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Social Enterprise Masterclass Challenges Delegates to Build Sustainable Organisations

The concept of social enterprise has gone mainstream over the past few years, reflecting a desire for new ways to create economic value in a manner that delivers measurable social impact. This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week kicked off on 10 November at the continent’s largest start-up campus, 22 on Sloane in Bryanston. On Wednesday 15 November, the venue hosted masterclasses on various aspects of entrepreneurship such as social entrepreneurship, funding strategies for small business, purpose-driven enterprise, as well as inclusive growth.

The first session, Social Enterprise and Impact Investment, kicked off with Mbali Zamisa, enterprise Programme Coordinator of the South African Breweries Foundation talking about various SAB Foundation enterprises that seek to fund various small businesses. These include the Tholana Enterprise, which seeks to empower marginalised groups such as women, youth and rural business.

The room comprised mostly of determined and engaged entrepreneurs whose business’ life span ranged from one to five years old. Rudzani Mulaudzi from Grades Match and Nneile Nkholise from Likoebe Innovation Consultants spoke about impact investment and measurement.

No let-down was The Disruptors author Kerryn Krige’s talk on the complexities and contradictions of social entrepreneurship and especially what it really is. Her talk featured many salient questions and statements that served as food for thought for entrepreneurs:

  • How am I going build stability in this organization?
  • Legitimacy and authenticity are inextricably linked
  • Funding social value in a sustainable way
  • Social enterprise blends income methods which enables you to have control over the types of income you bring in
  • It’s not about how much money you get!

 

Other important take-aways were about were remembering that ‘‘your story is more important than your numbers but use numbers to back up your stories (“finance people aren’t as stupid as they look!”), and the importance of doing homework on your investor, needing your investor to offer more than just money, and enhancing your own ‘‘investability’’.

The Future of Sustainable Job Creation talk with Managing Director Zanele Luvuno of Transcend Talent Management explored the ways in which policy creation can aid job creation and exposed challenges with implementing BEE legislation. The objective was to invite professionals to see beyond corporate life and tap into research and business development facilities to pursue small business development.

The last session on Integrating the Township and Informal economy by Sifiso Moyo was a dialogical sitting that had all delegates debating on the ways in which the township could benefit more from entrepreneurial ventures. Moyo asked critical questions that involved historical facts, relevant statistics and real-life case studies to observe and analyse successes and failures of a few entrepreneurial ventures in the township. The theme of the Township Renaissance was an indispensable topic that pushed the entrepreneurs, many who are from the township, to shift mentality and think of innovative ways of serving their communities with the intention of creating a strong township eco-system in which the rand would circulate numerous times and not only once in a context where R2.2 billion rand is generated out of township economy annually. This challenge presented the opportunity for township entrepreneurs to become real and legitimate competitors with big competitors and franchises.

Global Entrepreneurship Week endeavours to host more events in which more entrepreneurs will actively and consciously engage with like-minded peers who have succeeded such as Vusi Thembekwayo, who graced this week’s first event. The Masterclasses were informative, thought-provoking, and mostly motivating to the passionate and driven young youth who came to learn from the best in the business.

Written by: Gabaza Tiba (Makhaya Advisory)

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entrepreneurship Featured finance funding innovation insights

Agricultural data pioneer Gro Intelligence receives financing boost

Gro Intelligence, the New York and Nairobi-based agricultural data analytics business used by investment professionals, major corporations, governments and international organizations around the world, has raised a round of financing led by TPG Growth, the middle market and growth equity platform of alternative asset firm TPG. TPG Growth was joined by Data Collective, and strategic family offices.

Founded in 2014, Gro Intelligence has built one of the world’s most sophisticated products dedicated to search and predictive analytics in agriculture. Gro collects and synthesizes hundreds of trillions of data points from disparate and often previously unavailable sources, providing users unique, comprehensive, and real-time support for mission critical decision-making and operations. Beyond aggregating and transforming data, Gro has developed new analytical tools, algorithms, and predictive models, marrying domain expertise with machine learning to allow users unprecedented current and future insights into the global food and agriculture industry.

“Gro Intelligence is reimagining how data can be used in global agriculture,” said Sara Menker, CEO and Founder of Gro Intelligence. “Agricultural data is complex and messy, historically requiring teams of analysts and huge amounts of time to sort and process. Our product solves this problem and simultaneously opens up a level of analysis previously unavailable to entire sections of the agriculture supply chain. Gro offers unparalleled insights and predictive analytics for our customers. We want to be a leader in the $5 trillion global agricultural industry.”

“TPG Growth has a track record around the world of identifying and building disruptive, market-leading companies,” said Yemi Lalude, Managing Partner, TPG Africa. “Gro Intelligence is transforming how data is used across the agricultural sector and is a natural partner for TPG Growth, given our experience with companies specializing in data, analytics and machine learning. This deal highlights the rich opportunities that exist to invest in early-stage technology companies that have a presence in Africa, but can also operate successfully on a global level.”

The system developed by Gro Intelligence responds to a shortfall of reliable agricultural data globally. Access to accurate, well structured, and current data has the potential to increase agricultural productivity and eliminate inefficiencies. The need for reliable data is only set to increase. In the next decade alone, the world needs to produce an estimated 214 trillion additional calories to feed a total population of 8.3 billion, according to the United Nations.

TPG Growth’s investment was sourced through its strategic relationship with EchoVC, the seed and early-stage venture capital fund that targets early to growth stage deals in the technology sector in sub-Saharan Africa. This is the second investment made pursuant to this relationship this year, following the investment into Frontier Car Group in February 2017.

Learn more about Gro Intelligence: https://gro-intelligence.com/blog/gro-intelligence-fundraising-announcement

Author: Portland Communications

Image Source: https://gro-intelligence.com/team

 

 

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achievement competition creative economy economic development education enterprise development entrepreneurship Events Featured finance funding Notices Opportunities small business

Polishing your business pitch

Engen Petroleum and Nedbank have partnered with Raizcorp to bring the ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme to cities and towns across South Africa, for the eighth time. The programme helps to educate and grow entrepreneurs.  It teaches entrepreneurs how to polish their business pitch in order to obtain funding.

What type of Pitcher are you?

 

Pitching your business is an essential skill to master in order to grow your business. And, if you want to grow your business, you must be able to pitch it successfully. The way you say things is as important as what you actually say – and could mean the difference between attaining the investment needed – or being turned away. No matter the result, every opportunity to pitch is an opportunity to get better!

 

Now in their eighth year of listening to entrepreneurial pitches, ENGEN Pitch & Polish, in association with Engen Petroleum, Nedbank and Raizcorp, have identified six distinct pitching types. Which one are you?

 

The first three types fall into the category of ‘content pitchers’. These types are either getting it wrong – or right – from a content point of view.

 

The Investor-Ready Pitcher

  • You are the ideal pitcher! Your business case is clear with a defined product or service, which is ready to be taken to customers.
  • You have done your market research and can prove that people want what you are offering.
  • Your sums add up and you can demonstrate a clear Return on Investment (ROI).

 

The Salesman

  • Your pitch is purely sales-focused, with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
  • Investors want to see the real you and understand your business – they are far more interested in you, than your product or service.
  • Be real and be honest.

 

The Technician

  • Technicians only want to speak about the finer details of their product or service. They use too much jargon and technical terminology. The result is that the investors’ attention is lost as they stop listening.
  • Investors need the whole picture to make the ultimate decision.
  • Focus your pitch on how your business is going to make money.

 

The next three types fall into the category of ‘style pitchers’. These types are, unfortunately, getting it wrong from a style point of view! When you are confident in what you are saying, you will come across as authentic, credible and authoritative in your field.

 

The Floor-Gazing Dancer

  • These pitchers are so nervous they can’t look the investor in the eye. Instead, they stare at the floor and tend to move from side to side.
  • This pitch is hard work for an investor as the movement is dizzying and lack of eye-contact alienating.
  • Resolve to make a concerted effort to stand straight and look people in the eyes.

 

The Mumbler

  • The mumbler speaks incoherently and softly.
  • If investors cannot hear your pitch, they aren’t going to invest in your business.
  • Practice is key to gaining confidence in yourself and what you are saying. Record your pitch and listen to yourself. Become aware of your fillers and replace them with pauses.

 

The Racing Driver

  • You speak so fast that it is difficult to grasp your business offering and model.
  • This can intrigue an investor if spoken with confidence. However, it often leads to an ineffective pitch.
  • Refine your pitch. Shorten it and select places to breathe and connect with the investors. Plan your pauses. Enunciate clearly.

 

No matter the content, or style, of your pitch, a good pitch tells a story and a good story needs refining and rehearsal. As Alan Shannon, head of Nedbank Relationship Banking Sales, says “anything that distracts the audience from your message makes the message less effective.” To learn how to hook your audience, by creating your best business pitch, come to the ENGEN Pitch & Polish workshop and competition.

Author: Engen Pitch and Polish

 

For a list of this year’s workshops, and to experience the magic of ENGEN Pitch & Polish for yourself, visit www.pitchandpolish.com.

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finance peer-to-peer social enterprise

Adventures in peer to peer microlending

I have been fascinated with Kiva for quite some time. It’s a quite an audacious idea – it started as a platform for ordinary citizens in the US to extend loans to micro-entrepreneurs across the developing world. Imagine the effort involved in finding suitable entrepreneurs to finance across the developing world, developing a payment mechanism to transfer funds to them, creating systems to avoid fraud, running a marketing campaign to find development oriented lenders, applying the legal finesse to deal with financial regulation…much respect to the Kiva team.

So the other day I tried to see if I, based in South Africa, could support an entrepreneur from another African country using this platform. The process was mind-blowingly simple. It took about ten minutes for me to sign on to the system and to make a US$25 loan to a trader in South Sudan. Being able to do something like this is a reminder that we are living through one hell of a revolution – this type of global connectivity has never existed before. The opportunities to reach out and effect change in the world are immense.
The micro-entrepreneur in question required a US$450 loan and it became fully funded on the day I made my contribution. The total amount will be used to fund clothing inventory, which the lady will then on-sell in her business. The term is seven months and Kiva’s field partner in South Sudan, BRAC, will collect repayments from the entrepreneur and report on progress on the Kiva site. I will post some updates on how the loan is doing. 

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finance

Rich aunties and friends with benefits

Rich aunties and friends with benefits that they can share – that seems to be what you need if you seek to finance a business in the informal sector in South Africa. In its comprehensive survey of businesses that are not registered for value-added tax (and can thus be taken to be informal), STATS SA found that the overwhelming majority of informal businesses do not source any external financing.
It was estimated that there are about 1.1m individuals operating informal business in South Africa – 64.9% of whom needed to borrow money to start operations. Of those who needed money to start operations, 74.4% used their own money.
Of the quarter of businesses that used external money, the majority received their financing from friends and relatives. Over 80% of businesses that receive financing cite their source as friends and family. Banks finance just 8% of these businesses – it is notable that this is double the percentage that banks financed in 2001. Microfinance institutions (NGOs and credit societies combined) have penetrated this market to the same extent as commercial banks.
There are at least two reasons why this statistic should not be cause for alarm. Firstly, even in the ultra-sophisticated world of tech start-ups in Silicon Valley and other such entrepreneurial places, it is almost taken as a rule that the first round of financing for a new venture will come from friends and family. These are the people you need to convince of your concept in its initial stages. And as Tamara Mellon, the co-founder of Jimmy Choo, confirmed in an interview on Bloomberg TV, there is nothing that keeps someone on their toes as the prospect of losing their family’s money.
Once the concept has been proven, an entrepreneur can then hope to receive funding from angel investors, who are normally wealthy private investors with an appetite for risk and oftentimes a desire to mentor a budding business owner. And as the business takes off, venture capitalists, banks and other commercial funders come to the party. Eventually, listing on the stock exchange might represent a way to access large scale funding from the general public and institutional investors such as pension funds; and also an opportunity for early investors to sell their stakes and realise the value of their investments.
But secondly, and on a less optimistic note, the informal businesses that were the subject of the STATS SA survey are likely to be very small, survivalist businesses. These are not, for the most part, businesses that were formed to pursue profitable market opportunities; rather they came about because the founders simply could not find any other alternative for making a livelihood. It is not surprising that these businesses cannot raise external finance. The outside financier would simply not recover their investment.
Of course, amongst these informal businesses there must lie some gems that have the potential of growing and scaling up. In an environment where there is almost no source of meso-financing (that gap between microfinance and corporate finance) and where commercial lenders prefer to finance consumption or well-established enterprises, these figures should be a cause of concern. In instances where small, informal businesses are ready to make the leap from the garage to the mainstream economy, the lack of enterprise development support and financing in this country stifles that move and so we remain with untapped opportunities and high unemployment rates.