New E-commerce Platform For Handcrafted Goods Launches In KZN and Western Cape

Updated on 16 May 2017

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Today's Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (16 May)

A new app ecosystem, Advance, allows people to order artisanal and handcrafted goods from local producers online or using the app, and then collect them in-store or at a local market or pick-up point.

The platform which launched 15 May in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, features local producers such as Boschendal, Richard Bosman’s Quality Cured Meats, The Velvet Cake Co., The Glenwood Bakery, Eat Your Home and more. Advance is expected to launch in Gauteng soon.

According to their press release, the platform offers a hybrid approach to retail – making ordering and paying easy, whilst allowing people to still enjoy the experience of visiting their local artisans to collect their products.

“The company mantra is ‘buying local made easy’ and, whilst it is about making it easier for people to buy from local producers and for local producers to increase their customer base, it is also a bit of a cause,” says Jared Krause, co-founder of Advance.

“We want to improve what people buy with their money and help people to spend more responsibly. Buying locally made, good quality items is so much better for you and the local economy than buying from some massive producer. We pride ourselves on our association with vendors who value individual relationships and not just producing ‘bulk’.”

“We have good small-scale farmers, bakers, butchers, brewers, distillers, coffee roasters and the like, who have eschewed traditional retail and production models in order to create the best products they can because it is the responsible and sustainable thing to do,” says Will Edgcumbe, co-founder of Advance.

She Leads Africa Launches Accelerator For Women-run Businesses In Nigeria

She Leads Africa has just opened applications for the 2017 She Leads Africa Accelerator, a 3-month program designed to identify, support and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest entrepreneurs.

SLA’s 2017 Accelerator will take place in four locations across Nigeria – Abuja, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Kaduna.

The 2017 Accelerator will consist of one week residencies in the four locations where entrepreneurs will receive training from the SLA team and business leaders and experts. During these residencies, entrepreneurs will be focused on business strategy, growth, marketing, finance and distribution. They will also receive a host of on and offline training as well as an opportunity to pitch their business to national and international investors.

Fresh Direct’s founder and 2016 class winner, Angel Adelaja, said “This was like a condensed Masters Program. I am so different now and our company is thinking and strategizing differently.”

This 2017 SLA Accelerator is run in partnership with the Work in Progress! Alliance – a consortium of Oxfam, Butterfly Works and VC4A focused on driving job creation and youth employment in Nigeria. The Kaduna Agribusiness cohort is sponsored by OCP.

Entrepreneurs interested in applying should visit for more information and to apply. Submissions close on 25 June 2017 at 11:59pm WAT.

Vodacom Acquires Stake In Kenya’s Safaricom

Vodacom announced on Monday it had agreed to acquire a 34.94 percent stake in Kenya’s Safaricom, the global mobile money pioneer, for R34.6 billion.

The JSE-listed telecoms company said in a statement the investment in Safaricom, which launched M-Pesa in early 2007, would provide a large level of diversification.

Vodacom plans to fund the acquisition of the stake currently held by Vodafone Group by issuing new shares.

Steven Ambrose, telecoms analyst, described the purchase of a large stake in Safaricom, even though from its own holding company, as “a smart move to bolster Vodacom’s operations outside of South Africa”.

He added: “It will bring scale and growth opportunities back to the Vodacom operation.”

Vodacom – which has 66.8 million customers in South Africa, Lesotho, Tanzania, the DRC and Mozambique – said the investment in the biggest communication company in East and Central Africa would “further enhance Vodacom as a leading African mobile communication company”.

The price represents a 5.9 percent discount to Safaricom’s share price on the Nairobi Securities Exchange at closing ahead of the announcement.

Shameel Joosub, Vodacom chief executive, described the deal, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, as a “unique opportunity to diversify our revenue growth and profitability”.

“Acquiring a strategic stake in Safaricom will provide our shareholders with access to a high growth, high margin, high cash generation business operating in a high growth market.

“In addition to producing mutually beneficial opportunities for growth, it will create further incremental value through the close co-operation between the two businesses, particularly in driving M-Pesa adoption across our operations,” Joosub added.

M-Pesa is seen as an important driver of Kenyan economic growth, providing financial services to more than 19 million customers.

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