1GIANTleap Grand Finale Reveals South Africa’s Next Tech Hero

Updated on 22 August 2017

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Today's Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (22 August)

Cape Town based iSpani, a brand activation agency focused on township communities, were announced the winners of the 1GIANTleap finale and will have the opportunity to travel to Silicon Valley in San Francisco, USA, to meet tech unicorns, multi-nationals and investors.

The judging panel was made up of entrepreneurs, specialists and investors in the tech space, Llew Claasen (Partner at Newtown Partners), Stephen Newton (President at Illuminate-Africa), Matthew Barclay (MD at Meltwater Africa), Clive Butkow (CEO at Kalon Venture Partners) and Professor Barry Dwolatzky (Founder at Tshimologong).

Twenty-three-year-old final year UCT accounting student Patrick Machekera from iSpani echoed his elated business partners, 22-year-old Prince Nwadeyi of Queenstown (BCom Economics and Marketing student at UCT) and Ntandoyenkosi Shezi, 22, (BSc Finance, from Port Shepstone KZN), when he said: “I feel so happy, but our success is not certain yet, this is where the hard work begins!”

Machekera and team have huge ambitions fuelled by the prize they won.

Machekera describes iSpani as “A decentralized marketing and sales platform that connects brands seeking to enter unreached, informal and underserved markets with an on-demand sales force that represents and assists them to expand their reach within the respective community in which the brand activator lives.

“Our business focuses on removing the extractive relationship that exists between consumers and brands by facilitating partnerships that do more than just create employment but rather enrich communities, which then creates brand loyalty as a result,” says Shezi.

Labour Department Acts Against 6 Companies Over Employment Equity

The Department of Labour on Monday said it was taking six companies to court over breaches of employment equity.

The department’s Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) branch is taking the companies to court for prosecution for failure to prepare employment equity plans as per the provisions of s20 (1) of the (EEA).

In addition, the department alleges that Gooderson; Clientele Legal; Clientele Life; Mazor AluminiumMazor Steel; and Spanjaard Limited reported to the director-general on “plans that do not exist which amounts to misrepresentation”.

Chief Director Statutory and Advocacy Services Advocate Fikiswa Mncanca said the companies will be taken to the Labour Court for prosecution in relation to the employment equity breaches and the matter of “misrepresentation” will be heard at a magistrate court.

She said letters of intention to prosecute have been sent to affected companies.

Mncanca said between 14 and 18 August 12 companies were scheduled for visits. However, only six were visited and they were found not to be complying with the provisions of the EE Act.

She said the companies JSE Limited; Safic Pty Ltd; Phumelela Gaming; Cullinan Holdings; Reubex Pty Ltd and EOH were issued with recommendations and given 60 days to comply to contraventions.

The department will also inspect 72 JSE securities-listed companies to ensure compliance with employment equity. The National Director-General Review team started with the inspections in July and these will wrap up in December. (via African News Agency)

Vodacom To Refund Customers After Disappearing Data Crisis

Vodacom on Tuesday said it was refunding airtime and data to customers whose data mysteriously disappeared.

The largest mobile operator in South Africa trended on social media on Monday evening with subscribers complaining that their data and airtime was disappearing.

Responding to the complaints on Monday night Vodacom apologised and said technicians were working to resolve the problem. The mobile operator said it was also aware customers were unable to use purchased bundles and were getting depletion notifications.

“We are currently reimbursing customers affected by last night’s billing issues and will ensure that all related out-of-bundle charges are refunded and depleted bundles are reinstated. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience,” Vodacom said in a terse statement on Tuesday.

However, the phenomenon of disappearing and very high costs of data have prompted the Competition Commission to launch an Inquiry.

Last week, the commission published the terms of reference of the inquiry and called for submissions. The inquiry will assess, among others, the market structure, the general adequacy and impact of the current regulatory regime, and costs faced and profits earned by fixed and mobile network operators.

The inquiry is expected to complete its work by 31 August. (via African News Agency)

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