More Than 2 000 Entrepreneurs Attended the Western Cape Funding Fair

Updated on 11 May 2017

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Today's Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (11 May)

 

Now in its third year, the Western Cape Funding Fair this Wednesday gathered more than 2 000 entrepreneurs, who had signed up to attend business information sessions and connect with active funding organisations, of which at least 24 were present.

The Western Cape Funding Fair, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, is a joint initiative between Deloitte and the province’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism. It’s an exhibition and conference-style platform aimed at creating awareness of and access to multiple funding organisations.

The Western Cape’s MEC for Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, said the provincial government’s commitment to helping foster the spirit of entrepreneurship was unwavering.

“Through our engagement with entrepreneurs we have learnt that the most common problem they face is around gaining access to finance,” Winde said.

“We know that innovative entrepreneurs play a significant role in driving the Western Cape economy. That is why we support initiatives like these which prepare entrepreneurs for fundraising and help to connect them to potential investors.”

“As government, it is our role to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. Through the Funding Fair we partner with the private sector to make sure that business owners have the knowledge to get their enterprises to the next level, in particular as they seek funding,” Winde added.

Marius Alberts, head of Deloitte Western Cape, said the company was delighted to partner on this initiative.

“To enable small businesses to succeed it is important that the people with innovative ideas and skills have access to the vital entrepreneurial resources like money and know-how to grow their businesses,” he said.

“When small businesses prosper, it stimulates economic growth through job creation.” (via African News Agency)

Mobile Browser, Opera, To Increase Its Investment In Africa

Mobile browser, Opera, is planning to invest $100 million (R1.3 billion) over the next two years to speed up internet adoption in Africa and strengthen the internet ecosystem with local partners.

Recently, the company celebrated 100 million monthly users in Africa and is now focusing on making the next generation of web browsers to cater the needs for African internet users.

According to a GSMA Intelligence report, the biggest consumer barriers to internet adoption in most African countries are the lack of digital skills and awareness, locally relevant content and affordability. To bring more first-time internet users without the fear of high data costs or lack of locally relevant content, the company invests in developing a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence engine for smartphone users that will ensure content discovery is at the heart of the browser. Users in Africa will get fully personalised and localised content delivered to their browser, while the data usage can be reduced up to 90%.

Opera is working with over 47 top tier African publishers covering 107 websites on this initiative.

To grow together with the African internet ecosystem, the company is planning to seek local partners to integrate value-added services, mobile payment and data bundling into its browser product. This will grant consumers access to quality content and services, giving them the ability to transact more easily on their mobile devices. The range of services to be added over the next 12 months will create a content and services hub.

“Africa is a very important market for Opera,” says Richard Monday, vice president of Africa, Opera Software. “We aim to invest heavily in Africa, to build a local platform and grow with the local business partners. This platform will expand the user base for content providers, ecommerce businesses, operators, OEMs and others to strengthen the African internet ecosystem.”

Currently, the company has operations in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa and is expanding with new offices in Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya to support business and product development. The plan is to hire around 100 people for these offices over the next three years. (via Bizcommunity)

FDI Flows To Africa Threatened By Global Economic Uncertainty

At a roundtable event in Nairobi, Ministers from across Africa sat together with investors and the private sector to determine how best to tackle the investment and credit risk hurdles in order to make African risks bankable. Participants to the roundtable see the event as timely because it comes at a time of geopolitical uncertainties which, according to The World Bank, could lead to “higher borrowing costs or cut off capital flows to emerging and frontier markets”.

For African governments, part of what is at stake are much needed foreign direct investments and access to affordable financing necessary to spur development and, specifically, to close the estimated USD900 billion infrastructure gap. Equally, the private sector stands to lose billions of dollars in lost opportunities if the requirements for a favourable investment environment are not adequately addressed.

The half day forum, the 4th roundtable to focus on political and credit risks in Africa, took place on the side lines of the African Trade Insurance Agency’s (ATI) annual general meetings. The event opened with pointed remarks from H.E. Patrice Talon, President of Benin.

Subsequent discussions focused on possible solutions to the challenges facing governments from the private sector and export credit agencies from panelists such as:

  • Hon. Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Zimbabwe
  • Hon. Romuald Wadagni, Minister of Economy & Finance, Benin
  • Hon Felix Mutati, Minister of Finance, Zambia
  • Chamsou Andjorin, Director of Government Affairs & Market Development, Boeing Intl.
  • Helen Mtshali, Syndication Lead – Sub-Saharan Africa, Industrial Finance Solutions, GE
  • Nisrin Hala, Sr. Director, Global Trade Finance Bus. Devpt. Emerging Markets, SMBC

In a Bloomberg article published in March 2016, emerging market investors from some of the most prominent companies noted the dramatic change in their investing tactics due to global fragility, which they see as unveiling institutional weakness, corruption, poor governance and efficiencies. In this current climate, investors are now keenly tracking social indicators such as corruption rankings, gender parity and the extent that rule of law is respected within emerging markets.

“Africa is in a period of realignment in this new global order, but I don’t think anyone should bet against its resilience. We are still home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world – as of 2017, the World Economic Forum ranks Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Senegal on the list of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world,” notes George Otieno, ATI’s CEO.

In this climate, it is more imperative than ever for African governments to focus on economic diversity to maintain growth while addressing risks to investors. As an internationally respected African institution, ATI offers the ideal solution precisely because the company has strong relationships with governments and because its risk assessments and mitigation solutions are seen as credible by global financiers and investors. With ATI involved in a transaction, governments are able to provide security to investors and suppliers against a range of investment risks.

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