Minister Lindiwe Zulu Pleased With Reforms And Funding Of SMEs

Posted on October 26th, 2017
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Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, was pleased by reforms announced by finance minister Malusi Gigaba when he tabled his maiden Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament on Wednesday.

In the MTBPSGigaba said that government was setting up an R1.5 billion Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) fund which will soon be operational, and a Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative to bring close to one million young South Africans into internship over the next three years.

Zulu said she was pleased by these announcements because SMEs were finally being recognised.

“I have worked very hard to get where I am right now in as far as fighting for attention to small and medium enterprises. I am scaling the support for SMEs. You heard how many times the minister of finance kept on referring to SMEs, to innovators, and to young, black and women-owned enterprises” Zulu said.

“But let us not forget the fact that this budget is about addressing the challenges that face black people. For me, the majority of black people who are out there who have not yet seen themselves in the mainstream economy of the country, it speaks to those people that I serve.”

Zulu also said that though she was concerned that her ministry’s budget had been cut to finance other departments, South Africa’s weak economic growth was not unique to the country as the world is still recovering from the international financial crisis.

South Africa slashed its projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for 2017 by almost half, from 1.3% forecast in the February budget to 0.7%, as a result of continued decline in business and consumer confidence that has gathered pace since 2014. (via African News Agency)

APO Group And Africa Tech Now Join ForcesTo Strengthen Africa’s Visibility As The Next Digital And Innovation Hub

The APO Group, and the Africa Tech Now organizers, International Boost, yesterday announced the signing of a strategic partnership aimed at giving large-scale visibility to the rising stars of African tech and delegations participating in Consumers Electronic Show – CES 2018.

From January 9-12, over 170,000 technology aficionados, private and public-sector stakeholders, including start-ups, key tech influencers, industry leaders and government officials from every corner of the world will converge at the technology and innovation mecca in Las Vegas to discover the latest innovations and connect with high-level investors, strategic partners and potential buyers.

For the first time, the African tech world will take centre stage at the four-day event courtesy of Africa Tech Now. Unique in this kind, this Africa-centric innovation expo will shed light on the continent’s accelerator programmes and start-up communities. Throughout the event, local techies will be given the opportunity to present their Africa-oriented products and services to a global audience and showcase their creative ideas aimed at fuelling development and growth.

“There are more than 300 innovation and tech hotspots in Africa and a huge reservoir of tech-savvy talents but the lack of market awareness limits their ability to take off. When we thought up Africa Tech Now, we wanted to create a unique environment conducive to the promotion of local champions and exchanges to facilitate business development” said Christian Pineau, CEO of International Boost.

As part of the partnership between International Boost and APO Group, the consulting firm will act as a loudspeaker, using its media relations expertise to provide greater international exposure to Africa’s digital sector and local tech entrepreneurs.

“Although 77 African start-ups raised an impressive $366.8m in investment last year, there is still a plethora of future ‘Steve Jobs’ and ‘Mark Zuckerberg’ looking for financial support to see their dream come true. It gives us pride to be part of the Africa Tech Now initiative; to actively contribute to propelling young driven entrepreneurs to stardom. With International Boost, we share the same vision of bringing to the fore Africa’s Innovation Revolution. As the media relations expert in Africa, it is our duty to convey the information and allow African delegations to increase their presence on the international stage” said Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO of APO Group.

Two Southern African Startups Chosen For HiiL’s Justice Entrepreneurship School

The overall winner of the Boostcamp event was Zimbabwe’s Road Rules, presented by Tawanda Chikosi. Road Rules aims to educate drivers about the laws governing Zimbabwe’s highways, and to equip Zimbabweans with traffic laws and regulations to assist them in resisting bribes.

Road Rules wins a EUR5000 cash prize, and a place at HiiL’s Justice Entrepreneur School (JES) in The Hague this December. The JES is a specialist business accelerator designed to aid justice innovations.

Joining Chikosi at the JES will be Samantha N. Ngcolomba of South Africa’s Lady Liberty. Lady Liberty has designed and built a mobile legal office which enables lawyers to visit remote areas and offer assistance around family law issues.

HiiL also plans to offer extra financial and logistic support for several regional semi-finalists who didn’t make it through the JES.

“We’ve been highly impressed with the quality of justice innovations that have come out of the Southern Africa region over the last year,” says Head of the HiiL Justice Accelerator, Wilfried de Wever, “Road Rules and Lady Liberty are two of the strongest startups we’ve seen globally. All of our semi-finalists are exceptional, however, and we hope to be able to increase our activity in the area to provide more entrepreneurs with more support and the tools they need to bring justice to all in the future.”

Road Rules and Lady Liberty were two of seven startups from South Africa and Zimbabwe who presented their innovations to a panel of judges at the Innovating Justice Boostcamp on 13 October, in front of an audience including South Africa’s Deputy Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development, Hon Mr John Jeffery MP and Dutch Ambassador to South Africa Marisa Gerards.

The judges were selected to represent the breadth of the legal and entrepreneurial challenges that define justice innovation, and HiiL would like to express its appreciation to Lesley Williams of Impact Hub and The Tshimologong Precinct, Daren Mudaly of Pepper Potts and Nicci Stewart of The Why Effect for their insights and decisions.

The 2017 Innovating Justice challenge saw a record 601 innovations submitted from 65 different countries. Entries for the 2018 challenge will open in March next year.