SMME Opportunities 27/01/2012

Here is the list of opportunities for 27 January 2012, that small and medium businesses should take note of. To regularly receive these opportunities sign up as a member on Zapreneur.

  • Southern African International Trade Exhibition – This prominent exhibition runs from the 15 Jul-17 Jul 2012 in Midrand. This year there will be a focus on strengthening relationships between the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.)
  • Angel Hub is  “launching a monthly high-touch networking platform by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs in 2012. The events are targeted at getting founders (and prospective founders) of interesting high-growth ventures together for meaningful conversations on shared experiences.” The Founders Dinner takes place on the 2 February 2012 in Sandton. The details of the event and registration information can be found at this the founder’s dinner link.
  • Microsoft offers free Microsoft 2010 workshops – The workshop will be helpful to those wanting to make better and more productive use of there software. To book call 0860 22 55 67
  • Old Mutual Legends Business Development Programme. It bills itself as one of the “fastest-growing and most successful enterprise development programmes in SA!”. If you want to be a legend, take a look at this enticing programme.

If you have an event that SMMES would be interested in, please contact us.  There is no fee for being listed in this weekly update.
Thanks to Startup Africa, SMME Small Business Toolkit and Ideate for leads on these events.

Educational Failures – Are Trade Unions Too Blame?

Youth subsidy
Failing to resolve educational challenge, means fewer jobs. KwaZulu-Natal Midlands: Ceramic painters Zama Nqubuku (foreground) and Wiseman Ndlovu at work in the Ardmore Ceramics studio. Photo: Hannelie Coetzee . Credit Media Club South Africa

Andile Lungisa’s – Chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency and  ANCYL leader – call for the de-unionisation of teaching has sparked a furore. The arguments focus on the constitutional right for workers to belong to organisation, and that focus must be placed on the real problems facing education. I however argue that the problems in labour relations in the education lies not only with the trade unions, but with government, who have not fulfilled their responsibility as an employer.
Improving education in South Africa is the most important priority in South Africa. When I look at our results on the international benchmark examinations, I am angry with us as a society. We have literally failed a generation of children in South Africa. To put it bluntly, we perform very poorly on the international examinations, with some assessments of the results placing last in the world for performance on the Mathematics examinations. We are facing a crisis in education, and we must act.
Instead of acting to resolve the situation, there is this constant repetition that the trade unions are too blame. Here are a couple of refrains I have heard over the last few weeks:
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SMME Opportunities 20/01/2012

Opportunities that small businesses in South Africa should be grabbing.

  1. Seda Small Business Stars – The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) is running a competition for those with business ideas, and established businesses to win prizes by entering the competition. The competition includes a one day business plan training workshop, the possibility of winning cash prizes (up to R 40 000-00) and other prizes. Closes on the 31 January 2012.
  2. Gauteng Innovation Competition is focused on improving government service delivery, especially in the areas of government innovation, mobile service delivery and green service delivery. Prizes include a cash prize and seed funding, up to R 75 000-00 and R 175 000-00 respectively. Closes 24 February 2012.
  3. Africa News Innovation Challenge (PDF Link) – The Africa Media Initiative have announced a $ 1 million fund for news innovation. The call for proposals will be announced in February 2012.
  4. Woza Online  – Google’s interest in South Africa seems to be growing. They have launched a website that (1) helps you create a website for free, (2) provides an easy way for new advertisers to apply for R 500-00 credit towards an Adwords campaign and (3) offers training.

Thanks to the folks at Less Fuss , Startup Africa  and Incorporex for sharing this information with us.
(This is new type of article on Zapreneur, please give some feedback if you want more like this in the comments section.)
To submit an opportunity, please send us a message.

Outliers –The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

zapreneur_pic of outliers cover
Outliers, A book with many versions!

I ploughed through a couple of magazines, and stumbled across an article by Malcolm Gladwell called “How David beats Goliath: When underdogs break the rules” while waiting in a government office. The article has a rare tactical nous offering us little guys with a set of guidelines to take on bigger gorillas. The possibility of dramatic change from the least expected places provided an intriguing insight – it was not just pulling oneself up by the bootstraps,   rather one needed to be consistently thinking about the context that one operates in to design effective strategy.
I mentioned the article to a couple of friends, and the gushing praise for Malcolm Gladwell left me gobsmacked. I was really missing out on an exceptional thinker I thought. Therefore, the next business trip, I bought a copy of Outliers: The Story of Success.  My expectations were thus sky high, expecting an exceptional and unique understanding of how we understand success, and why it happens. Had I written this review immediately after reading it, I would have joined the gushing brigade and praised the book. Gladwell writes exceptionally well, and is a master at story telling. It was an easy, provocative and entertaining read.  The second reading – in preparing this review – was a different experience entirely with the argument not being convincing, even though the writing remains exceptional.
This review combines insights from my first and second reading of this book, but before that is it important to understand the intent of the book.
Continue reading “Outliers –The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell”