Immigrants add value to host economies

As per the World Bank, African population is rapidly expanding, and by 2060 the region will hold an estimated 2.8 billion people. This is by no means a small market given the push to bolster intra-African trade as a way of promoting growth of African economies based on their unique production capabilities based on absolute and comparative advantage paradigms.

The World Bank estimates the Sub-Saharan African population at slightly over one billion people (1,061,108,000) with South Africa contributing approximately 57 million people (56,717,000).

As per the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Real GDP growth in South Africa is projected to increase to 1.7 percent in 2018/19 and two percent in 2019/20. The question that lingers is what is the contribution of immigrants to the projected GDP growth?

An Economic analysis (2016) by the University of Pennsylvania finds little support for the view that inflows of foreign labour have reduced jobs or Americans’ wages. Economic theory predictions and the bulk of academic research confirms that wages are unaffected by immigration over the long-term and that the economic effects of immigration are mostly positive for natives and for the overall economy.

Quarterly Labour Force Survey in 2013 in South Africa notes that immigrants can become a significant driving force in the creation of new businesses and the reduction of South Africa’s high unemployment rate. Other researchers find that immigrant entrepreneurship creates opportunities that have important implications for the South African economy.

Immigrant entrepreneurs in South Africa are visible micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) in retail or service rather. It is through the entrepreneurship opportunities that they partake in that they contribute to the South African economy. The immigrants turn to entrepreneurship due to difficulties and exploitation they find in the employment market despite their education and experience. They essentially work had to sustain successful businesses.

Despite the perceived growth of the immigrant communities to their host economies, we may need to examine the negative effects of immigration. The University of Pennsylvania report states that immigration has primarily raised the supplies of the least and the most skilled workers and that immigrants often impose a heavier tax burden on natives at the state and local level more-so those with low levels of education and income who generally have larger families and more children using public education, the largest component of state and local budgets.

Essentially, this points to the effect immigrants have on the overall cost of providing public services and the increase in labour supply which may create competition with the host communities on opportunities available. Further, some immigrants have engaged in crimes and other unlawful businesses like selling of hard drugs. A study by Jörg L. Spenkuch (2013) on “Understanding the Impact of Immigration on Crime” states that an influx of immigrants can be expected to increase crime rates given that that immigrants’ returns from participation in the formal labour market are on average lower than those of natives. As per US Census Bureau 2009, on average immigrants are less educated, have lower incomes, and are less proficient in English than Americans. This may drive immigrants into crime. Spenkuch asserts that a rise in the share of immigrants in the population may lead to an increase in crime rates.

Whereas the discourse on effects of migrant populations in host countries has been documented both in positive and negative light, emancipation of growth in Africa and importantly improvement in status of human development calls for increased mobility of people and goods and bolstering efforts to create a common market of over one billion people. The host governments must assure the migrants communities of their security and protect them from imminent dangers posed by xenophobic attacks to their lives and their businesse

Young Ghanaian business executive to speak at Harvard Business School

With the growth of African cities, especially within the urban centers, demand for high-quality commercial and residential real estate in both West and East Africa is also rising.

On the back of this, a business executive who runs a multi-million dollar business in the real estate industry in Ghana, Emmanuel Kojo Jones, CEO of Empire Domus and managing director of Empire Concrete has been invited by the world’s premier university, Harvard Business School (HBS) to share his success formula in the real estate terrain in Africa at a conference of over 1,500 attendees from all over the world.

This year’s conference which is themed: Africa Forward; Forging New Alliances For The Future, however, promises to celebrate and promote awareness of existing innovative solutions that have been deployed in Africa, in addition to motivating attendees to create more innovative solutions to overcome the challenges in Africa.

On 15 and 16 February, the 21st edition of the conference among other things seeks to leverage on the experiences of African Entrepreneurs to share their wealth of knowledge and experience as well as address questions regarding the role African Entrepreneurs play in future development and the challenges African property developers currently face.

Jones comes from a strong lineage of business entrepreneurs. He acknowledged that “business DNA flows through his blood”.

With an educational background mostly from UK universities, Jones holds an LLB from London Metropolitan University (LMU), Business diploma from LMU and also holds an MBA in oil and gas management.

He is also a qualified civil and commercial mediator.

Jones drive and passion for creating employment and opportunities for people landed him in business. After studying in the UK, he joined New Generation Construction in 2012 where he worked as a business development manager. He later started building luxury homes in the UK for sale.

Masiyiwa family philanthropic efforts get thumbs-up

YOUTH economic pressure group Zimbabwe Entrepreneurs Youth Action (Zeya) had urged local youths to emulate the philanthropic efforts of of global telecommunications group Econet Wireless founder and Chairman Strive Masiyiwa’s family whose timely intervention has helped to curb the recent cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe and saved thousands of lives.

Zeya president James Pande said Masiyiwa was not only a role model to young African entrepreneurs, but those in the rest of the world and urged youths leaders in the country to embrace him.

“We want more Masiyiwas in our country, he is not only the young people’s business role model in Zimbabwe, but the rest of the world, that is why in 1998 he was named by the World Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of the 10 most outstanding young leaders of the world,”he said.

The Zeya leader reiterated his call for Masiyiwa to break the current post-election political impasse between Zanu-PF and the MDC Alliance by bringing to the table their two leaders President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa respectively.

“After Rockefeller Foundation president Judith Rodin described Masiyiwa as one of Africa’s most influential figures whose good counsel was sought after by world leaders, the youths are saying why can’t we engage him broker talks with between Zanu-PF and the MDC.

“Broke businessmen and failed political leaders, the likes of Jonathan Moyo, who during their prime time as government ministers failed to build even a creche from their own funds, must leave the Masiyiwas alone.

“They are busy attacking them, but they have not done anything to uplift the lives of the young people,” Pande said.

Masiyiwa has received considerable international recognition for his business expertise and is considered one of Africa’s most generous humanitarians.

In 2014 he was ranked among the top 50 greatest world leaders by CNN’s Fortune magazine.

The Roman Catholic leader Pope Francis was leading the pack of the world’s greatest leaders.

In a citation CNN Fortune lauded Masiyiwa as “a persuasive advocate for development opportunities and the creation of strong government institutions.”

Last year British Prime Minister Theresa May awarded Strive and his wife, Tsitsi with the Points of Light award for their exceptional voluntary service providing education to underprivileged children in Zimbabwe.

May praised the Masiyiwas, who are the founders of the Higherlife Foundation, for their philanthropic endeavours in a private letter.

In responding to the letter, the Masiyiwas thanked the incredible work done by the Higherlife Foundation team and all their partners for their apart in helping over 250 000 Africans.

According to their website, the Higherlife Foundation “is a social impact organisation that invests in human capital to build thriving individuals, communities and sustainable livelihoods. Founded by Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa in 1996 out of their personal convictions, heartfelt compassion as well as their personal experiences of orphanhood, we are contemporary Africans moving the African continent forward through opportunities.”

Swimming with Sharks: Simple business guidelines for a complex world By Gavin Moffat

Drowning in the business deep? This book is the line you need, packaged in quick, bite-sized reference points. 

Did you know that over 80% of the world’s oceans have yet to be explored, mapped and observed? Scuba diving is a way to come closer to knowing a fraction more of the intricacies of the sea. It symbolises the human quest for knowledge of that which is vast. But, the technicalities of diving, the strategies needed for deeper exploration and the trust in acquired skills creates order where there is limitlessness. 

Swimming with Sharks: Simple business guidelines for a complex world is not about scuba diving. Well, not entirely. 

The aim of scuba diving is coming face-to-face with bounty and beauty. Achieving the business equivalent requires a scuba diver’s approach, says the animated and skilled author of the book, Gavin Moffat. ‘There’re remarkable parallels between my two passions: consulting to businesses as they navigate through change, and scuba and technical diving,’ says Moffat. 

The author has worked with companies that have hit Silicon Valley, international brands, one-man outfits and fledgling small businesses. ‘These businesses each have their unique natures, as though they are living coral reefs,’ Moffat adds. He’s spent nearly three decades helping leaders build their business, plan their growth, and engage with their audiences. 

The scuba-diving metaphor is masterfully maintained throughout the eight sections of the book: plan the dive and dive the plan (and you’d do this in business); having the right kit (like your technology and business tools); the brief and the debrief either side of the dive; the five Ws and an H (essentially, the building-block questions of a successful business). Topics dived into include dealing with millennials, the value of friction and the concept of the Beta culture – or that which is ‘good enough’. 

Moffat is a natural essayist, and his insightful, simple ‘pockets of thought’ explain sometimes complicated subjects in a few hundred words. It’s like having a conversation over coffee with a wise friend or swimming with dolphins. 

Swimming with Sharks: Simple business guidelines for a complex world is certainly not a stuffy manual. 

Here’s what some fellow business people have said: 

‘It is not often that you find a single book that covers so many topics and yet get to the essence of each. Gavin Moffat has created a book full of nuggets, gems that provide you with insight in business and self. His years of work with countless companies has guided his thought process and brought the realization that we make things too complicated. His job, to make business human. Great read.’ 

– Michael Jordaan, ex-CEO FNB, venture capitalist 

‘I always tell people that the best lessons I get for running my business happen when I’m not actually running it, but rather when I’m busy with other things I’m passionate about. Gavin takes this to a whole new level. Swimming with Sharks is a series of learnings wrapped up in a very powerful analogy – his love for SCUBA. The author’s passion is clear, and the lessons come through fast and hard. This is one of those rare books that you need to read with a highlighter in hand. I started reading, and hardly came up for air.’ 

– Rich Mulholland, A motorbike-riding, board-game-playing, punk-rocking, kung-fu-fighting, kettlebell-swinging, business-running, microphone-abusing inked-ellectual gentleman 

About the Author 

Gavin Moffat is a speaker, writer, common-sense evangelist and an accidental specialist in the field of marketing and communication strategy. As the co-founder and pothole spotter of join.the.dots, he teaches game-changing techniques for busting through ‘it’s complicated’, cultivating clear thinking, and boosting common sense. 

He leads workshops and trainings that bring clarity to individuals, teams and workplaces. His focus is on creating real-world results in which teams cut through the clutter and meaningful productivity skyrockets. 

Five world-class speakers set to inspire South Africa to be the solution

Driving growth and prosperity in South Africa with a positive mindset and excellence in effort is the purpose behind a two-day Real Success 2019 ‘Make 2019 Your Best Year Ever’ event, which features five inspiring South African multi-millionaires and is scheduled for 19 and 20 January 2019 at Gallagher Convention Centre.

The event, which is free of charge and will accommodate 4000 people at the venue and at least 2000 watching online, is designed to inspire and empower South Africans and guests from all over the world participating online, to make 2019 their best year regardless of their circumstances. The focuses will be on mindset, financial independence, business, and overall quality of life.

Brian Walsh, a leading authority on entrepreneurship and human behaviour, the founder of The Real Entrepreneur Institute, and the organiser and host of the Real Success 2019 event, says it’s time for all South Africans to be SNP people – Solution Not Problem people, empowered and not victims. “Five successful South African entrepreneurs and speakers have stepped up to contribute to this effort to drive a national transformation to a positive mindset and real action that impacts our communities. Our aim is to motivate South Africans across the country, from all walks of life, to see the potential in the country and within their areas of influence, and to embrace it and build success at every level.”

The speakers include:

  • Ann Wilson, best-selling author of The Wealth Chef, trainer, speaker, entrepreneur, and financial empowerment activist, who helps people to master money and use it to create the life they want. All royalties from her book are donated to The Small Enterprise Foundation, which empowers women through micro-loans and financial literacy training. Ann has students in 57 countries and after achieving complete financial independence herself 13 years ago, wants to help other “ordinary” people achieve it as well. “Now my life is committed to empowering others to find their version of financial freedom by sharing these recipes. By liberating others from financial repression, I know that together we will create an unstoppable force for good that will ripple out into the world – to your family, your community, and your country, making the world a better place for all.”
  • Billy Selekane, author, award-winning internationally acclaimed inspirational keynote speaker, and Executive Chairman of Billy Selekane & Associates, an action learning, strategy formulation, team organisational effectiveness and leadership development organisation. He has worked with world, sports, and corporate leaders and entrepreneurs, and everyday people, unlocking their passion and setting their dreams on course. Billy is an inspirational story teller with the ability to bring powerful and practical messages that deliver amazing results. “A vision becomes the driver of the manifestation of your purpose. It gives you a place to go. A destination to look forward to and a journey that is embedded in your subconscious mind at all times.”
  • Brian Walsh, founder of The Real Entrepreneur Institute, a private research and education organisation dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs to live lives of true wealth, freedom and meaning. He is a self-made millionaire and a leading figure in the personal and business growth industry. “I believe that most people start a business in order to live a better, more fulfilling quality of life. However … most become despondent and lose sight of their original intention. The real entrepreneur on the other hand, lives a fulfilled, exciting life that is truly rewarding, both financially and spiritually, generating effortless wealth and has masses of free time to do truly meaningful things.”
  • Justin Cohen, author of Pitch to Win and other books and audiobooks, host of a CNBC Africa TV show, an authority on human potential, a speaker on motivation, sales, customer service and leadership, and a Southern African Speaker Hall of Fame inductee. “Any time you influence anyone to do anything, hire you, promote you, marry you – you’re pitching them on a course of action. If you can’t pitch, you can’t influence. And if you can’t influence, you’re powerless. The greater the difference you want to make in the world, the greater the pitch you need to be able to make. Gandhi, Mandela, Mother Theresa – these people made a difference because they knew how to pitch people on the difference they wanted to make.”
  • Robin Banks, an international leading authority on mind power and personal mastery, has dedicated his life to the transformation of global consciousness, and his desire is to empower people to take charge of their lives and create a brighter future for themselves, their community, their country, and planet. He has a diverse background in construction, sales, and retail, and in 1995 he discovered his passion for people development while working as Programme Director for a youth leadership programme. “Success is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics. You need the mechanics but you have to have the right psychology for success. If you don’t have the right mindset you are not going to create an abundance of money.”

The event will also be partnering with B1G1 Business for Good to collect donations in the room, online, and from speakers, that will be given to a group of community charities around the world, based on votes by delegates. 100% of the funds collected will be donated.

Walsh says, “Our greatest and most motivational leader, Nelson Mandela, made a crucial point that every South African should take to heart daily, when he said, ‘What counts is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.’ This conference has the power to set the nation on a path of positivity rather than negativity, on contributing rather than breaking down, on success and prosperity for a wider proportion of the population, which will have a strong ripple effect in the fight against poverty. It has the potential to impact South Africa’s collective mind and give hope and motivation to take action and make a difference to their own lives – and in turn to the lives of others.”

To book your place at the conference, http://realsuccess19.com/.

How youth run enterprises can positively impact the South African economy

Recent unemployment stats released by Stats SA showed that the unemployment rate in South Africa increased to 27.2% in the second quarter of 2018, from 26.7% in the previous period. The number of unemployed increased to 6.08 million while the number of those employed decreased by 90 thousand to 16.29 million. In addition, youth unemployment rate in South Africa increased to 53.7%.

This does not make for happy reading. Even with all the interventions that the government is trying to put in place, these numbers make it very clear that more needs to be done.

And so, it is only logical to look to the next generation. With youth comes new ideas, positivity and modern education. Africa is said to be the youngest continent. If youth run businesses can positively impact the economy, they might be the answer to South Africa’s unemployment crisis.

60-70% of new jobs are created by SMEs in most economies, including South Africa. It then means that the best way to increase the rate of job creation is by having new businesses started and enabling existing businesses to expand so they can hire more people. So what more can we do to foster entrepreneurial skills for the youth in South Africa and how can we help to realise their potential?

The Universities Business Challenge

As many African countries are grappling with high levels of unemployment, the need for skills development to enable young people access job opportunities or go into self-employment is crucial. Luckily, some of the world’s biggest enterprises agree. General Electric tasked Cognity Advisory with a challenge: to develop programs that give practical expression to the company’s commitment to skills development and reinforce its support for universities in Africa. As a result, the Universities Business Challenge (UBC) was born.

The aim of the Universities Business Challenge (UBC), now in its 20th year, is to tackle South Africa’s high level of youth unemployment. The competition simulates a business environment and students are given a problem to solve. The simulation is designed to foster skills such as analytical thinking, problem solving, commercial awareness and team-working. The teams taking part also have a chance to win up to R50,000.

In South Africa, the schedule included the first comprehensive training programme for lecturers in entrepreneurship and business management, on integrating simulations into their course delivery. Participants were drawn from all South African universities and we established a collaboration with ENACTUS in South Africa.

Over the years, the UBC has helped over 26,500 students in South Africa, Nigeria and the UK gain necessary skills to improve their employability. But this is only the starting point. To create real change and encourage entrepreneurship from a young age, South Africa’s youth need encouraging at school and university.

Creating start-up accelerators at university

Academic institutions must focus on creating real solutions that tackle graduate unemployment. One way to do this is to create start-up accelerators at universities. This is popular in the US and the UK – for example, UC Berkeley launched its SkyDeck accelerator program, where each of the 20 startups accepted received up to USD100,000 in funding from leading Venture Capital investors. Oxford University has The Startup Incubator, which is free and aimed at students and alumni wanting to start or grow entrepreneur-driven ventures. The incubator has been in operation since 2011 and has taken in over 70 startup ventures ranging from the medical domain to social media data analysis. The University works with the companies on minimum viable product development and initial commercial traction has so far attracted over USD40 million from a range of public and private sources.

tart-up accelerators at universities can be very successful. However, they aren’t as common in South Africa as they are in other parts of the world and really, there is no good explanation as to why this is the case.

If universities do not feel they have the resources or insight to create a start-up incubator, then they need to think about recruiting academic entrepreneurs (academics who are entrepreneurial) as well as purely academic professors. It’s time to get practical and focus on those who can impart entrepreneurial wisdom.

Actively support young South African entrepreneurs

All hope is not lost. The Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2018 list was, for the first time, expanded to include a total of 90 game-changers, all under the age of 30, in each of the three sectors – business, technology and creative. Those included in the list are challenging conventions and rewriting the rules for the next generation of entrepreneurs, creatives and tech gurus. The judges ‘favoured entrepreneurs with fresh ideas and took into account their business size, revenue, location, potential, struggles, social impact and resilience.’ This means that those in the list have businesses of all different sizes and they all cite similar struggles to getting off the ground.

It is important that we look to this list and give them the support, publicity and encouragement they deserve. These are the leaders that our youth need to look up to, whether they want to become entrepreneurs themselves, or not. These are the leaders who can take South Africa to the next level – these are the leaders we need our youth to be inspired by.

The burden of employment should not be placed on the youth of our country – but, with the right support, they could be a significant part of the solution. We need to take responsibility for the opportunities that they will have in the future by teaching them the skills that we know they are going to need. At Cognity Advisory, we truly believe that if we want South African businesses to elevate and operate on a more global level, we must empower the leaders of tomorrow with the right knowledge and skills.

Winners Announced: Southern Africa Startup Awards — South Africa

Southern Africa Startup Awards — South Africa, in partnership with Startup Grind Johannesburg had the pleasure of hosting the 1st Annual SASAwards South Africa national finals at a prestigious event on the 24th October 2018, at The Bird House in Johannesburg.

The event was hosted by Nomalanga Sithole, Founder of The Voice Within and Siphumelele Zondi, Anchor of Network on SABC. Over 150 startup ecosystem stakeholders and leaders in business attended the function to award, recognise and celebrate key players in South Africa’s startup ecosystem.

15 winners in 15 categories were selected out of 75 finalists through public voting, and an adjudication process.

An esteemed panel which was made up of Clive Butkow, Hilton Theunissenand Tiyani Nghonyama had an engaging discussion on “The practical tools and strategies that startups can use to meet the demands of the 4th industrial revolution.” The panel was moderated by Startup Grind Johannesburg Director Beth Malatji, who is also the founder of ReBeth Wines, which guests had an opportunity to enjoy on the night.

McKevin Ayaba, CEO of Southern Africa Startup Awards, made mention in an impassioned address to the guests, that the initiative focuses on creating an enabling platform to accelerate the growth of young leaders in the country and Africa, by recognising their achievements and creating local and international connections for them.

“In order to encourage more entrepreneurs, we as a continent must create an ecosystem of support for them. And one way we can all play a part in reviving and fostering Africa’s entrepreneurial engine is to recognize and celebrate our nation’s entrepreneurs”. Said McKevin.

These winners are leaders who are not just focused on personal wealth creation, but have dedicated time, energy and resources to making an impact on the lives of others in the various communities they are involved in. They were all invited to share their amazing startup journeys in the newly established Southern Africa Startup Magazine announced by COO, Flo Mosoane.

The winners will represent South Africa at the Regional Grand Finale of the Southern Africa Startup Awards scheduled for the 21st — 22nd of November 2018 in Johannesburg.

About SASAwards:

Southern Africa Startup Awards is a circuit of the world renowned Global Startup Awards, which provides an annual spotlight on web/tech startups in regions across the globe. Global Startup Awards It is one of the largest independent startup-ecosystem competitions, started in the Nordics in 2012, covering more than 45 countries in 7 regions.

Since 2012 in the Nordics, Global Startup Awards has grown to include South East Asia, Central Europe, SAARC Region (South Asia), and now East Asia, Baltics and Southern Africa which launched in 2018.

Partners for prosperity: what next after the Prime Minister’s visit to Africa?

This summer the Prime Minister visited South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. She met some of the young, dynamic and entrepreneurial next generation of Africans who are working hard, achieving change and challenging outdated stereotypes.

Alongside a delegation of British businesses, I accompanied the Prime Minister on a visit that marked our important historical, societal and people-to-people relationships with these great Commonwealth countries, whilst looking ahead to a future of greater trade, stronger partnerships and shared prosperity.

The message from Prime Minister May, President Ramaphosa, President Buhari and President Kenyatta was clear: now is the time to build a new partnership between the UK and African countries – built on investment, job creation and inclusive, growth.

During the visit, the Prime Minister saw first-hand that Africa is a continent full of potential, with its ambitious, young and growing populations, who are eager to embrace the opportunities of the 21st century.

But she also acknowledged the challenge we all face: that this potential will only be realised if there are enough jobs – the types of jobs that enable people to provide for their families in the pursuit of a healthier and more prosperous future.

18 million new jobs are needed every year between now and 2035, just to keep pace with fast-growing populations across Africa. Nigeria alone needs to create around 6,000 new jobs every single day until 2030.

Yet, there is good news. The continent is rich with great opportunity, growth and momentum – home to five of the world’s fastest growing economies. And some calculate that Africa’s GDP could double between 2015 and 2030.

So it is unsurprising that when I meet African leaders, civil society groups, young people and businesses, they are clear on what the answer is: investment.

By using the power of business, investment and the private sector – alongside investment in education and health – we can combine the catalytic youth force with fast-growing African economies, to create millions of jobs that empower young people and meet the rising aspirations of Africa’s next generation.

This is a genuine win-win.

For British investors and businesses, these emerging African markets – whether the agriculture innovations coming out of Kenya, the fast-growing fintech companies of Lagos, or the manufacturing hubs in Ethiopia – offer exciting, new opportunities.

For African nations, this investment will help businesses to grow and to hire – transforming economies, lifting people out of poverty, and enabling countries to move to a future beyond aid.

For the rest of the world, we all benefit when more export opportunities, more jobs and stronger economies are built by supporting African-led ambitions with expertise and investment.

This is why on her visit to the continent, the Prime Minister announced a new £4 billion package of UK investment to directly support over half a million jobs across Africa – making the case for using both UK aid and City of London expertise to unlock major private sector investment into African businesses and markets.

This month the Prime Minister took this message to the world stage, joining Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda – alongside young entrepreneurs and international investors – at the United Nations General Assembly annual meetings, to call on the world to invest in Africa. This event gave young African entrepreneurs the opportunity to tell the world about the investment opportunities their countries present, and the type of investment they need.

There is still work to be done – it is estimated that $1.2 trillion needs to be invested in Africa every year if we are to achieve the Global Goals that lift people out of poverty for good and help more African nations move to a future free from aid dependency. And as the Prime Minister underlined, that investment needs to be sustainable and spread benefits right across society.

We are taking an important step in the right direction.

At the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister welcomed the launch of the Sustainable Development Capital Initiative – a City of London group of finance experts who, in partnership with UK Government, will develop the City’s role in raising the capital needed to meet the sustainable development goals. Then next year the UK will host an Africa investment summit in the UK – bringing African leaders together with private and institutional businesses and investors.

It is these long-term, meaningful and mutually beneficial partnerships for prosperity – between our young people, governments, businesses and investors – that we want to harness over the coming months, years and decades, to deliver a safer, healthier and more prosperous future for the next generation of Africans, Brits and the rest of the world.

Minister for Africa at the Department for International Development, Harriett Baldwin.

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 (https://www.canva.com); 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 recruitmymom.co.za and upwork.com 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 https://www.smallbizexpo.co.za/

A Practical Guide To Capital Raising For African Companies And Entrepreneurs

The biggest challenge facing new businesses in Africa is financing and the dearth of practical guides to help those willing to engage financing sources do so with the benefit of practical experience.

 More importantly is the need to make what is perceived as a complex subject very simple to follow and understand.

 This most have occupied the thoughts of Mansur Nuruddin when he decided to write the book: “Get Money: A Practical Guide to Capital Raising for African Companies and Entrepreneurs“.

This guide book codifies the authors’ last seven years on the frontlines in Africa assisting African companies and entrepreneurs in raising capital.

 As the Managing Partner of MNCapital Africa Advisors (MNCAA), he has helped African companies and entrepreneurs raise hundreds of millions of dollars.  From a hydro-power plant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to a leasing company in South Africa to relatively large banks in Nigeria. MNCAA has assisted a wide-array of companies in a multitude of industries raise capital in some of the most difficult jurisdictions on the African Continent.

 Based on this experience, in this guide, he

(1) outline the types of financing available to African entrepreneurs and explains where and when these types of capital may be accessible,

 (2) outline the process for raising capital – including a discussion of the documentation required and suggestions for drafting this documentation and

 (3) provides a brief discussion on Term Sheets (including a sample Term Sheet) and some advice on negotiating Term Sheets.

 This guide also lists six tips to assist African entrepreneurs in the capital raising process.

 This guide ends with a case study of a successful capital raise, which reinforces the importance of and demonstrates many of the tips listed therein.

 Finally, the Appendices include several on-going funding briefs outlining funding available from funding sources with which MNCAA works.

  About the Author 

Mr. Mansur M. Nuruddin is a co-founder and Managing Partner of MNCapital Africa Advisors

(MNCAA). He is an Ivy League educated, international deal maker with over 15 years of experience in complex corporate transactions. Mr. Nuruddin has had the unique experience of working on four continents, i.e., North America, Europe, Asia and now Africa. He began his legal career with the Wall Street law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, where he spent nearly seven years between Cravath’s New York and London offices. Mr. Nuruddin has also worked for Herbert Smith in Hong Kong and Bowman Gilfillan in South Africa. Prior to co-founding MNCAA, Mr. Nuruddin was the Managing Partner of Nuruddin & Associates — a boutique legal and financial advisory firm.

 Over the years, Mr. Nuruddin has had the opportunity to work on a broad range of corporate transactions, including leveraged buyouts, private equity transactions, public and private mergers and acquisitions, securitizations, initial public offerings, secondary offerings, public and private bond offerings, private placements and joint ventures. Mr. Nuruddin has worked on public and private placements in Europe, the US, Asia and Africa and has an in-depth understanding of the security law requirements for capital raising in numerous jurisdictions, which he uses for the benefit of MNCAA’s clients.

 Mr. Nuruddin also has extensive experience in the field of telecommunications. He holds a Masters Degree in Telecommunications from New York University, where he received the NSEP Graduate Enhancement Fellowship and the ITP Academic Excellence Award. In 1995, Mr. Nuruddin published “Models for the Development of Regional Telecommunications Networks in Africa” in Eli Noam (ed.) Telecommunications in Africa, London: Oxford University Press. Prior to law school, Mr. Nuruddin worked as a telecommunications analyst for Northern Business Information (NBI) where he researched and wrote reports on US telecommunications markets, e.g. “Competition in the Local Loop” and “US Long Distance Markets”. While at NBI, Mr. Nuruddin initiated NBI’s first report on the South African telecommunications market.

 Mr. Nuruddin has a BA with honors from Columbia University in New York City, where he was the recipient of the Kluge Fellowship. Mr. Nuruddin received his Juris Doctorate from New York University School Law, where he was the recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship. Mr.Nuruddin is admitted to the Bar in the State of New York, and is a member of the New York Bar Association; the American Bar Association; the Asia-Pacific Bar Association; and the International Bar Association. He can be contacted vide E-Mail: mansur@mncapital-africa.com