Getting the ball rolling: Eskom BIC win fast-tracks small business growth

Early stage investment and support is crucial for the success of new businesses; and a fast-growing solar business in Fourways is a shining example of the far-reaching impacts of the right investment at the right time.

Lamo Solar, the winner of the 2016 Eskom Business Investment Competition (BIC) in the Engineering and Construction sector, has grown from a start-up with a handful of staff to a firm with well over 40 employees in under two years, thanks to the growth propelled by its BIC win.

Tshibvumo Sikhwivhilu, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Lamo Solar, reports that he and co-founder Elmond Khoza had long been entrepreneurs, but their solar business was challenged by the fact that they were young, had no track record, and had little growth funding. “Winning the Eskom BIC gave us immediate credibility in the energy sector; and the prize money allowed us to buy specialised equipment to add to our service offering,” he says.

“As part of our prize, we exhibited at the Small Business Expo 2016, where we met representatives of the Energy and Water SITA. This led to a partnership that has created jobs for 40 graduates – over 25 of whom are women – and allowed us to focus on growing the business.  In addition, the fact that we won the competition and were able to demonstrate growth on the back of our investment in additional equipment, supported our successful application for additional funding from the Small Enterprise Development Agency. This funding enabled us to procure more specialised equipment and offer added value services,” he says.

“This early stage support, exposure and networking at the Small Business Expo have been crucial for our growth in the past two years,” says Sikhwivhilu.

BIC 2018 entries now open

The annual Eskom Business Investment Competition (BIC), run by the Eskom Development Foundation, is now open for entries from small black-owned businesses. The BIC offers prizes totaling R1.3 million and the winners are announced and showcased at South Africa’s premier small business development event, the Small Business Expo, which takes place from 6 – 8 September 2018 at the Ticketpro Dome, Northgate. In launching this year’s BIC recently, Eskom Development Foundation CEO Cecil Ramonotsi said: “We urge all qualifying black-owned and registered enterprises to seize this chance. There is nothing to lose but so much to gain in the BIC.”      

In addition to hosting the BIC awards and showcasing the finalists at the Small Business Expo, Eskom also features leading Eskom Simama Ranta schools at the event. Simama Ranta is the Foundation’s annual competition recognising excellence in entrepreneurship education at South African secondary schools that excel in entrepreneurship education. All secondary schools with enterprise clubs that teach their learners the basics of running a business are eligible.

“Eskom’s long affiliation with the Small Business Expo, including its BIC innovator pavilion, make a significant contribution to our goal of making the event much more than just a showcase for small business, but also a concrete business development tool to support small business growth in South Africa,” says Carol Weaving, MD of event organisers Reed Exhibitions. “We’re always particularly excited to have the winning BIC innovators aboard at the Small Business Expo, showcasing the high level of business flair South Africans are capable of.”

The expo provides SMEs, businesses and investors with a versatile platform from which to network, explore new business partnerships, build brand awareness, interact with potential customers and investors and gain market exposure.  The event also offers three days of in-depth business development knowledge sharing in a series of workshops and talks.

For more information, go to  and

 About the Small Business Expo

The Small Business Expo, running alongside #BuyaBusiness Expo, is devoted to the development of small and medium sized enterprises, providing an invaluable platform for small businesses to market their businesses and interact with prominent business leaders and representatives from a number of corporate companies. The Small Business Expo is presented by Reed Exhibitions in partnership with the Eskom Development Foundation and its Business Investment Competition, and will be held from 6 – 8 September 2018 at the Ticketpro Dome, Northgate.

The expo is supported by the Randburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Minara Chamber of Commerce, and is endorsed by the Black Management Forum (BMF) and approved by AAXO


For more information, visit

7 join Endeavor Kenya

Seven Kenyan entrepreneurs have been selected to join the network of business catalyst Endeavor Global in what is set to grow their fortunes.

The organisation unveiled in Nairobi last week under the brand Endeavor Kenya seeks to support entrepreneurs and companies in the scale-up phase so that they can generate at least 25,000 jobs for the Kenyan economy in the next five years.

Those selected in the inaugural lot include Grant Brooke of Twiga Foods, Wandia Gichuru of Vivo Activewear, Paul Mbugua of Eclectics International, Bilha Ndirangu and Samuel Gikandi of Africa’s Talking as well as Ken Njoroge and Bolaji Akinboro of Cellulant.

Endeavor Kenya chairman and Britam Group managing director Benson Wairegi said collectively, the organisation has created over 700,000 jobs and generated more than Sh1 trillion annual revenue, alongside raising Sh41.3 billion in growth capital in 2016 alone, promising to push for more investments in Kenya.

“Unemployment is very high among young Kenyans and we need to generate more than 3.9 million new jobs for young people by 2020. Endeavor believes that the real heroes of job creation and economic growth are the small subset of entrepreneurs who scale to contribute the lion’s share of net new jobs,” he said.

Upon unveiling the organisation through its innovative co-investment Venture Capital Fund-Endeavor Catalyst, it announced its first Sub Sahara Africa investment of Sh4.8 billion in Cellulant — a digital payments provider.

Cellulant reaches 40 million people across 11 African countries and is run by two entrepreneurs under the organisation’s mentorship Ken Njoroge and Bolaji Akinboro.

“We search for, select, and support these entrepreneurs to think big. As they scale up, Endeavor entrepreneurs multiply their impact by inspiring, mentoring, and investing in those that come behind them,” said Endeavor Kenya chief executive Fiona Mungai.

Ms Mungai explained that Endeavor searches for, selects, and supports entrepreneurs to think big and actualise their vision and dreams.

“As they scale, Endeavor Entrepreneurs multiply their impact by inspiring, mentoring, and investing in those that come behind them,” said Ms Mungai.

Since launching in January 2012, Endeavor Catalyst has raised over USD100m (Sh10 billion) in philanthropically donated and invested capital, and invested into 76 Endeavor companies in 21 markets.

Africa Investment Forum will help de-risk investment and catalyze private sector

The African Development Bank is working with leading global development finance institutions to set up a mutualized co-guarantee platform to de-risk investments and facilitate projects that have the capacity of transforming the continent under the Africa Investment Forum (AIF).

Over the last decade, and despite impressive growth rates in most of the continent, Africa’s infrastructure needs remain huge with annual financing gap between USD 130 and USD 170 billion annually.

To close this gap, the Bank is positioning the AIF, scheduled for South Africa, 7-9 November 2018, as a platform to improve the ease of doing business in Africa by advancing and promoting investment friendly regulations. AIF will also champion ethical business practices in Africa.

Speaking at a roadshow on the AIF held in Abuja, Folarin Ayalande the special advisor to the Nigerian president and coordinator of the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Unit, assured that Nigeria was ready for investment but lack of affordable and long-term finance remain a major constraint.

He described the lending de-risking component of AIF as a game changer and assured of the support of the Nigerian Government. New approaches are required to deliver on the country’s development targets, with a focus on private sector-led growth, he added.

“Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth plan requires billions of dollars of investment to deliver on its growth and job-creation targets. We will collaborate with the private sector and the AIF by targeting opportunity-driven entrepreneurs by upgrading skills, developing business clusters and economic corridors. These are critical factors to developing a buoyant and productive industrial sector in Nigeria,” he said.

“I am particularly delighted to learn that the AIF will not be another talk show but a platform with convening power to bring different players together to explore investment opportunities for the transformation of the African continent. We have talked enough and must now start to act,” he said.

Ebrima Faal, senior director for Nigeria country office of the AfDB stressed the critical need to change the current funding mix and create partnerships to finance infrastructure and other projects in Africa.

“Nigeria’s infrastructure cumulative financing needs are estimated to reach USD 3 trillion by 2044 or about USD 100 billion annually. This is all happening at a time when public sector finances are extremely pressured,” Faal said.

“As an African optimist, therefore, I dare say that there has never been a better time to invest in Africa’s infrastructure asset class, while ensuring a diverse source of resources, water-tight project preparation and a strong business case. The Africa Investment Forum has been designed to meet the needs of African stakeholders looking to capitalize on the increasing potential of multi-staker partners and the growing investment appetite in Africa.”

The AIF as a marketplace will bring together the Bank and other multilateral financial institutions to de-risk investments at scale,” said Stella Kilonzo, AIF senior director.

“AIF will work closely with investors and project sponsors to enable them increase trade and investment in local and global markets, ensuring that projects are able to secure adequate and appropriate finance.”

Working with multilateral institutions, the private sector, and Governments, the Bank is helping Nigeria and other African countries to fine-tune investment-ready projects for investors, fund managers and others managing substantial assets ahead of the AIF in November.

The Abuja roadshow included a briefing session, interaction with key private players, and presentations from Nigeria’s senior Government officials on the country’s development priorities and project pipeline that could benefit from the AIF partnership.

Being a Wellness Advocate: Bukky George

Determination and passion play vital roles in the success stories of many businesses. And for Bukky George, it came easy, especially because she is the kind that would gladly go the extra mile to succeed in life and business. With over 25 years’ experience in the retail health & beauty industry, Bukky George is a pro in her line of business.

The CEO of HealthPlus Nigeria is a registered pharmacist with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria. She also belongs to some other professional bodies including, the General Pharmaceutical Council UK and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. Ms George holds an MBA and is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School. Over the past 18 years, her HealthPlus, Nigeria’s first integrative pharmacy, has grown to 76 branches with over 750 associates. Ms George aspires for HealthPlus to be the Boots Pharmacy of Nigeria. Her strengths include a strong academic foundation, a passion for excellence and a determination to raise the standards in healthcare. She is devoted to continuous learning. She provides strategic leadership for the HealthPlus Group. HealthPlus is committed to its mission of helping people achieve optimum health and vitality with a vision to be Africa’s number one for pharmacy, wellness and beauty. CasaBella is a one-stop store for grooming and beauty solutions for men and women. In 2014, Ms George was selected as one of 23 leaders from 18 emerging economies to participate in the 2014 Fortune/US State Department Global Women’s Mentoring programme. In the same month, she joined the President, World Bank Group; CEO, The Goldman Sachs Group; and CEO, IFC on a panel to discuss Access to Capital for Women Entrepreneurs and the signing of The Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, the first-ever global finance facility dedicated exclusively to women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises.

She is also the chairman of Sanofi pharmacy advisory board. She is a merit award winner of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). She is a member of the Pharma Strategy Committee, charged with the mandate to chart a vision for pharmacy in Nigeria. To build on her passion for knowledge sharing, she mentors several people with a special focus on entrepreneurship. She is a multi-award winner for excellence in entrepreneurship, healthcare and community service; including winner Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria (HBSAN) leadership awards for the entrepreneurship category; winner entrepreneur of the year (Access Bank), finalist entrepreneur of the year and finalist in the Business Woman of the Year category of the CNBC All African Business Leaders Awards. The super woman’s typical work life as the CEO of two well established enterprises involves creating, communicating, and implementing her organisation’s vision, mission and overall direction and culture. She also prioritises leading the development and implementation of the organisation’s overall strategy as well as lead, guide, direct and evaluate the work of the management team.

Ms George also loves to oversee the complete operation of the organisation in accordance with the direction established in the strategic plans that started it. And just so the business continues to grow in new innovations and technology, they make sure to maintain awareness of the competitive landscape and consider the opportunities for expansion for the benefit of customers.


Intelligent drones crack down on illegal fishing in African waters

Young entrepreneur Badr Idrissi never waited to be told what to do. Instead, he looked for innovative solutions to problems. He would often take the family TV or video recorder to pieces. “My parents would always tell me to put it back together!” he says. “But that’s how I learned to fix things.”

Today, thirty-seven-year-old Idrissi, from Morocco, is CEO and co-founder of ATLAN Space, a deep technology startup using drones and artificial intelligence to crack down on illegal fishing and protect natural resources in Africa.

“I had a conversation with a friend, Younes Moumen who is also a Co-Founder of ATLAN Space, about our terrible track record in Africa on illegal fishing, poaching, deforestation,” he says. “We dug deeper into the statistics and what we found shocked us.”

They found, for example, that Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, lose an estimated USD2.3 billion in total to illegal fishing annually, as reported by Frontiers in marine science.

A former Microsoft Account Executive with a degree in Telecommunications Engineering, Idrissi and his co-founder worked hard to find a solution. They developed software technology that arms unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, with artificial intelligence.

“The drones use artificial intelligence to decide where to go. We give them information about protected marine areas, illegal fishing hotspots, and the weather. We also program them to distinguish each context,” he explains.

“For example, if a fishing boat is detected, the drone will analyze its behavior based on whether it is located in a protected marine park, what it is doing, whether there is a fleet, etc., to decide if its activity is illegal. It will use the context to decide whether or not to report the situation.”

Other drones can only cover a radius of about 70 kilometers and need a human pilot. ATLAN Space’s technology increases the operational range of the drones, and allows them to monitor very large marine areas without any human interaction.

Depending on the number of hotspots which need to be monitored, one drone can cover 10,000 square kilometers . They fly at over 300 meters, making them unreachable by non-military means.

“If the drone is 95 percent sure that behavior is illegal, it will send the relevant local authorities information detailing the time of the occurrence, the GPS coordinates, the location and any other relevant data that will help them decide on the course of action,” he says.

The novelty of the technology lies in its ability to bypass the need for human intervention over long distances. The drones can cover a large area and make autonomous decisions. For example, two drones can communicate and ‘decide’ to split up and track two different boats.

But Idrissi’s vision is not to replace humans altogether. “Our technology is there to help people do their jobs more effectively. Illegal activities destroy jobs, for example in the tourism industry,” he says.

ATLAN Space has won a National Geographic award to fund its “FishGuard pilot” partnership, which will deploy the drones for the first time, to tackle illegal fishing in the Republic of Seychelles.

FishGuard is a unique partnership that includes in addition to ATLAN Space, Trygg Mat Tracking – a Norwegian analytical non-profit and the international organization Grid-Arendal, to provide technological solutions to combat illegal fishing.

Idrissi estimates that this system costs half of what is already commercially available on the market, making it a highly cost effective option for tackling illegal activity, especially among emerging economies.

“The deployment cost of the FishGuard solution depends on many parameters and is specific to each project. It doesn’t only include the technological element, but also capacity building for a sustainable ocean resources management strategy,” says Idrissi.

“This is about more than detecting crime: we can build marine protection capacity; understand trends and patterns to see the bigger picture of what is happening at sea. We expect this will have a deterrent effect, because people will see that the area is monitored,” he says.

After deploying its solution in the Seychelles, Idrissi plans to expand the model to tackle other environmental problems like deforestation and illegal mining in future.

Idrissi believes that while there is much potential for startups like his in Africa, entrepreneurs and innovators still face challenges. “I do feel that today we focus on educating young people about how to be an employee. That doesn’t allow people to be creative – and that is risky.”

UN Environment Regional Information Officer for Africa, Mohamed Atani, notes that supporting young entrepreneurs in Africa is critical for sustainable development, and for finding more innovative solutions like FishGuard in future.

“Today more than ever, we need young people like Idrissi, who understand challenges in Africa, and who find solutions for which there is great demand,” says Atani. “Entrepreneurs are not people who fail to find a job – they have immense vision for the future. We must support that.”


DHL announces its partnership with Marketplace Africa

DHL partnership with e-commerce giant MallforAfrica’s online platform, Marketplace Africa, guarantees that growth of Africa’s entrepreneurs is set to be boosted as African-made goods will be exposed to global markets.

The international express services provider DHL announced its partnership with MallforAfrica’s new platform Marketplace Africa yesterday.

The site offers items from the continent’s most talented designers and artisans from a variety of categories including fashion, body care, handbags, jewellery and home décor.

Last year, worldwide retail e-commerce sales reached USD2trillion (ZAR26.47trn) and according to DHL’s report, The 21st Century Spice Trade: A Guide to the Cross-Border E-Commerce Opportunity, cross-border market is expected to grow by about 25percent annually until 2020, twice the rate of domestic e-commerce.

Hennie Heymans, the chief executive for DHL Express sub-Saharan Africa, said: “DHL is a facilitator of global trade, and if we can improve connectivity and accessibility to global markets for local businesses, this will go a long way in helping small businesses grow.

“We’ve been in Africa since 1978, so have seen first-hand the huge opportunities that cross-border trade offers to local businesses. This is truly an exciting time for African businesses,” said Heymans.

The Africa Made Product Standards is used to ensure that the highest quality products are being sold on the platform, and provides consumers with the assurance that products meet an international standard in quality.

Amazing talents

Chris Folayan, the chief executive of MallforAfrica, said Africans finally had the opportunity, whether banked or unbanked to showcase their amazing talents and skills to the world and sell their products.

“DHL and MallforAfrica saw the need to promote African-made products to the world, and I am beyond proud to be part of making history alongside a company that has pioneered logistics efficiency in Africa and across the globe.

“Marketplace Africa will open the door for African designers and crafts people and enable customers in the US and the world to purchase authentic African-made products directly from the source,” said Folayan.

Before the partnership, African crafts people have been isolated from global customers, because of the distance, fear of not receiving overseas payments and complex shipping requirements.

Customers who wished to buy products directly from African artisans faced obstacles regarding accessibility of items, authenticity and validation of the product, uncertainty of delivery, high delivery costs and payment insecurity.

Marketplace Africa was created to help artisans sell on a global stage and simplify the ability to buy directly from African craftspeople and small enterprises. Through the partnership, DHL will manage all logistics services.

Eight quick fixes to improve your small business

Improving your business and boosting your bottom line does not always require a dramatic new strategy. Business experts on the advisory board of SA’s leading small business platform, the annual Small Business Expo, Business Services Expo and #BuyaBusiness Expo recommend these simple moves for instant business benefits:

Get modern business tools

Nokwazi Mzobe, Founder and Lead Consultant at Matoyana Business Solutions, says creating efficient systems and processes will save small businesses money, and more importantly, make time for them to focus on what’s really important in the business. 

“Stop using excel or word doc invoice templates and invest in systems like Sage; Quick book and SMEasy to make your life easier,” she says. “Familiarise yourself with free tools that can add value in different parts of your business for example: Canva – for good designs (; WeTransfer – to send large files; and Google forms – for surveys. If you’re looking for professional skills, specialist work or part-time resources, consider using platforms such as and to find the people you need.”

Marang Marekimane, Founder of Business Process Mechanics and Managing Partner at Lean Business Platform, also believes that free online tools, social media and new apps can make marketing and running a business instantly easier. She suggests that businesses use social media analytics to understand their followers better, for example. “From this, entrepreneurs will know if their followers prefer video/pictures/text content, and learn more about their age, gender and other interests. This information could improve their marketing strategies,” she says.

Upgrade your website functions

Marekimane also suggests improving your website functionality for long-term business benefits. “For example, to improve efficiency, businesses can allow clients to book appointments and make payments via their websites. This saves time, because there are no back and forth emails, and puts the client in control of the invoice and payment,” she says.

Scrutinise your service

Mzobe adds that businesses need to take a critical look at their service levels. “Customers expect good quality products and value for money from everyone. The real differentiator is service. People remember how they were treated or made to feel, long after they have utilised your service or product. Keeping this in mind, ask yourself: what kind of experience am I creating for my customers? From the moment the customer clicks onto your website; sends you a DM on your Instagram business page; walks into your store; responds to a call from your service agent or sales rep – how are they made to feel? Map out your customer experience, from beginning to end, and ensure you have the right systems and processes that give your customer superior service and experience,” she advises.

Do quick and easy market research

 Rick Ed, co-founder of the Creative Enterprises Hub, says the GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) adult population survey found that, although 73% of survey respondents see entrepreneurship as a good career choice, SA has only 2 SMEs per 1000 people (for 83,943 in total). Worryingly, most start-ups fail in their first few years. Ed believes one key reason for this is that people battle to sell their products and services. “Too many businesses fail to find out if the market actually wants their product or service, so they could be putting a lot of effort into producing something the market doesn’t want,” he says.  Ed suggests these quick and easy ways to carry out market research:

  • Start with existing customers. Ask if they’re happy with the product, whether they would recommend it to others, and how it could be improved. Ask what they don’t like about the products they’re leaving on the shelves.
  • For a small fee, you can advertise products on a platform like Facebook. Select a small number of products to advertise simultaneously, and pay to boost them to your target market. You may find a great response to some products and no response to others, giving you a good indication of where to focus your efforts and which products to discontinue.

Update your email signature

York Zucchi of the SME Movement points out: “Every email you send is an opportunity to sell. Look at your email signature and decide if you think that it is doing the job. Most email signatures are descriptive and usually only about contact details. Change it to something that describes the business problem you are solving. Each signature should be a call to action!”

Tap into communities

For easy gains and growth support, Zucchi also suggests that business owners collaborate more. “Learn to share with the wider world what you are working on (e.g. building a school, running a coffee shop, transporting people, etc.). The more people know what you are working on the more the chance that they will contact you to collaborate as well as think you have a track record. Share what you are doing on Linkedin, Facebook and BOM.”

There is an enormous amount of goodwill out there, with millions of people and businesses wanting to help SMEs, Zucchi says.  “Tap into it. That doesn’t mean they will invest/send you money, but it means that they might have spare resources that you can tap into – such as working space, storage or manufacturing. Learn to ask the world when you need something!”

Network, network, network

Langa Manqele, fintech businessman and chairman of the Black Management Forum (BMF) in Gauteng, believes that information sharing and networking is crucial for business growth. “Small businesses cannot be all things to all people – they need to build networks of trusted suppliers and partners, allowing them to take on larger projects and grow. To expand your network, you need to join industry bodies and attend all the networking events you can. At events such as the Small Business Expo, which is the biggest small business event in the country, businesses can meet potential business partners and investors to grow their partner network,” he says.

Get free information

Carol Weaving, veteran entrepreneur and MD of Small Business Expo organisers Reed Exhibitions, says learning wherever possible helps small business owners stay in touch with changing trends. Events such as the Small Business Expo offer three days of intensive business workshops, covering everything from financial management to new business trends, so business owners can learn, ask questions and go home with tips they can implement immediately,” she says.

Participants at the expo will also benefit from strategic business workshops in the Nedbank Money Matters Theatre, the Standard Bank Women in Business Theatre and Eskom’s “Powering your World” Theatre. 

Small business owners will also find service providers including tax specialists, accountants, IT support, marketing experts, business coaches and more at the Small Business Expo showcasing the Business Services Expo.

The #BuyaBusiness expo caters for entrepreneurs interested in business opportunities, buying into proven business concepts, or wanting to expand their current` business portfolios.             

About the Small Business Expo

The Small Business Expo, running alongside #BuyaBusiness Expo, is devoted to the development of small and medium sized enterprises, providing an invaluable platform for small businesses to market their businesses and interact with prominent business leaders and representatives from a number of corporate companies. The Small Business Expo is presented by Reed Exhibitions in partnership with the Eskom Development Foundation and its Business Investment Competition, and will be held from 6 – 8 September 2018 at the Ticketpro Dome, Northgate.

The expo is supported by the Randburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Minara Chamber of Commerce, and is endorsed by the Black Management Forum (BMF) and approved by AAXO

For more information, visit

The big issues facing SA’s small business

There’s no lack of entrepreneurial spirit in SA, but start-ups and small businesses need skills, social capital and a supportive environment in order to succeed.

It’s a popular misconception that funding is the biggest hurdle in the way of small business success: in fact, knowledge and networks may be more important. This is according to small business experts and members of the Small Business Expo expert advisory board, speaking ahead of South Africa’s premier small business development platform – Small Business Expo 2018.

The expo, taking place from 6 – 8 September at the TicketPro Dome is an annual opportunity showcase and knowledge-sharing platform for local small and medium sized businesses, is presented by Reed Exhibitions in partnership with the Eskom Development Foundation. It is further supported by the Randburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Minara Chamber of Commerce; endorsed by the Black Management Forum (BMF) and approved by AAXO.

According to Langa Manqele, FinTech businessman and chairman of the Black Management Forum (BMF) in Gauteng, entrepreneurial spirit is flourishing across South Africa, including in the townships and rural areas. 

“A trend we’re seeing emerging is for entrepreneurs to launch small scale manufacturing and agro-processing operations around the country.” This is in line with the government’s hopes for a more industrial economy, and presents many opportunities for job creation, he notes. 

“Unfortunately, though, many start-ups are failing to break through into big business, and many are failing to comply with testing and safety standards. This may be partly due to a lack of awareness and information, and also because safety and standards infrastructure is out of reach of rural business, as well as being prohibitively expensive.”

Manqele believes that stepped up information sharing, skills development and networking, such as that available at the Small Business Expo, may help these start-ups break through into the big business league.

“This is why the BMF is endorsing the Small Business Expo,” he says. “Because of its focus on the development of black business in particular, along with its three days of in-depth workshops and opportunities to network, we believe it’s an invaluable platform for small businesses to gain the knowledge and social capital they need to grow. Capacity building is a major challenge, and the number of startups able to be absorbed by incubators doesn’t meet the national needs; therefore events like these fill the gap for critical business skills development.”

Linda Blackbeard, CEO of the Randburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), which represents businesses in Randburg, Fourways and Lanseria, echoes this sentiment. “Small businesses need partner networks in order to grow. Joint ventures, for example, allow them to take on bigger projects than they might manage alone. And through partnerships with large business, they stand to gain viable income streams.” But many do not know how to tap in to this ‘social capital’ or partner networks.

Blackbeard says belonging to an industry body such as the local Chamber of Commerce is a key first step to expanding partner networks. Another is to participate in industry events.

“The Small Business Expo is a very important platform for networking, learning and skills development,” she says. “No matter how long you’ve been in business, systems and markets change and there’s always something new for us to learn so that we can operate more effectively.” She notes that marketing is another area where many small businesses fall short, making the networking and exposure opportunities at the Small Business Expo invaluable for small businesses.

BMF and RCCI will be present at the Small Business Expo, where small business can discover the benefits of joining the organisations.

Carol Weaving, MD of Reed Exhibitions, says building social capital and business capacity is the primary function of the Small Business Expo and co-located #BuyaBusiness expo. “Empowering small businesses to grow, has always been the focus of this event, which is closely aligned with the work of show partner, the Eskom Development Foundation. As the expo has evolved, we have increased our efforts to deliver a practical development forum that delivers tangible results for all participants. This year, the programme has been shaped with input from business experts across small business umbrella bodies, chambers of commerce, banks and entrepreneurs, all working towards a common goal of growing businesses in South Africa.”

Small Business Expo will include multiple development forums and workshops, including the Creative Business Cup, Nedbank Money Matters Workshops; Standard Bank Women in Business Theatre; Eskom  “Powering your World Indaba” and a Business Services Theatre.  In addition, the expo will showcase the Business Services Expo & #BuyABusiness Expo as well as offers #THEClub VIP investors’ programme, business speed dating, online business matchmaking and dedicated networking areas.

About the Small Business Expo

The Small Business Expo, showcasing the Business Services Expo and #BuyaBusiness Expo, is devoted to the development of small and medium sized enterprises, providing an invaluable platform for small and medium businesses to market themselves, network and connect with entrepreneurs and interact with prominent business leaders and representatives from a number of corporate companies. The Small Business Expo is presented by Reed Exhibitions in partnership with the Eskom Development Foundation and will be held from 6 – 8 September 2018 at the Ticketpro Dome, Northgate.

The expo is supported by the Randburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Minara Chamber of Commerce, and is endorsed by the Black Management Forum (BMF) and approved by AAXO.

For more information, visit

President Macron to Attend Business Forum in Lagos, Powered by TEF

The Tony Elumelu Foundation a leading Non-Governmental Organization empowering Africans will host President Emmanuel Macron of France and 2,000 young entrepreneurs, tomorrow Wednesday July 04, 2018 at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos as part of the French leader’s visit to the country.

It will also witness a gathering of notable business leaders, technocrats, scholars, leaders of thought, financial market players, industrialists, tech gurus and media moguls in the nation.

President Macron will be accompanied by Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, GCON and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State.

The event will be an opportunity for President Macron to interact and exchange ideas with the business community and exploring ways of forging a stronger Nigeria-French alliance.

Founder of the TEF Mr Tony O. Elumelu, CON is a billionaire and philanthropist committed to empowering young Africans entrepreneurs.

TEF in 2015 developed the biggest investment in African entrepreneurs with the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP), which has seen 3,000 entrepreneurs benefit from the USD5,000 fund each.

The Empowerment program has USD100million voted to it and will last for a decade (2015-2025), with the goal of achieving the empowerment of 10,000 entrepreneurs.

This will be President Macron’s first official visit to Nigeria, since he was elected as the youngest democratically elected leader of the French Republic.

Macron since his emergence has become one of the outspoken and influential leaders in Europe, engaging and reaching out to several global leaders  on the issues around trade, immigration, climate change amongst others.

How to fall into the media space

The show is broadcast across the African continent on shortwave, PAS10 satellite, DSTV (in Southern Africa), live-streaming and podcast, twice a week, on Friday mornings for 40 minutes and then again on Saturdays for 60 minutes.

After working with some young Zimbabwean entrepreneurs and the South African Department of Small Business Development on an African Entrepreneur Ecosystem Summit (which never materialised), I was contacted by Channel Africa and asked to work with them to create a radio show focused on covering the latest issues and insights affecting entrepreneurs and bringing together credible, unique and authoritative voices in the world of entrepreneurship as well as providing peer-to-peer opportunities to engage and understand the challenges and success of African entrepreneurs.

Exciting opportunity and a new one for me as I had never been in the radio space, other then an interview or two.

So immediately I was in entrepreneur mode, learning, testing, modelling, learning, learning, learning. I am really grateful to the wonderful people at Channel Africa who supported this relationship. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes, as in most businesses, it is amazing and so interesting.

Our first show was broadcast on 24 June 2016 and I employed experience broadcaster, Nastassia Arendse to presented for us. Consummate professional and currently anchoring the Classic Business Breakfast with Moneyweb Show. Check her out.

This show provided me with a different angle to connect with people and I had the privilege of meeting various stakeholders in the space from the Chairperson of the AU, the South African Minister of Small Business Development, Mike Anderson, founder of the NSBC in South Africa and various dynamic entrepreneurs and incubator and accelerator program heads form across the continent. After 2 years, it was time to part ways with the SABC. I had done what I needed to d. Change Your Game is a success and running smoothly.

I decided on a more focused approach to radio, working alongside Lesego Molotsi and his podcast station, Hustle Central. Hustle Central speaks to young entrepreneurs in South Africa’s township and peri-rural communities (under-resourced areas). Lesego is great at putting together audio content for Enterprise Supplier Development programs and other necessary entrepreneur and small business information in a manner that ignites and keeps the attention of the target audience.

Looking forward to the next chapter in this space. Media

is exciting and stimulating.