Today’s top entrepreneurship and business stories (27 June)

Today's top entrepreneurship and business stories (27 June)
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Today's top entrepreneurship and business stories (27 June)MultiChoice Media Innovation Challenge winners scoop R100 000

Winners of the MultiChoice Media Innovation Challenge were announced at an event held at the MWEB Head Office in Cape Town on 18 May 2016.

The challenge, which forms part of the LaunchLab’s Breakthrough Innovation Platform, officially kicked off with a workshop on 3 March 2016 at the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (or AFDA), where members of the MultiChoice team gave an overview of the business, trends and opportunities – and the challenges − in the media industry to inspire the LaunchLab community to come up with breakthrough ideas

Over the last four months, the LaunchLab, a network of Stellenbosch University campus-based business incubators, in partnership with MultiChoice, South Africa’s leading video entertainment company, ran an entrepreneurial challenge across its partner university campuses in the Western Cape to unleash innovation in media.

“We were very pleased with the quality of pitches at the final event. We wanted to access new ideas for analysing consumer behaviour data and video consumption trends, to find new and innovative ways of creating content and new ways of delivering entertainment. The final pitches delivered on our expectations,” says Charmaine Smith, GM Strategy and Business Development at MultiChoice.

The three final winners each wins seed funding and incubation support from the LaunchLab for the next 12 months to be used to launch and grow their business ideas. MultiChoice will be monitoring the development of these business ideas carefully during this time to gauge their potential and see how they can add value to MultiChoice.

“LaunchLab’s Breakthrough Innovation Platform is ideal for established businesses that want to access new breakthrough ideas from outside their own businesses to tap into new markets and future revenue streams,” says Philip Marais, LaunchLab’s CEO. “External ecosystems like the LaunchLab are far better equipped to test new ideas quickly and at a low cost. It’s better for established businesses to stick with their proven business models while the LaunchLab helps them to find new business models − although they still remain part of the process, helping to judge the progress of the business ideas and to mentor the entrepreneurs through the LaunchLab Lift-Off Programme process,” Philip added.

The MultiChoice Media Innovation Challenge winners, who will be taken up in the LaunchLab Lift-Off Programme, are as follows:

First place:
NumberBoost (R50 000): A spatial-data science tool for demographic analyses and targeting.
Second Place:
Mediatisers (R30 000): A virtual marketing space for media used in advertising.
Third Place:
Eightstreet Stories (R20 000): A mini-series production house making short stories for exclusive mobile platform consumption.

Government sector tops cyber attacks list in East Africa

Contrary to the perception that cyber breaches are a problem unique to the large multinational companies based in developed markets, East African organisations are fast becoming a target for attacks with local subsidiaries particularly attractive as the ‘cyber’ route into these multinationals.

In East Africa, governments are the top target sector for cyber attacks (33%). Telecommunications (22%) and financial services (17%) follow in close succession.

According to Control Risks‘ cyber threat intelligence team:
•    Attacks are increasing rapidly and in severity: Globally there has been a 42% increase in the number of targeted attacks reported between 2015 and Q1-Q2 2016
•    For East Africa, Advanced Persistent Threat and Criminal Targeted Attacks are the most impactful cyber attack techniques in 2016
•    In Kenya alone, the estimated costs for the country due to cyber crime costs sums up to 2 billion Kenyan shillings ($23m) +
•    The Kenyan Government has made great strides with the formation of Kenya National Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre (KE_CIRT/CC) launched in 2012 and the development of the national cyber security strategy in 2014, it is, however, key for the public and private sector organisations to interpret what the policies mean for them; essentially adopt a “paper to practice” model for their organisation
Patrick Matu, Compliance, Forensics and Cyber expert for East Africa says, “Despite a growing number of media headlines about US or EU based companies falling victim to a cyber breach, the lack of obligation in many emerging markets to report on incidents is creating a false illusion that businesses operating in these markets are not subject to cyber attacks. In fact many organisations with bases in these emerging markets are prime targets and seen as the ‘weak underbelly’ when it comes to an organisation’s cyber security.”
Matu continues, “Cyber security still isn’t given enough priority by business leaders in the region as it’s often seen as an isolated IT problem and not a business issue. It’s important that cyber security is demystified at that senior level. Rather than being perceived as this elusive dark art, cyber security needs to be incorporated into the whole business and not left isolated with the IT team. As the world of cyber criminality continues to evolve, it’s important that businesses continually review their IT security measures. This should include an on-going review of the cyber threat landscape to understand what kinds of threats your business might face and adjusting your security measures accordingly – not forgetting making sure all employees are aware of the potential threats and how to respond.”

Tough economic times not death sentence for SMEs
The ailing South African economy, exasperated by rising government debt and the weakening rand, poses a unique set of challenges for small and upcoming businesses. We have also seen in the last few years the number of South Africans interested in starting a business has halved since 2010. However, trying economic conditions don’t necessarily mean a death sentence for smaller companies.

This is according to Gerrie van Biljon, Executive Director at Business Partners Limited, who says that by employing simple strategies, such as better expense and cash flow management, customer centricity and the streamlining of processes, not only can smaller businesses survive during these tough economic times, but they can thrive.

“Having recently revised its GDP down to 0.4% from 0.6% for quarter 4 of 2015, economic growth in South Africa has slowed down, and the inflation rate and unemployment figures remain ominously high. While this kind of economic climate is challenging for businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), there are many measures that entrepreneurs can implement in order to survive these tough times,” he says.

First and foremost, van Biljon says that small businesses should review all of their processes and operations to ensure that they are achieving maximum efficiency. While expense management is essential for survival, he does warn that aggressive cuts can be dangerous for an SME.

“Entrepreneurs need to look at the situation strategically and, rather than just cut expenses, ask themselves how the process by which their service or product is produced can be streamlined. The last thing a growing business should consider doing is shirking on quality, which links directly to customer satisfaction.”

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