The Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative by Jack Ma Foundation calls for applications in March

The Prize, which is supported by its continental partner Nailab, is focused on empowering a new generation of entrepreneurs, with a focus on small businesses, grassroots communities and women-founded enterprises.

“The Netpreneur Prize Initiative has brought together a strong ecosystem of players to support both technology-driven and traditional businesses. We look forward to unveiling the full slate of regional partners and to receiving applications from promising African entrepreneurs in the coming weeks,” said Sam Gichuru, Founder and CEO, Nailab.

All ten finalists will receive grant funding from the Jack Ma Foundation, as well as access to the Netpreneur community of African business leaders to leverage the community’s shared expertise, best practices, and resources.

“By 2030, we hope to identify and shine a spotlight on 100 African entrepreneur heroes who will inspire the continent. From day one, our approach has been community-based and focused on inclusiveness; to be truly for Africans and by Africans. To realize these goals, we are excited to work with Nailab as our implementing partner in Africa and multiple African partners across to continent.”

Bank Windhoek empowers entrepreneurs

Namibia’s Bank Windhoek in collaboration with Microsoft recently hosted a seminar for local entrepreneurs, which allows them to network, share knowledge and celebrate the spirit of innovation.

The entrepreneurs who came from various backgrounds were empowered with skills such as overcoming challenges, accessing finance, marketing their products and services, customer relations, business sustainability, and business continuity.

Bank Windhoek’s Emerging Small and Medium Enterprises (ESME) Finance Branch Manager, Mbo Luvindao, said their goal is to bring benefits to the entrepreneurs who are the bank’s customers, so they could build a competitive advantage and safeguard the success of their businesses.

“As connectors of positive change, we see an opportunity to bring additional value to our customers through strategic partnerships such as the one agreed with Microsoft,” said Luvindao.

Bank Windhoek’s Head of Specialist Finance Division, Saara Shivute, expressed the bank’s pride in being associated with emerging business in the country, saying they look forward to creating business partnerships with them.

“Bank Windhoek is a change-agent, we are committing to being the drivers of positive change in the small and medium enterprises ecosystem,” Shivute said.

Microsoft was represented by Thinkroom Consulting’s Founder, Catherine Young, who facilitated the seminar. She said Thinkroom Consulting is passionate about helping businesses and entrepreneurs.

“We use our networks to introduce them to corporate programmes, use management best practices as well as the latest technologies to reach existing and new markets,” said Young.

Sierra Leone: New Ecowas project seeks to empower female entrepreneurs

50MAWS is an initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is providing the funding, in partnership with the regional blocs ECOWAS, the East and Southern Africa Common Market (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC).

It aims to improve women’s ability to access financial and non-financial information, to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and access to business financing opportunities.

Through this initiative, women will also be able to build networks and establish partnership relationships with people and structures that can help them grow and support their businesses.

According to officials, the project was conceptualised and designed following a pilot study conducted by AfDB, which identified challenges impeding women from growing their businesses.

Mrs Bio was speaking at the launch of the Sierra Leone Country Team of the 50MAWS.

It comes at the end of a two-day stakeholders’ engagement on Thursday.

The Sierra Leonean First Lady, who presided over the launching, said the initiative would bring more respect to women and give them a voice in the development process.

“I want to encourage every Sierra Leonean woman who is already [an] entrepreneur, who wants to be one and has vision, but do not know where to start,” Mrs Bio said in a statement on Friday.

She added: “This is an opportunity for you to be part of a network that is beyond the borders of this country. This is an opportunity for you people to market your products beyond Sierra Leone. This is an opportunity Ecowas is brining for us women in Sierra Leone.”

Sierra Leone becomes the tenth country to launch and officially commit to the implementation of the initiative.

Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Benin and Cape Verde have all already launched it.

Sierra Leone is also billed to host a continental launch of the initiative.

ECOWAS Vice-President, Sierra Leonean Mrs Finda Koroma, represented the regional bloc at the event in Freetown.

She said the project is in line with the ECOWAS Gender Program that is fully aligned with the ECOWAS Gender Policy adopted in 2004.

“This project if successful will take many women out of poverty and it will bring more respect to the women,” she said.

RemitFund Launches Social Venture Diaspora Fund for Investment into African Businesses

RemitFund, a non-profit organization has launched an investment fund called African Diaspora Investment Fund (ADIF). ADIF aims to transform international remittances into social impact funds to power businesses and other social projects.

RemitFund aims to leverage these financial flows for greater social impact on the continent,” says Grace Camara, Founder and Executive Director of Remitfund.

“Remittances in the traditional sense are a form of diaspora-driven development and provide a huge safety net for many families,” said RemitFund’s founder and executive director Grace Camara.

ADIF is powered by donations from Africans abroad, allowing them donate a certain percentage of their remittances to the fund.

The initiative will provide funding for African and African-diaspora led business. In particular, the fund targets businesses advancing critical areas of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These include businesses in the agricultural sector and renewable energy businesses.

Originally launched in June 2018, the ADIF fund is expected to make its first investment in 2019. Like regular venture funds, ADIF will pursue deals in the form of equity and or debt financing.

But beyond the ADIF fund, RemitFund has its eyes set on further ambitions in 2019. RemitFund is looking to launch a crowd funding platform in 2019. It also plans to launch an African Fellowship for startups. Leveraging a network of tech hubs across Africa, the fellowship is scheduled for launch in later in the year.

Why is RemitFund Targeting Remittances?

Remittances is hugely important financial activity in Africa and across the globe. In 2016, USD601 billion was transferred by over 250 million global migrants to their home countries. Sub Saharan Africa accounted for $39 billion of this sum, with Nigeria receiving over two-thirds of this sum.

Remittance equally serves as an important lifeline for Africans as it helps to support families’ livelihoods and businesses.

However, due to the high levels of unemployment, many families are increasing reliant on these remittances.

How RemitFund will transform and identify businesses worth investing will go a long way to redefine impact investing on the continent.

I&P Afrique Entrepreneurs 2 makes first investments

I&P Afrique Entrepreneurs 2,  a private equity fund launched in December 2017 with a first closing at €50m, has announced its first investments.

Operating in various sectors of activity, the first companies of IPAE 2 portfolio share a common feature: the choice to develop their activities, from the outset, in several African countries. Two of them also share a strong technological component.

The new companies in its portfolio are AFRIBON, African Management Initiative (AMI) and CoinAfrique.

AFRIBON is specialized in the development, production and marketing of food flavors.

Created in 2012, the group comprises five production sites, in Cameroon and East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania).

Launched in 2014, AMI is pioneering a scalable approach to workplace learning for Africa, blending online and in-person training to reach 20,000 people in 11 African countries.

CoinAfrique is a mobile platform launched in 2015, designed to easily sell and buy products within the community of users.

“More and more we meet companies such as Afribon, AMI or CoinAfrique, aiming for multi-country expansion. Besides, African companies are increasingly integrating new technologies into their service offering and/or business model,” said Jérémy Hajdenberg, CIO at I&P.

With a target size of €80m (a second closing between €70 and 75m will be announced by the end of 2018), IPAE 2 aims to invest in equity and quasi-equity in 30 to 40 startups and SMEs over the next five years in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in West and Central Africa, but also in East Africa and Madagascar.

IPAE 2 is a generalist fund that supports companies operating in various sectors (such as agro-industry, microfinance, health, education, construction).

IPAE 2’s investment ticket size can reach up to €3m, allowing I&P to support mature companies and large projects.

This category of high-potential SMEs represents a powerful growth driver in Africa, but very few equity or debt investors are willing to finance them.

Besides equity investment, IPAE 2 provides companies with active participation in their governance, personalized managerial support and technical assistance resources, enabling them to reach their full potential in terms of growth and impact.

ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) issues and impact measurement are at the heart of IPAE’s investment model.

IPAE 2 aims to deliver significant financial return and essential social and environmental impact, including notably: the promotion of a new generation of African entrepreneurs, the use of local subcontractors, job creation, the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship and the protection of the environment.

Africa Continental Free Trade Area to boost Intra-Africa Trade

One of the biggest challenges African countries face to develop their trading base and volumes has been linked to enshrined historical colonial trade ties that has seen most Afro countries trade (import and exports) being concentrated with their former colonial masters. There has been some progress in diversifying trade partners but it has largely been trade with other major global players were the negotiation power is mostly steeped against the African countries.

These enshrined historical trade deals are so complex and opaque such that the national taxation authorities have limited capacity to understand their underlying transaction and thereby effectively tax them. Moreover, even getting the forex volumes trickling back into the local economies and banking sectors has been limited leading to volatile local forex markets as well as limited sizes of the money markets.

Zambia is no exception to this scenario. Despite its greatest potential for the best trade deals and growing its export volumes being with neighboring countries such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC which have huge markets for primary products such as fresh farm produce, the country has seen more trade missions to Europe, Asia and the USA.

What these advanced economies need from Zambia for instance is mostly primary goods, Efforts to attract upstream investment in areas such as processing of copper to final goods manufacturing has been met with mere promissory notes. Even diplomatic efforts and establishing of good transport infrastructure to the neighboring Angola and DRC have moved at snails pace when these are the markets that are a low hanging fruit to strike trade deals with.

Zambia hosted for the first time the meeting of the African Union on the Continental Free Trade Area – CFTA from 10th to 15th September, 2018 in Lusaka. “The main purpose of CFTA meetings is to review and consult on outstanding issues on modalities for tariff liberalization, rules of origin and Trade in Services among African Union Member States in order to provide parameters that will guide member states to schedule their tariff and services concessions, and designate their sensitive products and products that will be excluded from liberalization,” Trade Ministry public relations officer Godfridah Chanda told the Zambian Business Times – ZBT

Chanda told ZBT that the African Continental Free Trade Area – AfCFTA is expected to create opportunities for scaling up production for producers, not only in Zambia but in the whole of Africa if properly implemented. The AfCFTA is expected to provide huge market access for produce, and ultimately contribute to job and wealth creation for Zambia in particular and African Countries as a whole.

However, there is a caution that the benefits under the CFTA are not automatic, individual countries such as Zambia need to prepare with their private sector to build the necessary capacity to trade and take advantage of market openness while minimizing the negative impact. Outstanding issues on modalities for negotiations on trade in goods relate to the version of Harmonized System of Commodity Coding and Description will be used as the basis for tariff concessions.

And the proportion of tariffs to be designated as sensitive products and those to be excluded from liberalisation based on options provided during an earlier meeting held in Senegal. The options are 5% sensitive and 5% exclusion; or 7% sensitive and 3% exclusion; or 9% sensitive and 1% exclusion; whether to apply anti-concentration to ensure that countries do not exclude an entire sector from liberalization; how to treat countries that are in a Customs union composed of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Non-LDCs and how to apply flexibilities,” she narrated.

The AfCFTA envisages liberalizing trade of goods and services for African Countries and extends its coverage to investment, competition policy and intellectual property rights. AfCFTA, once fully operational, will be the largest trading bloc in the world, bringing together fifty-five (55) African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than USD 3.4 trillion.

Intra- Africa trade remains a key economic lever that African countries need to take advantage of. Zambia which has eight neighboring countries should put more efforts in completing roads, bridges and transport infrastructure to connect and link up these nearby markets. The country’s diplomatic efforts should also follow a similar trend and facilitate the striking of more trade deals with these neighboring and Great Lakes region countries which are in close proximity and do not need multi-billion dollar capital base for local entrepreneurs to engage in trade.

Eskom BIC winners inundated with interest at Small Business Expo in South Africa

Reed Exhibitions and Eskom’s 15-year collaboration to boost small business development again bore fruit at this year’s Small Business Expo (SBE) in Johannesburg.

Carol Weaving, MD of Reed Exhibitions, says the partnership, which sees the Eskom Development Foundation’s Business Investment Competition (BIC) finalists showcased at the leading SBE, thrusts South African small businesses into the fast lane – giving them exposure, networking opportunities and a chance to secure new business partnerships.

“The SBE is focused on building small businesses sustainably, and our ongoing partnership is delivering exceptional results for those small businesses who participate,” says Weaving.

The Eskom Foundation’s BIC and Simama Ranta School Entrepreneurship Education competition are key small business development initiatives that seek to help grow small business and drive economic growth in South Africa. At the SBE, finalists and winners in these competitions are given significant exposure to new business opportunities.

Eskom Foundation CEO Cecil Ramonotsi says the BIC and its partnership with the SBE identifies, rewards and supports growth in existing small black-owned businesses in key sectors. “The competition, and our partnership with the SBE, successfully boost viable small businesses, helping them to take their business to the next level,” he says.

This year, Eskom Foundation’s BIC finalists were inundated with interest at the expo, reporting that they ran out of business cards and had scores of business meetings lined up, with promising new business opportunities presenting themselves. The BIC and SBE proved to be an eye-opening experience for the BIC finalists, many of whom had never before participated in an expo such as this.

The BIC, now in its ninth year, recognises promising and sustainable black-owned small businesses, awarding a total of R300,000 in growth funding to the overall winner. Besides the exhibition space, finalists are also given an opportunity to attend the free business development workshops during the expo.

The rare opportunity to engage with leading enterprises and corporates, and the high levels of interest from potential investors and business partners at the expo caught the BIC finalists by surprise: “The three days of exposure at the expo have been worth more than a year of marketing for me. By this time next year, I think my business will be twice the size it is now, thanks to interest generated through the BIC and the expo,” said Phindile Ncube, Director of Phakama Services Group, first runner-up in the BIC’s Engineering and Construction category.

Ncube said she was stunned by the entire experience: “When they called me to tell me I was a finalist, I was shocked, and when they called my name as first runner-up, I was like ‘what?’ Now no matter how many times I fall, I have to get back up because I know Eskom will be watching. I have to do great things because they are expecting it,” she said.

Both expo visitors and fellow exhibitors proved to be potential business leads, the BIC finalists said. “My entire market is everyone who is here,” Ncube said.

“I’ve never even thought about exhibiting at an expo before. As a business we were lacking on our marketing,” said Nyadzeni Makhado, founder of this year’s overall winner, Prodeliver Group. Prodeliver, based in Rivonia, provides logistics and mining services including transportation.  “The high volume and quality of interactions at the expo have made us realise that expos are definitely worthwhile,” he said.

“The media exposure we gained by winning the BIC has been phenomenal, and our stand in the exhibition area attracted a great deal of interest. Thanks to this exposure, I now have several business and investment meetings lined up that will open new avenues for growth. In fact, I have had so much interest that I believe I also need to get a social media presence and upgrade my site to help deal with enquiries,” Makhado said.

“Through the competition and the expo, I’ve secured industry-specific new business leads. On top of that, I managed to attend workshops on branding and learnt a great deal,” said Mbali Mavuso, founder of construction and manufacturing firm EBR.

“Everyone we spoke to at the expo has been relevant to us – some could provide services we need, and others need our services. I had 600 business cards printed for the expo, and they’ve all been handed out,” said Moses Matshiana, founder of Kgabu Projects and Construction.

“We opened our business in the George area because we saw a need there for well-made, affordable school uniforms,” said Letitia Frans of Sew Happy Primary Co-Operative. The co-operative, launched by Frans and co-founder Janine Bruce, was the second runner-up in the BIC Manufacturing category. “Because of the high level of interest we have received at the expo, we are starting to think it may be worth our while to expand our business to Gauteng too,” says Frans.

Peter Lengweng of South Side Plumbing and Construction in Eldorado Park and winner in the BIC Trade and Services category, said participation in the BIC and SBE would make a massive difference to his business. “Because of the expo, three developers have approached us to discuss new projects. I would not have been able to get that business without the expo.”

 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 business leaders and corporate companies. This expo exposes visitors to a wide range of business models, incubation programmes, business contacts, speakers and other entrepreneurs who will engage them on starting or growing their business.

The Small Business Expo is presented by Reed Exhibitions in partnership with the Eskom Development Foundation and its Business Investment Competition..

For more information, visit

Eskom competition moves to next stage as entries close

The Eskom Development Foundation’s annual Business Investment Competition (BIC) moves a step closer to finding this year’s winner as entries close and the crucial stage of adjudication was underway on 23 – 24 August 2018. Black-owned small and medium enterprises from across the country, that have been operating for more than two years registered for the competition.


Small businesses that have been selected as finalists will now be making their cases in front of a team of adjudicators over the two days. The adjudicators will score them based on specific criteria and determine the winners of the different categories as well as the overall winner of the competition.


With ZAR1,3 million worth of prizes up for grabs in the competition, the finalists will slug it out for great prizes which they can use to take their businesses to higher levels. Eskom started the BIC with the aim of recognising, rewarding and boosting small businesses that are contributing to skills development, job creation and economic growth in the country. The entrants, which come from across all nine provinces, compete in three sectors; manufacturing, engineering/construction and trade/services.


Since it was initiated in 2008, the BIC has been helping small enterprises grow their operations through the financial rewards, the business skills and training provided as part of the prizes, and the exposure that they get for being part of the competition. The overall winner receives ZAR300 000, while each sector’s winner takes home ZAR125 000. The first and second runners-up in each sector receive ZAR75 000 and ZAR50 000 respectively.


All BIC finalists will get an opportunity to exhibit at the annual Small Business Expo (SBE) and the #BuyaBusiness Expo held from 6 – 8 September, at the TicketPro Dome in Johannesburg. The Small Business Expo is exclusively dedicated to the development and growth of small and medium enterprises by giving them an opportunity to market themselves and interact with corporates, potential investors and customers.


The Eskom Development Foundation CEO, Cecil Ramonotsi, says while there are many competitions that exist to boost small enterprises, the BIC takes things a step further with all its amazing additional prizes. “The BIC is not only giving these businesses a chance to improve their operations and create jobs. It also provides them with the skills they need to be sustainable and grow,” says Ramonotsi.


August 25, 2018 Mind Retirement Institute is hosting Unlock Your Authentic Self Session with various guest speakers and people who will share their life testimony on how they discovered their true self.

Venue: 012 central, Church Street, Pretoria CBD, South Africa

Time: 9h00-12h30

Ticket Price: R450 incl Breakfast and Entry to Market@theshed Flea Market

This session will help you with:

Discover who you really are

Find out your true passions

Build your self-esteem

Let go of past mistakes and accept yourself

Break free from crippling self-doubts

Embrace your individuality

Love yourself

Find your life purpose

Show the world the real you

Create a joyful life by living authentically


Guests Speakers:

  1. Puseletso Modimogale (Host): Transformation Coach, Author: Mind Retirement, Business Woman
  2. Kunle Ayo: Multi-Award winning Jazz Guitarist, Founder:Beam The Light
  3. Kea Moloto-Modise: Founder of Bontlebame, Owner: Arise Magazine 
  4. Nonto Sibisi: Founder: Mbombezikazi & the Author: Isithunzi Sami


“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” — Albert Einstein

  • If you would like more information or to schedule an interview with Puseletso Modimogale, please contact  Milton Limema on +27814430705 

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.