Today’s top entrepreneurship and business stories (18 February)

Today's top entrepreneurship and business stories (18 February)

Today's top entrepreneurship and business stories (18 February)Private equity continues to perform well
According to the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA), private equity in Southern Africa experienced steady deal flow and exit activity in 2015 and, with a number of private equity houses having announced successful fundraising programmes, the industry is well positioned to back new deals in the coming years

SAVCA CEO Erika van der Merwe, says that assets under management in the industry have continued to expand, owing to new capital inflows and thanks to returns generated within private equity portfolios.

“The latest performance figures for the industry confirm that investors into South African private equity funds continue to enjoy double-digit rand-based returns which over the long term compare favourably with yields from listed markets,” says Van der Merwe.

According to SAVCA, a significant portion of capital raised by private equity fund managers in Southern Africa originates from foreign investors, pointing to sustained interest in private equity in the region.

“A thirty-year industry track record supports private equity fund managers’ appeal amongst institutional investors in North America, Europe and the Middle East and helps bring foreign capital into the local economy”, says Van der Merwe.

Looking at private equity in 2016 and beyond, Van der Merwe says she expects the private equity industry in Southern Africa to remain buoyant during 2016, with managers likely to make regular announcements of acquisitions and asset realisations.

Webafrica launches e-commerce with its DIY website builder
​Webafrica recently added e-commerce to its DIY Website Builder, enabling small business owners to sell their products and services online. The ISP has partnered with PayFast, a South African payment gateway, to implement an easy-to-use e-commerce integration tool.

“We are excited about how this partnership and the simple approach of the builder will further enable business owners to enter the rapidly growing e-commerce market in South Africa,” says Roslyn Lavery, business development manager at PayFast.

Customers using Webafrica’s DIY website builder can enable e-commerce by dragging the e-commerce widget to their website, setting up their products, and then enabling and registering with PayFast.

New research shows SMEs that are tech savvy do better than those that aren’t
Small and midsized enterprises (SMEs) that have embraced digital technology show faster growth than companies that have not. This is according to a new study released today by SAP that analysed data from 3210 respondents in 11 countries who work at a company with between 10 and 999 employees.

The study, conducted by IT research firm IDC, indicates strongly that SMEs around the world understand and benefit from the value of analytics, collaborative and customer relationship management (CRM) software to help them run simple and compete with larger enterprises.

One of the study’s most significant findings about the adoption rate and benefits SMEs are experiencing from digital technologies is that 39% of SMEs in all regions agree that “active participation in the digital economy will be essential to our company’s survival in the next three to five years.”

The research also found that SMEs that grew revenue 10% or more in the last year, say they are “well underway in applying technology to connect people, devices and businesses” – representing more than one-third of all SMEs, and more than 45 percent of SMEs with between 500 and 999 employees in the survey.

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