What every entrepreneur must know about raising capital

Both The Digest Africa Index and the Annual Venture Investments in Africa Report 2018 suggest that Startups in Africa raised USD618m and USD725.6m respectively. The variation in data is attributable to the metrics adopted in the deal flows and types of deals, investment size reported for the period 2018.

Digest Africa’s Annual Index tracked 448 funded and M&A deals of which 344 were disclosed generating a USD1.2 billion deal value. This report by Digest Africa considered Debt financing, grants/non-equity assistance, venture capital, angel investment, crowdfunding, corporate financing and initial coin offerings (which is still yet to be a valid metric in the finance world).

The Venture Investments Report 2018 reported USD725.6m was invested across 458 deals — a 300% gigantic leap in the total funding amount and over 127% increase in the number of deals compared to what was reported in 2017. The indicative value of the comparison is a 448 to 458 deals compared by both firms. A fair size for comparison to determine a variance in deals.

In a comparison of Funds that were established or capital raised to seed companies, 2018 according to Digest Africa in its report suggest a total value of funds at USD1.094B, with an average fund size of USD68.4m, USD314m maximum fundraised, USD250k minimum fundraised.

These three variations increasingly show a rise in deal flow and support services to African startups. However, Sub-Saharan Africa particularly Ghana continues to lag in attracting capital to its startups, significantly different from the typical KINS(Without Ghana’s) economy. Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa are the ideal spots for capital raising and startup capital.

Why are (African) Startups not raising enough capital?

1. High Net Worth Individuals and Risks- High Net Worth Individuals are either difficult to find or relatively hard for startups to convince. When these investors commit, the typical periods for closure drag or that calls for capital go unheeded. Interests by typical Ghanaian High Net Worth Individual’s or the growing institutional family type firms for startup investments are for companies with proven business models, audited accounts, no liabilities, in summary, an Investment thesis typical of requests by Banks. The typical risks applicable as KYC- “Know Your Customer” requirements for banks apply to startups. In contrast, startups vary from Idea/Seed Stage to Growth, some even matured.

Two types of businesses will continue to exist, companies with liabilities, companies without liabilities that still need a capital injection. Worthy of note, not every liability is bad business, and not all assets are good assets. The investment thesis demanded by HNI’s must be revised and examined within the context of scale, business development and corporate governance support through shared experiences. Can capital inject enhance restructuring processes to reduce liabilities of exposed, leveraged companies?

What will it take to convince HNI’s to consider startups, perhaps a system of scalable micro-equity/micro debt investments leading to equity in a typical convertible debt type deal?

2. Variation Models-

The mistakes most startups make is the inability to marry traditional business models with evolved business models, a tech-enabled African spiral growth is restricting an inherent understanding of the traditional African value chains and lifestyle changes that may occur in the medium term but as factor and measure of development and cultural exchanges. A typical e-commerce shopping app may discover that while price, convenience and mobile penetration and variables in usage present market opportunities, a market sizing on preferences of consumers to type of groceries-organic or otherwise, user experience, certification, and an understanding of the market queens and market stalls operational supply models can largely determine how innovative grocery apps perform especially from an aggregator perspective to consumer choices. To each model must be a sustainability agenda with a blended value of profit and impact to win in the African market.

The African capital market has largely been dominated by traditional financing regimes, driven by offtakes, contracts, which makes letters of credit, credit lines, invoice discounting as a part of factoring whether reverse or otherwise an ideal structured finance for most firms, some of which have demonstrable financial history in audited or management accounts, information memorandum, good corporate governance, an asset base to meet KYC requirements among others.

Private equity and venture capital in the startup market is growing, traditional VC’s have focused on very traditional sectors with some history or knowledge of the market. African startups today are unconventional, pioneering models alien to the African ecosystem and tech-inspired, the rules of traditional financing may not apply.

The Myth around financing “ready businesses” will change if the myth around the two types of businesses is understood. Companies with liabilities, companies without liabilities will still demand capital injection. Worthy of note, not every liability is bad business, and not all assets are good assets. But could Africa’s HNI’s see the “sale of potential” than historical/projected performance with an appreciable return on equity, at variance to a phenomenon of African startups as a measure of an industry that is growing and attracting increased capital.

Without understanding investment readiness and its importance to a growing startup ecosystem, many startups risk looking flashy with high operational costs funded by directors of the business and loans than focusing on the core business of sales, organic or otherwise. The African market and its complexities have made a “fund of funds” for deal sizes between USD100,000 to USD15m nearly impractical. The race to close African grown fund rounds with greater local participation will be determined by the investment thesis such funds develop, potential of pipelines, training, risk mitigation factors from a purely market-oriented approach, corporate governance, sector-specific funds, management and boards.

Africa’s incubators and accelerators may offer the needed support to improve the quality of ideas by startups needed to close deals, however, like the funds that are actively raising capital to invest, these hubs and accelerators need capital to fund their activities whether in providing co-working spaces or training. Question is, will the success of the capital raise be determined by the startups incubated, offered space or accelerated or the intent to support will be enough. Either way, without a viable investment thesis and an improvement in the quality of ideas, an evolution of business models that combine traditional and western type models and greater participation by local High net worth individuals, Africa’s startups will continue to chase foreign funds, while foreign funds raise capital to fund our very own startups most of which with a foreign partner makes the capital raise easier and shorter.

KINGSON INTRODUCES A NEW HIGH GROWTH TECH AND BLACK OWNED SME FUND

Founded in 2015, Kingson Capital is a Section 12J Venture Capital Company committed to providing venture capital for companies, enabling them to accelerate their growth potential. 

The hope for success of both Enterprise Development and Supplier Development hinges strongly on the idea that capital and supply contracts are enough to bring about meaningful transformation, but studies have shown that capital alone is not a sufficient driver to propel SME’s and black-owned businesses into their next growth phase.  

“Although we see a substantial rise in South African start-ups,” says Gavin Reardon, founder of Kingson, “it is unfortunate that when it comes to them sustaining that start-up momentum, many fall by the wayside due to lack of support.” 

Ongoing business support is critical to ensuring long-term business sustainability, which is why Kingson has launched a brand-new High-Growth Tech and Black-Owned SME Fund.

The Fund pairs investment with business support through its investment structure. This allows investors to score B-BBEE points under both Enterprise and Supplier Development scorecards, whilst acting as a minority shareholder in the black-owned business in which it has invested. Pairing investment with business support facilitates meaningful economic transformation, driving stable and sustainable black-owned business. Where SME’s look to enter a corporate Enterprise and Supplier Development program, they should not only seek funding, but this holistic approach.

By investing in the SME or black-owned business as an equity shareholder, the fund aligns to its long-term success, growth and profitability. The Fund Manager acts as a shareholder representative and plays an active role in strategy and business development, as well as providing financial management and a key governance oversight role. These are all essential factors in the transfer of skills to executives and senior management that ensure long-term success and sustainability.

The socio-economic and financial benefits of the Fund are exponential, giving the SME growth potential towards sustainable profitability that can cement job creation and youth employment. On-the-job upskilling of executive management and industry-specific transformation become integral parts of the process allowing the investor sustainable supply chain opportunities, as well as a solid return on their capital. All of this positively contributes towards the emergence of black industrialists aligning with the Industrial Policy Action Plan and National Development Plan.

Kingson Capital’s investment approach is to invest in businesses that are unique and scalable, and entrepreneurs that are building a better tomorrow today. . By pairing SME’s whose product offering has the potential to change the current landscape and existing business models with investors intent on cultivating measurable socio-economic growth, key players from both sides will see progressively larger returns that have long-term impact. 


STARTUPPER OF THE YEAR BY TOTAL CHALLENGE

After the success of the first Challenge in 34 African countries, this year’s has been extended to a total of 55 countries around the world.

3 winners from each country will receive financial support, extensive publicity and coaching. From among these 3 winners per country, grand winners will be selected by region, who will be offered additional support.

This year, a Top Female Entrepreneur category has been introduced. During the first Challenge, women accounted for almost 25% of the winners, even though they only made up 13% of the applicants. With this special award this year, it is hoped to give the women entrepreneurs an extra push to take part. It is also aligned with other Total initiatives for women.

The challenge is open to startups and projects that are under two years old and have have a social and community impact.

In addition, the startup founder or project owners must not be more than 35-years old while their solutions must demonstrate feasibility and have the potential to benefit the broader public.

The first edition of the challenge — held in 2015 — aimed to encourage social entrepreneurship and to help innovative under 35-year olds develop their concepts or startups.

In the inaugural year, more than 11 000 applications were received, with 6642 meeting the challenging requirements. In all, 102 innovators were selected as winners with their solutions ranging from health, ecommerce to education.

Check out https://startupper.total.com/en/challenges/startupper-total?lang=en for more details

Lifting people out of poverty by investing in sustainable business

Desertification and land degradation are not new to the fragile Sahel ecosystem, a semi-arid strip of land south of the Sahara Desert. Climate change, which is expected to deeply modify the region’s climate, including by abruptly increasing rainfall, adds another layer of complexity to the daily lives of the people living in the Sahel.

Environmentally-friendly economic growth is one strategy for overcoming these challenges, and local entrepreneurs are increasingly looking towards sustainable industries to improve their livelihoods.

Shea butter, locally known as karité, is a key ingredient in many moisturizing creams. It is extracted from the nuts of the shea tree which grows indigenously in the Sahel and is a primary source of employment and income for millions of people, especially women. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that, on average, three million African women benefit directly or indirectly from shea butter production.

Burkina Faso is one of the top shea nut-producing countries, and export of shea products represents a major source of revenue.

Felicite Yameogo, who lives in Burkina Faso, is the director of New Karikis International and one of the women entrepreneurs who have benefited from this business, which she says is crucial for empowering women in the region. “With this project, thousands of women are being lifted out of poverty,” says Yameogo.

New Karikis International, one of the beneficiaries of the SWITCH Africa Green project, is a small company that deals with the production and export of shea nuts, organic shea butter and shea butter cosmetics. The company also offers training and advice to farmers and companies in the industry.

She spoke to UN Environment at the SWITCH Africa Green Regional Forum, held recently in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, about her experience transitioning to a green business. “Access to finance and market is still challenging for our small businesses. It is much easier sometimes to export abroad than to our regional market,” says Yameogo. “UN Environment and the European Union, through Switch Africa Green project, are helping us to network with banks, donors and other players who can support us to grow our business in a more sustainable way.”

Through initiatives such as Switch Africa Green, African women have been able to organize themselves in cooperatives to harvest, produce and export shea products. After a successful startup, many female entrepreneurs are now looking to expand their business to other countries in the region and beyond.

SWITCH Africa Green Programme, a project funded by the European Union in partnership with UN Environment, supports African countries in their transition to a green economy, and promotes sustainable consumption and production practices. So far, the project has helped thousands of small and medium enterprises in Africa to start sustainable businesses and lift themselves and their communities out of poverty.

For more information, please contact: Mohamed Atani – Head of Communication and Outreach, UN Environment, Africa Office – Tel. +254727531253

DEMO Africa Announces Keynote Speakers and Panelists for Technology Showcase in Casablanca

With a little under three weeks to go to the annual showcase that launches a new generation of African startups and entrepreneurs, the management team of DEMO Africa today announced the lineup of speakers, panelists, presenters and judges that will grace the stage at the 2018 edition of DEMO Africa to be held in Casablanca Morocco from October 18-19, 2018.

Silicon Valley trailblazer and Head of Early Stage Ventures at Silicon Valley Bank, Ms. Claire Lee will deliver the first keynote at the conference and offer her perspectives on Connecting African Innovation to the World. Claire joined SVB in January 2014 from Microsoft where she spent a decade building out programs and initiatives to better support early stage startups, working closely with the partners that incubate, invest in and support them. Claire has a deep experience in Europe, Middle East and Africa and a commitment to support international development through partnerships.As a founding member of Lions@frica and DEMO Africa, and a long-time advisor to the Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State, Claire was instrumental in bringing DEMO to Africa in 2012 thanks to the leadership of Secretary Clinton – and continues to support this event six years later. Outside of running the early stage practice at SVB, Claire is an active advisor, mentor and speaker. She is a thought leader on issues such as entrepreneurship, education, inclusion and international development.

One of Africa’s leading technology investors and Chairman of Convergence Partners, Dr. Andile Ngcaba will deliver the second keynote. Dr. Ngcaba will deliver an Investment Address on Bridging Africa and Silicon Valley through Venture, and provide insights on the leading trends that will fuel African economies through technology and entrepreneurship. An astute investor in Africa’s technology future, Dr. Ngcaba is involved in significant new communications infrastructure projects across Africa including Seacom (the first undersea fibre optic cable system serving Africa’s East Coast) which was ready for service on 23 July 2009, the first private sector satellite in Africa (Intelsat New Dawn) which was launched on 22 April 2011, a joint venture to bring high capacity, long-haul terrestrial fibre to South Africa (FibreCo) and recently a new joint venture with Google to invest in CSquared, a broadband infrastructure company headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.His passion for social development and desire for innovation in the ICT sector, especially on the African continent, is evident in the work he does. Dr. Ngcaba recently worked in partnership with Comsol and Samsung to launch South Africa’s first 5G Network in Soweto.

The event will also include a stellar lineup of Panel Speakers and Startup Judges that will participate in the Ecosystem Enabler Series and provide thought leadership, feedback and guidance on various aspects of venture creation, ecosystem development, cutting edge technology resources and policy best practices.

See the full agenda here – https://bit.ly/2zKIjxH

Day Two Keynotes will include Sam Gichuru of Nailab and Niama El-Bassunie, CEO of Waystocap.

Mr. Gichuru is the Founder & CEO of Nailab, one of Kenya’ s leading business incubators and co-founder Kuhustle.com (A freelance platform). Nailab, has been selected to run Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma’s $10-million Africa Netpreneur Prize, and is in the process of identifying and selecting hubs and other collaborative partners from across the continent. They have incubated over 70 entrepreneurs since inception in 2010 and some of their startups include: Kuhustle, Wezatele (Acquired by AFB), Kejahunt (2015 Vision 2030 ICT award winners), Paykind (500 Startups alumni), Cladlight, Sokotext (2015 Index awards finalists) and Eneza Education (Kenya’s fastest growing mobile learning company).

Niama El- Bassunie is the CEO of Waystocap. WaystoCap is a B2B marketplace for businesses in Africa to buy and sell products. Co-founded by Niama, Anis Abdeddine, Mehdi Daoui, Aziz Jaouhari Tissafi in 2014, the platform is one of the very few startups from the North African region to have joined and graduated from the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator in Silicon Valley. In 2017, they raised a seed investment of $3 million from Y Combinator and other international and regional investors including Battery Ventures, Soma Capital, Palm Drive Capital, Amino Capital & Endure Capital.

The 2018 edition of DEMO Africa will be officially declared open by the United States Consul General in Casablanca, Jennifer Rasamimanana and will include an Ecosystem Address by the Country Manager of Microsoft in Morocco, Mr. Hicham Houssaini.

For more information and to register for DEMO Africa visit – www.demoafricamaroc.com.

A VIP pass is required to attend the Investor Round-tables on October 17, 2018. VIP Passes are available here – https://bit.ly/2NMWjPl

Pitch your business and stand a chance to win R20,000

Women entrepreneurs will learn to boost their businesses and stand a chance of winning R20,000 in business funding from Standard Bank, during the upcoming Small Business Expo and #BuyaBusiness Expo.

Standard Bank, a key supporter of women business in South Africa, will present a three-day series of workshops for women entrepreneurs at the Small Business Expo and #BuyaBusiness Expo in Northriding this week. Standard Bank’s Women in Business Theatre will give women entrepreneurs insights from leading business experts, covering topics such as tools and systems to help you run your business better, the need to take care of self while running a business, and how top women in business conquered the challenges and overcame obstacles on the way to becoming successful in their respective fields.

Visitors to the show will also have an opportunity to go to the Standard Bank Stand and ‘Pitch your Next’ business idea. Entrepreneurs will be invited to record a 30-second pitch, to stand a chance of being selected as one of five successful entrepreneurs to ‘Pitch your Next’ live on stage each day in front of a panel of experts. During the pitches, the shortlisted candidates will get valuable advice from experts on how to craft their business goals. Above all – one lucky applicant will stand a chance to win R20, 000.00 towards their business, courtesy of Standard Bank.

The Small Business Expo, co-located with the #BuyaBusiness Expo, will be staged in partnership with the Eskom Development Foundation from 6 – 8 September at the Ticketpro Dome. Online registration by 2 September is free, or R70 at the door, and visitors will benefit from free training in the Standard Bank Women in Business theatre, the Nedbank Money Matters theatre, Business Services theatre and the Eskom Powering your World theatres. Register today at www.smallbizexpo.co.za

About the Small Business Expo and #BuyaBusiness 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 #BuyaBusiness Expo showcases business opportunities for small business owners and would-be entrepreneurs, with a focus on franchise opportunities. The Small Business Expo and #BuyaBusiness Expo feature numerous highlights, including free workshops and talks in the Nedbank Money Matters Theatre, Standard Bank Women in Business Theatre, Eskom Powering Your World theatre and Business Services theatre.  

The Small Business Expo is and #BuyaBusiness Expo are 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/ or   http://www.reedexpoafrica.co.za/BuyABusinessExpo/

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.

State of the Nation Address – 2018

State of the Nation Address – 2018

A PERSPECTIVE ON THE
STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

Click here to express your views.

I cannot recall a State of the Nation address that grasped my attention so much as President Ramaphosa’s maiden SONA address on 16 February 2018. Without underestimating the challenges lying ahead of us in any way, I felt exhilarated, eager to get to work and to play my part to make South Africa a better place for all who live in it.

Firstly, as a South African, then as an employer and employer representative, but also from the perspective of a particular race group with a unique history (in the South African context), President Ramaphosa’s speech presented me with many challenges, but also filled me with a sense of responsibility and renewed hope.

From my perspective, here are the statements which stood out:

The President recounted President Mandela’s wisdom, his unfailing humility, his abiding compassion and his essential integrity and challenged all South Africans to devote their every action, every effort and every utterance to the realisation of his vision of a democratic, just and equitable society. He called on us to reinforce our commitment to ethical behaviour and ethical leadership.

He envisaged a country where its peoples’ prospects are determined by their own initiative and hard work, and not by the colour of their skin, place of birth, gender, language or income of their parents.

He called on us to reaffirm our belief that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. He reminded us that there are 57-million of us, each with different histories, languages, cultures, experiences, views and interests; that although we are a diverse people, we are one nation; a nation at one, bound together by a common destiny.

He reminded us of the necessity of unity and harmony among all the people of this great land; that although we differ on fundamental issues, we are at one.

He called on our commitment to work together to find jobs for our youth; to build factories, roads, houses and clinics; to prepare our children for a world of change and progress; to build cities and towns where families may be safe, productive and content.

He gave recognition to the fact that there is still a lot that divides us and specifically refers to our highly unequal society, in which poverty and prosperity are still defined by race and gender. He called on all of us to take up the responsibility to build a new nation, to confront the injustices of the past and the inequalities of the present. He called on us to do so even under difficult conditions.

The President pointed out that South Africa, in recent years, experienced a reverse of the gains we had achieved previously: poverty levels have risen, unemployment has gone up and inequality has persisted and he recognised that, for several years, our economy has not grown at the pace needed to create enough jobs or lift our people out of poverty.

He challenged South Africans to seize this moment of hope and renewal to work together to ensure that we make a meaningful difference in the lives of all of us.

The President confirmed that, in 2018, job creation, especially for the youth, will be at the centre of our national agenda, pointing to the following measures to address the unemployment agenda:

• the convening of a Jobs Summit within the next few months to align the efforts of every sector and every stakeholder behind the imperative of job creation; the Job Summit is expected to generate practical solutions and initiatives that will be implemented immediately;

• the addressing of the decline of our manufacturing capacity over many years, which has deeply affected employment and exports;

• endeavours to re-industrialise on a scale and at a pace that draws millions of job seekers into the economy, as well as to promote greater investment in key manufacturing sectors through the strategic use of incentives and other measures; and

• the emphasizing of special economic zones to attract strategic foreign and domestic direct investment and build targeted industrial capabilities and establish new industrial hubs.

Working in partnership with business, organised labour and community representatives, the President pointed to opportunities for young people to be exposed to the world of work through internships, apprenticeships, mentorship and entrepreneurship.

As far as the Mining Sector is concerned, the President expressed the need to resolve the current impasse and agree on a Charter that both accelerates transformation and grows this vital sector of our economy.

The President affirmed that growth of the South African economy will be sustained by small business, as is the case in many countries. He pointed to our shared responsibility to grow this vital sector of the economy and committed Government to work with its social partners to build a small business support ecosystem that assists, nourishes and promotes entrepreneurs. He committed himself to reduce the regulatory barriers (red tape) for small business.

The President again pointed to the importance of a healthy Agricultural Sector. He confirmed the need for land expropriation (without compensation), but emphasised increased agricultural production and improved food security. From the President’s speech it is clear that huge challenges are facing this sector, but he committed Government to a process of consultation to determine the modalities of the implementation thereof.

The President promised that, in 2018, the tide will be turned on corruption.

While the President applauded many government officials who serve with diligence and commitment, he acknowledged the challenges that South Africans face when they interact with the state, admitting that in too many cases, they often get poor service or no service at all. He determined that everyone in the public service should undertake their responsibilities with efficiency, diligence, integrity and a new discipline – to do things correctly, to do them completely and to do them timeously.

To all South Africans, business in general and employers in particular, it needs to be emphasized that this is not the time to sit back in scepticism, waiting to see if all of this is going to materialise. Now is the time to put our collective shoulder to the wheel, to grasp this opportunity – a second chance – afforded to us; to make sacrifices where it is required, but also to differ and debate where that is required; to give it our everything to secure a better future for all South Africans.

Kind regards

“A rising tide lifts all the boats”
A slogan of the New England Council, borrowed by John F Kennedy.

Are you ready to pitch on Facebook with Epson South Africa?

The OEM’s South African division is on the lookout for new start-ups via a Facebook contest.

Epson South Africa has launched a new campaign to support the entrepreneurs and start-up companies of the future, IT Online reports.

#EpsonEntrepreneur is asking South Africans to nominate aspiring entrepreneurs and start-up owners by submitting a 300-word ‘elevator pitch’ – or a three-minute video pitch – of their business idea to its Facebook page. Self-nomination is also allowed. Top entries will then be profiled on the Epson South Africa Facebook page, before a winner is revealed.

The lucky victor will win a small-business starter pack, comprising an Epson EcoTank ITS L6190 printer, an Epson EB-X41 business projector, a corporate identity and marketing starter plan, and PR support for their launch announcement.

The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report for South Africa, in 2016-17, showed that 37.9 percent of South Africans believes they have what it takes to start their own business. It is based on this feeling of potential that Epson has launched the #EpsonEntrepreneur campaign, in order to encourage people to take the plunge.

Timothy Thomas, Epson South Africa’s consumer sales manager, said: “Our economy is sustained by small and medium enterprises (SMEs.) Epson recognises that by encouraging and supporting entrepreneurial South Africans, they can turn their budding ideas into a start-up business. We encourage all aspiring entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to submit their business elevator pitch – no matter how big or small the idea may seem.”

“After all,” Thomas added, “our entrepreneurs are South Africa’s future.” Nominations close on the 22nd of March, with the winner being revealed a day later, on the Facebook page.

Epson has also announced a partnership with entrepreneurial start-up Heavy Chef, which hosts events, workshops, and tours focussing on leadership, creativity, and technology in order to imbue local entrepreneurs with inside insights and skills. The partnership has been set up in order to identify and share the stories of successful local entrepreneurs, and to encourage nominations by Heavy Chef attendees.

South Africa the most developed startup ecosystem in Africa

South Africa has the most developed startup ecosystem in Africa,  ahead of Kenya, Egypt and Nigeria according to a new report released by Startupblink, a global startup ecosystem map with tens of thousands of registered startups, co-working spaces, and accelerators.

Startupblink’s global ranking index comprises of 125 countries and 900 cities measuring startup ecosystem strength and activity, and finds the top countries in Africa are South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, and Nigeria, ranked 38th, 53rd, 54th and 57th respectively. Their top cities were Cape Town, Nairobi, Cairo, and Lagos.

The United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Israel and Germany took the top five places on the ranking, with North African countries Tunisia (65) and Morocco (67) the next African markets to feature.

Mauritius (73), Ghana (83), Cameroon (85), Uganda (88), Zambia (89), Botswana (93), Mali (99) and Ethiopia (100) were the other African ecosystems to make the global top 100.

Two African countries were also ranked joint last of the 125 startup ecosystems Startupblink has data for. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan scored the same total as Cuba and Afghanistan to prop up the rankings.

Those interested can check out the ranking tables here.