while ever evolving technologies remains the drivers, and simultaneously, a nemesis for commercialization through Innovation.

As an entrepreneur, with a somewhat scientific and commercially infused mind, I am fascinated by business leaders I currently engage with. Marketers, Strategists and even Procurement decision makers are mandated by their stakeholders to invest and partner with insight driven Innovations and Innovators FIRST. Through even more recent engagement I’ve established that it’s simply no longer good enough to be sustainable. In fact to my mind, sustainability has become such a “strive” word. It feels as if your business is ok and even with that, it’s only just ok for now. The same, as of late, could said about business relevance. How relevant can you be if you not creating or co-creating industry enabling innovations, all while working closely with legislators and academia to support your Innovations and industry related developments? The past month and a half has left me interested to see where relevant accelerator programs , with sound track records, will be with the launch of Joburg’s Global Entrepreneur Network. And to those who are displaced, why? Why were you not creating the curve let alone seeing it? Anyway.

The Bottom line is the bottom line. There’s undeniable Economic impact and favor to be found in Innovation-centric organisations.


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December 15, 2017 StartupGuy0

Creating a new generation of entrepreneurs

Credible empowerment must be focused on sustainable growth and job creation—and must be accountable for its results.

By Sinethemba Mafanya, Manager – Diageo Empowerment Trust SA

Black empowerment has not worked as well as it should. With the perfect vision of hindsight, it is clear that too many empowerment schemes have yielded less than had been hoped, and that the main beneficiaries have been a relatively small group of well-connected individuals, who have become very rich indeed, and those who have gained jobs in existing companies or in an enormously expanded public service.

What we have not really succeeded in doing is create a substantial number of black-owned, entrepreneurial businesses that have the potential, in time, to rival Anglo American, Discovery and the rest of the JSE giants.

This failure to identify and nurture a new generation of black businesses with the potential to scale has also had a severely negative impact on what is probably our biggest current challenge: unemployment. While social and other forms of media talk up politics and race, the hard research done by the Institute of Race Relations shows that what South Africans are all most worried about is employment.[1] And that’s surely correct: no country in which over a quarter of the population, and the majority of its youth, are unemployed can hope to be stable, pleasant to live in and successful in any terms.

Sustained, vigorous economic growth—new businesses entering the economy—is what we need to reverse our perilous status quo. And, with black people by far the majority and most affected, a tidal wave of new black businesses is what we need.

I would argue that this kind of thinking has to underpin empowerment initiatives, existing and planned. They must be designed or repurposed to kick start growth by identifying and nurturing

black businesses that have the potential to scale, to compete vigorously with incumbents globally, and to create wealth not only for their owners but also for the growing numbers of people they employ. Empowerment initiatives should also be designed to link these businesses into existing ecosystems or supply chains, thus enhancing their sustainability.

All very well to say, you might be thinking, but can it be done?

Rethinking empowerment for everyone

I believe it can. There are already several such empowerment schemes in place, and we at Diageo SA have recently launched our own, the Diageo Empowerment Trust SA (DETSA). It may be helpful to outline our thinking.

Our funding is basically directed in two broad areas. The first is to identify and nurture black-owned businesses that can be integrated into Diageo’s own supply chain. Such an approach means that we can provide these businesses with the best thing of all: a market into which they can expand. Diageo is the largest global producer of premium drinks, so it’s a market worth having. With the R15 million that the Trust has already invested in this initiative, it is targeting to generate R250m in revenue in five-years.

But because these businesses are operating in our supply chain, we obviously have considerable knowledge we can share with them in addition to the funding we supply. We obviously also have a vested interest in ensuring that, as our suppliers, they succeed and grow.

We are already working with sorghum farmers in the Eastern Cape to enable them to supply Diageo here and elsewhere. A second phase will be to identify businesses owned by black women that can be integrated across our supply chain, from providing agricultural inputs to packaging and bottling right through to marketing. To this end the Trust has set itself a target of 300 jobs it intends creating in the agricultural sector over five years.

Our partners are WDB, an empowerment consultancy, who will identify candidates, and Aurik Business Accelerator, who will recruit black-owned companies that can provide services to them, thus creating an all-black ecosystem round each company we directly support.

The second broad area of funding is social entrepreneurs. Because these businesses are primarily focused on solving social problems, rather than profit, they are uniquely well-positioned to make the maximum impact on society. We believe money invested in these companies will give us the optimal return on our empowerment investment. To date, the Trust has made headway by investing R10 million in the development of Social Entrepreneurs over the next two years, and a further R40 million will be injected over the next five years.

Accountability is the final piece of the puzzle. We have put in place a research team that will collect metrics to help us establish what effect we have had commercially and economically, as well as socially. The former would include the usual financial measures relating to the company and its contribution to the national economy, the latter its contribution to job creation.

We hope this will be empowerment that genuinely empowers, and we are willing to be measured on our success


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December 1, 2017 StartupGuy1

Startup Mzansi Is Building Africa’s First Digital Bank For Startups and Entrepreneurs through Blockchain, Crypto, IoT, Big Data and AI

Startup Mzansi Foundation, a startup ecosystem development non profit company launched in 2012 and registered in South Africa, is building a fully digital bank for startups and entrepreneus and the “first bank in Africa to specialize in financial services for startups and entrepreneurial projects using blockchain and crypto technologies ”

Startup Bank, aims to be an online scalable financial infrastructure combining features of modern banking, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet-of-Things, Big Data and blockchain-based technologies.

Speaking during the IBM Devx Kickstarter Programme Pitch Day, Sandile Shabangu indicated that Startup Bank seeks to leverage modern technologies such as biometrics, Big Data, and artificial intelligence, to provide banking and other financial services to individuals and small businesses.

Startup Bank said it will offer a paper-less, branch-less, fully digital selection of financial services such as deposits, credit financing and bank card issuance, but also services especially targeted at startups and entrepreneurial projects such as credits secured by cryptocurrencies as well as the ability to create of investment portfolios based on cryptocurrencies.

Startup Mzansi Foundation will be using a blockchain-based platform to provide payments.

A bank for the digital era
According to Sandile Shabangu, Founder and Chairman of Startup Mzansi Foundation and CEO of the proposed Startup Bank, changing consumer behavior and the rise of fintech are fueling a new era in banking. Advanced technologies and mobile are enabling users to pay for purchases online conveniently and reliably, without third-party applications or entering unnecessary data.

“A phone contains all the tools for 100% guaranteed user identification: fingerprint, voice recognition, and facial recognition using the camera,” Shabangu said.

Startup Mzansi Foundation has big dreams for its digital bank as it aims “to build the ultimate financial infrastructure for entrepreneurs’”

“[It] will not only simplify and reduce the costs of finance management for the entrepreneurs, but will also become a vital part of all aspects of their daily life, while at the same time providing them maximum control over their data,” Shabangu said.

Startup Bank will integrate a remote identification service and personal data storage that incorporates blockchain technology.

A multi-sided platform, Startup Bank is designed to provide banking and other financial services to entrepreneus and small businessess. Customer data will be encrypted and stored security on the blockchain where the permissions for who can access or use that will be entirely controlled directly by the customer.

It aims to provide “universal banking services for all” by using biometrics to facilitate client on-boarding and transaction authentication, Big Data analytics to optimize the quality of match-making and control risk, as well as AI-based customer self-service.

“I believe Startup Bank’s plan to bring banking services to entrepreneurs, through the blockchain and the latest mobile technology, will both provide new features not seen in the high street banks and include many who have been excluded from the traditional financial system,” said Sandile Shabangu, CEO of Startup Bank.

The platform will allow users to “leverage their social connectivity and their money in new ways” with more control and greater transparency. It will connect users to each other, allowing peer-to-peer transactions over the network. Beneficiaries and senders will be connected directly, without resorting to unnecessary middlemen or middle-layers of technologies.

Startup Bank will be accessible through a mobile app. Users who download the app will need to provide a selfie and a voice prints to get a SA-based account upon activation.

Startup Bank’s Digital Startup Pass will serve as an “automation and digitalization ecosystem” enabling individuals and companies to access all sorts of services, from financial to industrial, using a unique Pass.