Minister Zulu Launches Centre of Entrepreneurship To Empower Free State Youth

Updated on 24 April 2017

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Today's Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (24 April)

Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu on Friday, 21 April 2017, launched the Centre for Entrepreneurship in Welkom, Free State, saying such a centre will promote entrepreneurship as a career of choice.

The centres is the ninth such hub in the country. The launch of the centre forms part of the sixth National Imbizo Focus Week themed ‘Together we move South Africa forward: Our future – make it work’.

The Minister said given South Africa’s past, the majority of black people were left out of the mainstream economy. Government now firmly aims to support those who want to start their own businesses.

“This is a platform where they are being empowered in the understanding of what it is to be an entrepreneur,” Minister Zulu said of the centre located at Goldfields Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College.

The Minister acknowledged that not everyone can go to university and government felt it important to support TVET colleges to introduce entrepreneurship studies.

The Centre of Entrepreneurship will provide the appropriate support to young people at the early stages of the entrepreneurial journey, including training on entrepreneurship, mentorship and networking. The centre will lend a hand to those who have completed their matric and have met all the criteria required by a TVET college.

Call For Entries For Startupbootcamp Cape Town

Startupbootcamp (SBC) will be launching its new accelerator programme in Cape Town. Startups from around the world are invited to apply now to be part of the intense three-month programme.

This global industry-focused accelerator group has 18 programmes across 13 countries and has seen value in now setting up a footprint in Africa.

The call for applications is focused on sourcing scalable technology solutions applicable to diversified financial services and related industries. The aim is to grow disruptive startups and connect them with dynamic corporates, providing both with an opportunity to collaborate and build the African tech ecosystem.

The launch of this first Startupbootcamp Cape Town programme in Africa comes after a trend analysis that found 161 applications to the global programme to have originated from African teams in 2016.

Additionally, there were five South African FastTracks in 2015 and three in 2016. To date, Startupbootcamp has invested in eight teams from Africa in total, three of which are in the current InsurTech cohort.

With this programme, the organisation brings together top startups from around the world, a mentor network of renowned industry experts and entrepreneurs, and major players in banking, insurance, consultancy, leasing and technology as founding partners.

From a pool of hundreds of applications, Startupbootcamp Cape Town will select the 10 most promising teams, and will provide each team with €15,000, 100+ highly engaged mentors from the fintechinsurtech and regtech industries, free office space, a convertible note, access to funding, and a network of industry partners, investors, and venture capital firms. The programme will kick off in September 2017. (via Bizcommunity)

African Utility Week Set To Look At Ways To Make Electricity More Affordable

The 17th African Utility Week taking place in May will see electricity powerhouses on the continent battling to become profitable pay attention to the World Bank’s insights on how to achieve this while making services affordable for the poor.

The World Bank indicated that according to a study they undertook which looked at the financial statements and power tariffs of electricity utilities in more than 40 Sub-Saharan African countries, cost reductions rather than tariff increases could be the best step towards financial viability. The study also looked at spending data in 22 countries through household surveys.

World Bank Energy and Extractive Global Practice director, Lucio Monari, said in a press statement that the results from their raw data collection showed that it was important to look at the financial health of electricity utilities to ensure universal access to the electricity grid.

Monari would address delegates at the Utility CEO Forum during African Utility Week and present results of the World Bank’s study, “Making Power Affordable for Africa and Viable for Its Utilities.

He said the data showed that less than half of these utilities covered operating expenditures and some countries lost over US$0.25 per kWh that was sold.

Monari added: “It remains surprisingly difficult to get basic bread-and-butter data such as tariff schedules, operational performance data, and financial statements.”

South Africa, he pointed out, “has the most developed and complex electricity sector in Sub-Saharan Africa and that its installed capacity alone is equivalent to the rest of the continent.”

He pointed out that the country’s main power utility, Eskom, “seemed to be one of the best performing utilities in the region with regards to technical and non-technical losses. However, the report identified low tariff levels as a major issue”.

Monari said that as Eskom started to move away from its ageing coal plants to modernised plants, it would most likely increase its prices so as to cover the investment costs for its capacity rehabilitation and expansion. This would be important in preventing the utility from becoming a fiscal burden to the government.

Monari said what electricity utilities could do to reduce costs were to look at becoming more financial viable through improved operational efficiency; make the initial electricity connection affordable to increase access to electricity; increase tariffs in countries where they were needed; install individual meters in poor households which would help utilities to better target cross-subsidies and install prepaid meters.

He said that implementing some or all of these recommendations could “help to make Africa’s power sector financially sustainable and advance the goal of universal access to electricity.”

The African Utility Week, the leading conference for African power, energy and water professionals will take place in Cape Town from May 16 – 18 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. (via African News Agency)

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