Cape Town becoming tech hub of Africa

CAPE TOWN – Cape Town is fast becoming the tech hub of Africa, Viresh Harduth, Sage’s vice president, NCA (new customer acquisition for small and medium businesses) for Africa and Middle East said on Tuesday.
Harduth spoke to Business Report at the Cape Town leg of the Sage Business Sessions at the Century City Convention Centre.
“I do think that in Africa, you have where your city centre’s are and the adoption of wifi or fibre is really stepping up, wherever there is connectivity these things are moving very quickly. I think where Africa always has an advantage sometimes is that while the technology is being adopted, something new comes in and you can step-jump. In South Africa, in pockets, it is definitely there, connectivity gives everyone level playing field so when you start seeing more and more free wifi, better connectivity –  that’s how we will catch up (to the rest of the world),” said Harduth.
He said in term of innovation South Africa was on par with the rest of the world.
“We are always a better disruptive country in terms of tech,”he said.
Harduth said  some of the big global companies such as Google and Facebook were looking to step-jump connectivity in order to provide connectivity from drones that circulate.
 
“So  guys are thinking this all the time. If you look at Google and Facebook, they know that the emerging market is where the new user base is coming from. They are pretty much maxed-out in the developing areas, so I do think they will step-jump. Obviously the faster we can get infrastructure, the better it will be for everyone,” he said.
Harduth said the key message the firm wanted to get across from the business session yesterday was that even though Sage was seen as a traditional provider for accounting and payment solutions, the company was inviting disruptors to come on board.
“You can’t do it all yourself, the world is moving very fast. Rather allow them (disruptors) on to a platform, and tell them, you create what you think it should be. I think that’s the future of everything… don’t restrict your customer’s choice… You no longer have to worry about the disruptor, you invite the disruptor to be part of it,” he said.
Harduth said  the tech hub start-up space was seeing phenomenal growth in the country.
“I was in Bangalore (India) about three years ago, and they’ve got the most start-ups… You’ve got to create that environment for people to create. Cape Town is being quoted as being the new tech hub. Cape Town already has that positive space which people like,” he said.
Source: IOL

The 2018 World Cup Series for Startups: Five Things You Can Learn From FIFA For Your Venture

Much larger than the Olympics, The World Series, and even Super Bowl, the FIFA World Cup takes place every four years, bringing and fixing 32 nations of the world to compete on standard soccer pitches for the very best. This has the whole world on notice, captivating fans, spectators and even naysayers who are out to make shouts for their countries, best players and the sheer experience of great football. This sporting event is the craze of the now, thanks to social media technologies, digital media, giving the global football community the avenue to share millions of content pieces, including over 140 Mn related Google searches, before even a single match was played. Also, World Cup fans have broken free of experience games only confined within their direct regions. These football lovers are now tapping social media platforms such as Twitter, sharing real-time reactions, following the trends and posting images of the event on Facebook to express their excitement on a global scale.

But while the nerves are pulsating, footballers team-playing, commentators pitching and stadiums being drowned in oceanic noises, this Russia-hosted biggie is at the background putting some marketing lessons out there that wannabe, newbie, and growing business owners can harness for the success of their ventures.

Talent Doesn’t Always Win

The Spanish team claimed the world cup title eight years back in South Africa, marking their first-ever win on this international sporting platform. Fans were expecting them to snatch the victory again in Brazil 2014. With some of the best players in the soccer scene and a .large part of the rosters of highly acclaimed Real Madrid and Barcelona, people could bet half of their in-cash fortune that Spain could at least reach the finals. However, they didn’t. They didn’t even play through their group stage, exiting after a loss to the Netherlands and two lackluster efforts to follow. Even England and Italy, the other two nations with a lengthy football resume made similar exits while making way for the smallest, less talented teams to advance to the stage of 16. In Russia this year, we see something nearly identical. The Argentinian team that went on a headlock with Germany in the finals of 2014 is now on their way home, having drawn with Iceland, lost to Croatia, won Nigeria and lost to France. Germany seemed to be gettng back in the game after their win against Sweden, because Mexico refused to give in to intimidation from the defending champions. But, loosing to South Korea in their final group game, they got on thier next plane home.

I am no soothsayer or all-knowing octopus, but I think the teams that will pull through this time around will be the less-expected ones, even though they do so with a few football giants. Portugal lost to Uruguay yesterday (thanks to Cavani) and are on their next plane home. Christiano Ronaldo is gone, so is Lionel Messi and every other German powerhouse we expected to deliver. Did I also mention that Netherlands and Italy didn’t even qualify?

These dicey outcomes and seemingly disappointing results all serve as an important reminder for the startup ventures out there. Success is not guaranteed alone by success. It takes more with effort, innovation, and strategy immediately coming to mind. The biggies in your niche or industry may not stand a chance against your business if you come out right with all of these necessities.

Community is Your Brand’s Best Friend

The World Cup has been great for brands across the planet. The biggies such as Nike, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser among others have set the nations of the world on fire with their innovative, compelling and mind-blowing campaigns that capitalize on the world’s passion for this biggest sporting event. That said, a significant number of these brands put so much focus on tying their products and services to the global soccer community and not to products and services themselves.

For startups out there, this fact is a non-negligible reminder that building a community for your customers and prospects is paramount. If you focus on education, information and service rather than pure self-promotion as a means to propel brand awareness, without feeling like Spam 2.0, you are on the right track. For me, any brand that keeps me at the edge of my seats watching even the commercials is on to something good.

The Darkhorse has a Role on the Big Stage

In the 2014 World Cup, the teams, the teams that emerged among the 16 at the knock-out rounds were not the best in the world. This happened while the highly acclaimed soccer powerhouses suffered defeat and got on the next plane home. National teams such as Costa Rica, Greece, and the United States all scaled through quite tricky groups to emerge ahead of the English and Italian teams, including Christiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. This year’s World Cup is seeing teams such as France, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Russia, Japan, Columbia and Croatia making the names for themselves, through thier group stages and competing in the round of 16 alongside other bigs. Though Panama lost to England, they as well recorded their first World Cup goal in their match against England. This is happening because, no matter who the best must have been in the world, everyone, even the underdogs are playing for the title.

At each sporting event, we find this happening almost all the time. For startups, it shows that the most prominent business owners are not always the fittest to deliver the products and services that clientele requires. Newbie ventures can as well provide unique value and differentiation even if they are smaller or less experienced in the game.

Scarcity is Relevant

Thanks to technology, we live in a world of connectivity. With our mobile devices and presence on social media platforms, we can be reached around the clock. According to an infographic, 91 percent of people sleep within arm’s reaches of their phones, meaning that we are more connected than ever. Someone somewhere in the world, or maybe all of us would have the thought that FIFA may want to take advantage of this and make the World Cup happen every two years, maybe. I don’t think so. Not a chance. Much like the Olympics, the World Cup is kept to every four years, because the buildup creates more significant and greater interest as the event draws near each time.

Startups out there can pick a tip from this. Before going out there, have it in mind that while you never want to make customers wait so much, there is something to be said about having your genuinely unique differentiator. Soccer is played all year round and done so on many grand stages like La Liga, UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, among others, but only the World Cup brings the passion and commitment that we see right now. FIFA’s differentiator is scarcity, so entrepreneurs need to think what makes them unique and worthwhile. About eight percent of venture owners believe their products are genuinely differentiated, yet just 8 percent of customers felt the same, according to a study by Brian & Company. Christiano Ronaldo’s secret is consistent delivery, contrary to the disappointments Lionel Messi’s fans are currently facing. Coca-Cola is ubiquitous, so what’s your differentiator?

Engaging Content is King

Amongst other things, this year’s engaging World Cup and it advertisers are doing a great job, giving us outstanding content that keeps us glued even during half-time (I mean the people are watching from their homes). A steady cadence of visual, engaging content that solicits viewership and deep emotional ties to the event and individual teams go a long way to amplify anticipation. The ideas being spread by the graphics, sound/music and words (especially from the commentators) are just spellbinding. Amalgamating these content strategies is what makes FIFA a big deal. And, likewise, it is the company that touches a person’s heart that will reach into a customer’s pocketbook.

In case you missed it in the last World Cup, here’s the true meaning of being emotional with your content. This Game Before the Game video from Beats did a great deal to successfully solicit an emotional connection to the World Cup and the Beats Brand.

Start your business by first understanding which channels your customers acquire information. Sit back and develop the kind of content that appeals not just to their needs, but emotions. Take some time to determine the real pain your widgets solves and base your content strategy on that: what you know will surely work. Find a way to add value through engaging content, and watch the sales turn in for you. Did you see the way Budweiser lit up the World Cup with their ad? That’s the kind of tapping content we are talking about.

While we watch the event unfold in Russia, waiting to see who will scale through this round of 16, which will ultimately lead to quarter final, semi final and the grand finale, wannabe, newbie and traction-gaining entrepreneurs out there should keep their eyes peeled. And as you do that, always check with us here for other World Cup-related snippets.

Source: Wee Tracker

A Bootstrapped Startup’s Guide to Podcasting

Even if you don’t regularly listen to podcasts yourself, you’re probably familiar with the praise they’ve recently received as a marketing tool. With an estimated 73 million monthly listeners in the U.S. alone, podcasting offers today’s advertisers a new (and effective) way to reach a large number of consumers.

Consider, for example, that podcast listeners are getting through about 90 percent of a given episode – most without skipping through ads.

Unsurprisingly, advertisers have taken this as an opportunity to bet big.

Podcast advertising spending broke $200 million for the first time in 2017, and is expected to exceed $500 million by 2020.

But they aren’t just spending on ads; more and more brands are beginning to use podcasts as part of their content marketing strategies, too. Spotify, Tinder and GE, among a host of other examples, have all jumped on board with branded podcasts because, as so aptly put in a Fast Company article, “branded podcasts are the ads people actually want to listen to.”

Reaping the benefits of podcasts isn’t just limited to major companies, though. With the right approach, startups can also take advantage of this new, powerful channel to reach a wider audience and gain brand credibility.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

You don’t have to host your own show

Branded podcasts often come with a hefty price tag, which can make them a tough sell for most entrepreneurs. A full season of a branded show can cost upward of a half million dollars, and even reach seven figures for one that is very well-produced.

Fortunately, as an entrepreneur, you don’t have to host or produce your own show to take advantage of podcasts. Simply participating in the podcast ecosystem by joining other people’s shows as a guest can help you effectively reach your audience, too. The only thing you have to invest is your time.

If you’re an expert in a certain field, people want to hear what you have to say, and odds are there’s already a podcast out there that those people are listening to. With that in mind, a good way to start getting involved with podcasts is by reaching out to hosts of podcasts in your field, and offering to share some of your unique insights on their shows. Even if the shows have a small listener base, they can lead to bigger opportunities in the future.

Also, once you build up a solid repertoire of podcasts and have done the work of promoting them, people will see you as a good partner to work with and will keep inviting you back. Sometimes the results can be surprising. In my case, for example, I’ve even had people apply for jobs because they heard me on a podcast.

Your omni-channel approach shouldn’t stop at creation

While you don’t have to create your own podcasts, they can be a worthwhile investment if you do. Sephora’s#Lipstories, Basecamp’s The Distance and Drift’s Seeking Wisdom have all demonstrated how much value building your own branded podcasts can bring, even for startups and other small companies.

As such, if you do decide to create your own podcast, it’s important to make them available on as many channels as possible. For starters, your podcasts should definitely be accessible for users on smartphones, tablets or other portable devices, as these are where 76 percent of listeners tune in. Needless to say, however, you should also accommodate users who prefer listening on a traditional laptop or computer.

Similarly, the omni-channel approach should extend to the platforms on which you host and promote the podcast. For example, iTunes may be the most common platform, but it’s definitely not the easiest for the more than two billion users of Android devices. With this in mind, you should also consider hosting your shows on other platforms such as YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify and AudioBoom, among many others.

Once your podcasts are live, you should promote them on as many platforms as possible. Embed them on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media platforms, with the goal of creating as many touch points as you can with your audience. Couple this by asking your listeners to subscribe to your channel at the end of the show and to share with their friends. While it may be a simple tactic, it can often be the spark that gets the fire going.

You must focus on consistency and quality

Regardless of whether you decide to create your own podcasts or participate as a guest on others’, it’s crucial that you make sure your content, your hosts and your guests all align with your brand. This is not to say the podcast must be about your product, but it should be related to the story your brand is trying to tell.

Moreover, you should be sure to constantly produce fresh content. This means releasing shows regularly; whether it be once per day/week/month/etc., the aim should always be consistency. This encourages your consumers to build habits, say, by tuning in for your show every Monday morning on the way to work. Creating an editorial calendar can be a particularly useful practice to keep you accountable and prepared. It also helps to have a few podcasts recorded ahead of time to use as a buffer in case you get sick or if a guest drops out.

Finally, even if you do a video podcast, the most important thing is to focus on audio quality first. If you don’t have good audio quality, you run the risk of quickly turning off your listeners. Therefore, if you choose to invest in anything, buy a good USB mic, and be sure to test your audio first. People can forgive poor video, but poor audio is a deal-breaker. If you think about it, you’ve probably sat through a movie with a fuzzy projector, but would leave immediately if the film was hard to hear.

Despite their recent popularity, the fact remains that podcasts are a young (and often underutilized) technology, particularly for marketers. Many big brands have already begun to produce high-quality audio content for enthusiastic listeners, but there is still a lot of room for startups to up their involvement. Fortunately, getting involved doesn’t have to cost a penny – it just takes a bit of networking and an extra half hour here or there. In the end, it’ll always be worth it.

Source: Startup Nation

The practical guide to chatbot metrics and analytics

These days I get the feeling that wherever I turn, I encounter a chatbot: some great, some OK, many completely pointless.

There’s no way around it: chatbots are everywhere, and it seems (almost) everyone wants one.

According to research, 80% of businesses aim to implement one by the time 2020 rolls around.

Yet many of these very same companies confess to not being sure how to gauge the efficiency of their chatbot in the first place.

Perhaps it’s no wonder that the rise of the chatbot has been a bumpy ride for some. While some companies have been hugely successful in adopting chatbots, others have stumbled or failed in their attempts.

And while some chatbots have sailed smoothly, others have nosedived and sunk.

So how do you ensure that the chatbot you’ve invested in becomes a hit rather than a miss? Well, you approach it in the same way you would any other strand of your business: you measure, measure, measure — then adjust accordingly.

Here are the key metrics and KPIs you need to pay attention to:

Total number of users

This is your bread and butter metric. It will give you the total number of users and show the amount of data that your chatbot has been exposed to. This will, in turn, provide crucial information about market size and your chatbot’s overall success.

You can drill this metric down by dividing chatbot users into further groups, like active users, engaged users and new users.

Revenue growth

Here’s another priority: is your chatbot actually making you any money?

There are a number of ways to evaluate your bot’s impact on revenue, depending on your bot’s purpose. You will want to keep in mind that a poorly-performing bot can have a knock-on effect on the rest of your finances.

The most obvious way to measure a customer service bot’s revenue growth is by identifying the amount of money you save compared to employing a 24/7 customer service team.

But that in itself is not enough: you also need to consider how well the bot is completing the customer service assigned to it.

That’s where self-service rates and NPS scores come in.

Self-service rate

This metric helps you identify the number of users who get what they want from the chatbot without any human input. For example, if your chatbot’s goal was to sell a particular product, you will measure the percentage of user interactions that achieved that goal.

Your self-service rate will correspond closely to your revenue growth — i.e., how much money is your chatbot saving you by doing what it’s intended to do? The higher your self-service rates, the better.

Satisfaction rate

Are your users happy with your chatbot’s performance? Why not ask them?

You can do this by using what according to many is ‘the only metric worth knowing,’ viz. the Net Promoter Score (NPS): “On a scale of 1–10, how likely is it that you would recommend our chatbot to a friend/colleague?” The NPS gives you a key to understanding your customer’s experience, and therefore your chatbot’s performance.

Another way to work out user satisfaction is through a tailored exit survey. You can keep this simple (“Did the bot perform well?” — Yes or No) , or invite more detailed answers.

User interactions

The total number of user interactions (rather than users) offers a basic yet solid metric for getting a better grasp on your chatbot’s performance.

A chatbot might have lots of users but a minimal amount of interactions, or it may have a small number of users that interact with it frequently.

If a conversation isn’t continuous, you can’t guarantee its effectiveness; a conversation that goes on for a while, on the other hand, will allow you to measure the number of in- and out-messages, giving you an indication of whether the chat was useful or not.

Conversation statistics offer another key way of tracking the performance of your chatbot. The number of different types of conversations (e.g. new conversations, total number of conversations) reflects the usage of the chatbot over a certain period of time.

This helps you determine users’ re-engagement times and behavior. You can then use these statistics to enhance your chatbot and par it with users’ requirements.

Organic users

It’s super-annoying when a chatbot keeps popping up, begging us to use it. So if users come back of their own accord without being prompted, that’s a great sign — and a metric worth counting. ‘Organic’ users come in with a purpose; you can measure their number through messages initiated by the user, not the bot.

Goal completion rate (GCR)

Ideally, a chatbot should have not only a goal, but a specific purpose. Remember, a chatbot that does one thing very well is infinitely more useful than one that does many things poorly. T

GCR captures the percentage of engagements that are successful on this basis. It does so by tracking how many conversations achieve your bot’s goal. For example, if your chatbot featured on an e-commerce site, the GCR might relate to how many conversations resulted in sales on the site.

Activation rate

This is the rate at which a user responds to a chatbot’s message with a question or answer that relates to your business goal. For example, a chatbot designed to give makeup tips would receive an activation rate when a user gave their eye color.

Fall back rate (FBR)

Chatbots are expected to fail sometimes — but is this happening occasionally or regularly? This is what FBR measures. FBR is the percentage of times a chatbot fails at delivering, or comes close to failing.

Confusion triggers

Even bots with the most sophisticated NLP capacity are unable to understand everything a user says. Confusion triggers are a helpful indicator for working out how and where a chatbot needs to be improved. There are different types of triggers: for instance, the chatbot can’t understand a comment; or the user sends a one or more messages that are beyond a chatbot’s remit; or the bot needs to delegate the task to a customer service agent after a failed interaction.

Each of these triggers will tell you something about a chatbot’s performance. The confusion rate is measured as follows:

Confusion Rate = number of times the chatbot had to fall back / total number of messages received.

Retention rate

Retention rate represents the percentage of users who return to a chatbot over a specified period of time. This timespan depends on the bot’s purpose. For example, a fitness chatbot would require daily interaction and would benefit from analysis of its day-by-day retention.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning rate

How strong is the AI in your chatbot? You can measure this by checking the percentage of user questions that your bot has understood correctly.

An agent with robust machine learning will be able to continually run its own gap analysis to highlight potential areas for improvement.

The most successful chatbots are the ones who are constantly revising, adapting and iterating their conversation flows in response to their users.

That’s where Hubspot’s Chatbot Builder comes in handy: you can qualify your leads, allow your prospects to book a meeting with sales or ensure your customers are always happy through 24/7 online support with chatbots.

The best tools for bot analytics

Dashbot

Dashbot is one of the largest and best-known chatbot analytics platforms. It lets you track a wide range of metrics in terms of retention and engagement, conversational analytics and user behavior.

Dashbot also lets you use bot-specific metrics for a deeper understanding of the conversations your users are having. For example, sentiment analysis gives you a high-level view of user moods, while the conversation funnel shows which kinds of questions your users are asking at different intervals, and how the conversation tends to progress from there.

The short version: Dashbot is strong in terms of better understanding conversations.

Botanalytics

Botanalytics is the best tool for tracking individual users. Its dashboard displays the user lifecycle, charting the length and date of each conversation and the number of conversations per user. This is helpful for figuring out which of your chatbot’s users are most active.

The platform also gives deep user logging by giving transcripts of each conversation.

The short version: Botanalytics is best for tracking user lifecycle

Chatbase

At Google I/O this year, Google quietly introduced a new chatbot analytics platform called Chatbase, developed within the company’s internal R&D incubator, Area 120.

Google’s chatbot analytics platform Chatbase offers tools to analyze and optimize chatbots more easily. This includes giving bot builders the ability to understand what works to increase customer conversions, improve the bot’s accuracy, and create a better user experience. This data is available through an analytics dashboard, where developers can track specific metrics like active users, sessions, and user retention. These insights give an overall picture of the bot’s health.

The dashboard also lets bot creators compare the bot’s metrics across platforms, to see if some platforms need additional optimizations.

The short version: Chatbase is best for a range of easy-to-access optimization tools.

Originally published at blog.growthbot.org.

Source: The Startup

How Blockchain Will Disturb The E-Commerce Industry In The Next Few Years

In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto invented blockchain to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin. The creation of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency, to resolve the double-spending problem without the need for a trusted authority or central server.

So, what is blockchain? a blockchain is an endless growing list of records called blocks, which is linked and secured using cryptography.

Each block naturally contains a cryptographic hash of the former block, a timestamp and transaction data.

As a design, blockchains are resistant to modification of the data and is an open distributed ledger which can record transactions between two parties proficiently, and in a verifiable and lasting way.

Blockchain permits digital information to be communicated between a decentralised, peer-to-peer (P2P) network creating a new type of internet.

Blockchain functions like a digital ledger or spreadsheet which can be accessed by everyone, but the former input cannot be edited without that edit appearing in the audit trail.

Having a high-level understanding of how blockchain works, will help you stay ahead of the competition.

There are a number of key features which make the network exciting for eCommerce brands like:

  1. Decentralised – Blockchain works over a P2P network. Data is not held in a single location, which makes it more reliable. Nobody owns or is in charge of the blockchain, which means its free of influence from governments or large corporations.
  2. Immutable – transactions are append-only, meaning once data is recorded it cannot be changed without that change is visible in the audit trail.
  3. Near real-time – stakeholders can work collaboratively in real-time over a sole, trusted ledger.

The challenges that the eCommerce industry face today are trust, frauds, slow transactions and other costs. Going forward blockchain will disturb the challenges and create a whole new revolution in the eCommerce industry in the following ways:

  1. Cheaper Transactions – blockchain allows the existence of “smart contracts” which would be software programs that will self-execute contract instructions, lowering the cost and complexity of transfers and transactions.
  2. Faster transactions – transactions, order details, commissions in the form of smart contracts can be used to save all documents, shipping, delivery and possible events which affect financial settlements. Thus, every individual or company involved in the supply chain can make vital data visible to others, which lowers disputes, delays, disorganisation and speeds up the transaction process.
  3. Transparency – blockchains store entire owner history, no matter where the product goes and how many times its bought, which eliminates the frauds and brings transparency to consumer and merchant.

In conclusion, blockchain has ushered a new revolution of digital currency and transaction system where intermediaries like brokers, banker’s lawyers might not be needed at all.

By Jandre de Beer

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

Bathu is the new sneaker brand on SA celebs feet

JOHANNESBURG – Entrepreneur Theo Baloyi says he wants to tell a proudly South African township story through his successful sneaker brand Bathu.
 
Bathu, which means a shoe in township lingo, was established in 2015 and has already gained a huge following from the country’s celebrities, trendy business leaders and the ordinary folk.
 
Baloyi, 28, from Phake near Hammanskraal is the founder and chief executive of Bathu. An accountant by profession, he says their sneakers are unique because of their attractive mesh edition design, which blows air into the wearer’s feet. 
 
The sole and rubber of the sneakers has striking bright colours resembling the happy socks trend.
Theo Baloyi says he wants to tell a proudly South African township story through his successful sneaker brand Bathu. Image: Itumeleng English.
Baloyi says this was deliberate because when they launched the brand on September 6, 2016 with 400 pairs, the season was spring.
 
The sneakers come in various colours including navy blue, grey, pink and light blue, and are priced from R900 up to R1200.
 
“Four hours after launching the brand, our website crashed because of traffic.People were curious about what this brand and what it represents,” says Baloyi, who holds an honours degree in accounting sciences from Unisa.
 
They then partnered with an alcohol brand to manufacture 1000 more pairs, and a further 1600 pairs of the limited edition sneakers available in white.
 
“Three months ago we offloaded a 14-ton truck and we moved to a bigger warehouse with more security and insurance,” he says, adding that last week they placed an order for 10 000 pairs.
Theo Baloyi says he wants to tell a proudly South African township story through his successful sneaker brand Bathu. Image: Itumeleng English.
The company delivers across South Africa and in neighbouring countries including Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia.
 
Baloyi says the celebrities who wear the Bathu brand are not their ambassadors but appreciates their support.
 
“A lot of celebrities love our brand because our story resonates with them so well. They take pride in our story, hence they wear the brand with pride wherever they go. Our brand speaks to the heart,” he says, in between taking calls on his cellphone, attending to client queries. 
 
Celebrities who wear the Bathu brand include Somizi Mhlongo, a reality TV star, choreographer and Idols judge, and his young fiance Mohale Motaung, and multi-millionaire forex trader Andile Mayisela, among many others.
 
Baloyi says he worked for auditing PwC for five years: two years in South Africa and three years in the Middle East, in Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
 
He resigned from the company in January this year to give Bathu his undivided attention.
 
The entrepreneurial bug hit him at the second year of his studies in Unisa, when he started selling door to door in Alexandra township.
 
“I have always had the love for selling and for business and identifying gaps in the market and fulfilling them,” he says.
 
During his travels to the Middle East when he worked as an accountant for PwC, he used to buy himself a lot of sneakers.
 
“They were limited editions and were not available in South Africa, my friends loved them so much.” 
Theo Baloyi says he wants to tell a proudly South African township story through his successful sneaker brand Bathu. Image: Itumeleng English.
He then identified a gap in the sneaker business but elected against importing the sneakers into the country.
 
“I remember this other time when I was going back to Saudi Arabia, I had a 7-hour layover in Dubai. I started a conversation with a guy who owned a retail store at the airport. The brand he was selling at the store resonated with the French,” he recalls.
 
Baloyi says he started asking himself hard questions about what Africans were doing to tell their story in the same way the French entrepreneur was doing.
 
“That’s how I conceptualised the Bathu brand. I worked in the concept for 18 months, doing research development, speaking to factories and being declined 15 times and so on,” he remembers.
 
However, his persistence paid off with 100 pairs manufactured during the proof of concept period.
 
Baloyi is clear about one thing: “We don’t want to be a fashion brand. We want to be a shoe retail brand.” 
 
He says they want to grow their brand as if it were a South African version of shoe companies Aldo or Spitz.
 
“If Spitz can come here and build their brand, why can’t Bathu go to Italy and build a brand that Italians could say is proudly South Africa,” says Baloyi, adding: “Africans it’s our time, let’s build our continent.” 

Source: IOL

Durban filmmakers, get your funding here

DURBAN – The Durban Film Office funding programme will be offering financial support to two Durban film projects worth R250 000 each.

The eThekwini Municipality Durban Film Office’s Development Fund aims to support intermediate and experienced producers based in Durban who need to develop feature fiction or documentary for both local and international markets.
The other programme, the Micro-Budget film programme aims to support local upcoming filmmakers and boost the production of local content in order to encourage the local film industry.
The Micro-Budget film programme offers R150 000 for the production of a feature-length film. The programme is aimed at emerging filmmakers with fiction feature projects and it runs for 12 months with the intent of producing four micro-budget films.
Aspiring filmmakers who are interested in the programme can still apply for the programme. Applications close on June 29th but there are criteria that have to be met in order for you to be eligible for this programme.
This is the criteria:
Development Fund Programme Micro-budget Film Programme
The project mist be capable of being developed
as a feature length film
The project must be capable of being developed
as a feature-length film
The fictional film must be minimum of 90 minutes
or the documentary must be a minimum of 60
minutes.
The fictional film must be minimum of 90 minutes
or the documentary must be a minimum of 60
minutes.
At least 50% of the key creative team must fall
within
the definition of historically disadvantaged individuals
as defined in the South African constitution.
At least 50% of the key creative team must fall within
the definition of historically disadvantaged individuals
as defined in the South African constitution.
CV/company profile which shows that you have experience
as a writer, director, or producer.
Principal photography must be located within the
eThekwini Municipality.
A producer with at least one completed comparative project A project that with a minimum total production budget
of R150 000.
Applicants may submit only one project per funding
cycle.
Previous grant awardees must wait two cycles
before applying for new development funds
For more information contact the Durban Film Office.
Source: IOL

5 Great Home Business Ideas for Retirees

While many people look forward to the lazy days of retirement, many retirees aren’t ready to stop working or they have financial issues that require them to continue to work. Getting another job is an option, but starting a home business allows for greater flexibility and freedom that retirees have earned after a long career.

Here are five home business ideas that allow retirees to capitalize on what they know or love to do to make a part-time or even full-time living from home or where ever they happen to be.

1. Coaching/Consulting

Just because you’re retired, doesn’t mean your knowledge and skills are gone too. Starting a home based coaching or consulting business allows you to profit from your work knowledge and experience. Coaching and consulting can be done completely from home using tools such as online conferencing and Skype. Or you can manage the business side from home and visit your coaching/consulting clients at their location or a local java joint.

Coaching can be done with private individuals, such as life coaching, or professionals, such as developing success strategies or interview skills. Consulting is usually done for businesses, such as improving sales or productivity of a team.

Getting started can be as easy as contacting a former employer and offering to help. You can also use your network to find referrals.

2. Writing/Blogging

People go online for information and entertainment. If you can provide what they’re looking for through a blog, you can make money through a variety of monetization options, such as affiliate marketing. If you have great information or entertaining stories, people will read what you post. Did you retire, sell your home, and buy a boat to follow the sun? People would enjoy reading about your exploits. Are you a retired accountant? People would be interested in hearing your tips on managing money and dealing with taxes.

Are you foodie? You can share your enjoyment and knowledge through food blog. The number of possible blog topics is endless.

Maybe you enjoy writing, but don’t want the hassle of starting and marketing a blog. Many bloggers and online media sources pay for articles. You start a freelance writing business or finding writing markets and jobs in a variety of places including freelance job sites, writing resources, and social media.

Many people enter retirement ready to write the great American novel, or share their life story through a memoir. While the traditional publishing route continues to be a challenge to break into, self-publishing is fast and affordable, and can be a profitable way to get your book to the masses.

3. Service Based Business

Nearly any skill you have can be turned into a home business. Selling those skills through a service-based home business is one of the fastest and least expensive ways to start making money at home. Any tasks that other individuals or businesses will pay to have done can be turned into a business including virtual support, bookkeeping, writing, landscaping, handyman, pet care and more.

Similar to coaching or consulting, you can contact your former employer to offer your services. Or you access your network to find potential clients.

4. Turn a Hobby into a business

Maybe you’re tired of the tasks you did at your job and don’t want to turn it into a business. Luckily, home businesses can be developed from hobbies, as well. Do you enjoy gardening? Start a gardening business or create how-to garden information products (i.e. ebooks, video tutorials) and sell them. Do you enjoy baking? Start a home based cookie business. Do you like to take photographs? Start a home based photography business or sell your pictures online.

Nearly any hobby can be turned into a potential business. Does your hobby create a product or service you can sell, or maybe you can teach others how to do the hobby either through live courses (online or off) or through an information product, such as a book or email course.

5. Ebay/Amazon/Etsy

After years of working and raising a family, you probably have a lot of stuff around the house. You can profit from your used and unwanted items by selling them on eBay or Craigslist. If you find items that sell well, you can find sources of them at flea markets, garage sales, and thrift shops to start your own eBay store.

Or, Amazon also offers the ability to sell used items. It even offers a service, Fulfillment by Amazon, whereby you can ship all your listed items to Amazon, and it will take care of shipping them to your customers.

If you enjoy making home made goods and crafts, you can sell your items on Etsy as well as at local flea or farmers markets, trade shows and bazaars. You can also sell vintage items over twenty years old on Etsy.

Ebay, Amazon and Etsy aren’t your only resources for selling items online. There are many places you can sell your electronics, clothing, art work, books, jewelry and more online.

You don’t need to be idle during retirement. You can take your life and job experiences and turn them into a source of income. And because you’re the boss, you can set the price and the rules.

Source: The Balance Small Business

4 career tips from the CEO of Cell C

  • Cell C CEO Jose dos Santos has this advice he would give to his young self: learn, grow and never give up.
  • He also believes ambitious young South Africans shouldn’t use social media to form opinions, especially not of themselves.

Business Insider SA caught up with Cell C’s CEO Jose Dos Santos for advice that he’d give his younger self.

“If I could give my younger self some advice starting out, it would boil down to three things: learn, grow and never give up.

“Education is exceptionally valuable, but don’t get too hung up on the piece of paper that you would get from a degree. Not everyone will have the opportunity or the means to receive a tertiary education; but if you can’t you should do everything you can to self-educate.”

These are some of his tips for ambitious young South Africans:

1. Read

“Read books that will expand your mind, like biographies, and for today’s youth, books on the digital economy. In the digital world, there is a wealth of information for young people to access that will help them learn.

“I enjoy reading biographies as well as business and investment books. One I recently finished and really enjoyed was called Predictably Irrational by Professor Dan Ariely.”
From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, Ariely explains how to break through these systematic patterns of thought to make better decisions. (Photo: Milim Kim)

2. Surround yourself with older, wiser or smarter people

“Listen to them, ask them questions and adapt and apply their advice to your own circumstances. When you are a young person, you feel invincible – it’s only when you are older that you learn that there are people who have walked a similar path to you and will have valuable lessons to learn from.”

3. Don’t let other people’s opinion of you guide your choices

In today’s world, social media can be detrimental in this regard.

“Social media must never be the primary platform for interaction with others. Rather spend time in each other’s company, because being face to face with someone provides insight into the human spirit that sitting behind a PC or mobile phone will not do.”

4. Don’t give up

Success comes from never giving up and always following your dreams. And remember, success is not measured in money, but in the wisdom you are willing to share, the kindness you have to offer and the moral support you are willing to provide to those around you. Success should be measured in the upliftment of others, Dos Santos says.

Source: Business Insider

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