Calling ICT Youth Entrepreneurs

This is an important initiative that seeks to grow black companies and link them with a large company, in this case MTN. The organisers describe the opportunity as follows:

We are embarking on a transformation journey and are looking for eligible service providers with high quality and cost-effective services. Through our partnership with the Sarah Baartman District Municipality and New Generation Mindset (NGM), this Local Economic Development initiative will enrich the economy of townships and in turn increase Skills development, Job creation, Localization, Industrialization and Export opportunities.
MTN is recruiting local YOUTH-owned companies with the aim to empower and expose them to significant growth and development opportunities. Potential YOUTH-owned companies in ICT are invited to apply to become suppliers and service providers to MTN South Africa.

We have ‘Grassroots’ support programs in place to enable and develop eligible service providers and suppliers towards sustainable participation in South Africa’s digital economy, that include:

  • A 3 year business incubation program
  • Access to Funding
  • Market linkages
  • Mentorship & Coaching


Who is the potential MTN Supplier being recruited?

  • Black YOUTH-owned companies (≤ 35years )
  • Suppliers of ICT services, equipment, applications, installations, devices and peripherals
  • Registered SMME’s (small, medium and micro enterprises) companies (≥12 months in operation)
  • Emerging entrepreneurs with innovative ideas.

MTN’s broader initiative targets companies in the following focus groups:
Black-owned companies, Black Youth-owned companies, Black Women-owned companies and Black Disabled-owned companies.

Details on this opportunity are available online. Click here.

Net Prophet Accelerator Programme – Closes 18 March 2016

The Net Prophet Sparkup accelerator programme is accepting applications for its 2016 event. It will run from 1-4 April with over R1-million in Angel funding up for grabs. Opportunity closes on the 18 March 

Sparkup! is a small business gauntlet for passionate founders looking to get investment and take a product to market. Three intense days of business grooming, culminating in a live audience investor pitch.
The best teams stand a chance to pitch their business to a panel of investors in the first, live dragons-den style event in SA. It’s an opportunity to secure on the spot investment of up to R3 Million!

To apply visit
(hat tip: Venture Burn)

Buy Local Summit and Expo 2016

Proudly South Africa is hosting the Buy Local Summit. The organisers of the conference tell us about the importance of buying local and why the Summit and Expo is important.

The Buy Local message is an enduring call to action for the public and private sectors, businesses, government entities and consumers. The call is to buy local products and services so that local businesses can grow, thereby encouraging economic growth and job creation. Proudly South African’s mandate also includes promoting national pride, patriotism and social cohesion. These efforts include promoting and showcasing local products and services.
Proudly SA therefore sees the annual Summit & Expo as an essential tool to facilitate and influence interaction between small businesses/entrepreneurs and procurement decision makers

To register for the conference visit the Buy Local Summit website. Click here. 

Global Cleantech Innovation Programme

An invitation to innovative start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises focused on commercialisation of local cutting-edge and innovative clean technology solutions related toenergy efficiency, green buildings, renewable energy, waste beneficiation and water efficiency.
The GEF (Global Environment Facility), UNIDO (the United Nations Industrial Development Organization) and TIA (the Technology Innovation Agency) in South Africa are implementing the GCIP (Global Cleantech Innovation Programme) for SMEs to promote clean technology innovation and supporting SMEs and start-ups working on solutions related to energy efficiency, green buildings, renewable energy, waste beneficiation and water efficiency. The programme combines a competition and a business accelerator to offer participants progressing through the programme extensive mentoring, training, access to investors and opportunities to showcase their innovations to the media and the public.  Participants stand a chance to win a cash award and national business support awards, in addition to a trip to Silicon Valley, CA, to participate in the Cleantech Open Global Forum.
Application details are available on the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP) website. Click here.
Applications are open from 14 March 2016 until 29 April 2016. 

Small business, poverty and inequality in South Africa (Presentation)

A presentation on whether small business can contribute to a reduction in poverty and inequality in South Africa. It has several policy suggestions. I will be working on these over the next month, and looking forward to sharing ideas with you.
[slideshare id=59010776&doc=smallbusinesspovertyandinequalityinsouthafricauct-160303092336]

AlphaCode – FinTech Entrepreneurs Solve Our Problems

Editors Note: AlphaCode is for financial services entrepreneurs. At ZApreneur, we believe the financial services industry in South Africa needs to become much more innovative. We support financial services that target enttrepreneurs, and that are not based on interest. Go forth, and transform this industry.

AlphaCode – RMI launches groundbreaking African fintech hub

The concept is modelled on the leading fintech development hub, Level 39 in London’s Canary Wharf, which has become a successful catalyst for emerging fintech players. Thanks to the weight of major industry players, AlphaCode has already signed up over 50 diverse, rapidly-growing financial services entrepreneurs.
AlphaCode is powered by Rand Merchant Insurance Holdings (RMI) and Rand Merchant Bank Holdings (RMBH), which are strategic active managers of a R759 billion financial services portfolio, which includes FirstRand, Discovery, OUTsurance, MMI Holdings, Merchant Capital and RMB Structured Insurance. RMIH and RMBH are active, value-adding partners and enablers of innovation and leadership in financial services.
Commenting on the creation of AlphaCode, RMI Senior Investment Executive, Dominique Collett said: “RMIH’s investment in this development gives a clear indication of the future direction of financial services. The fintech business models of the future are agile, disruptive ventures, often started by emerging entrepreneurs. With this in mind, AlphaCode provides a vehicle to identify strategic key investments in the financial services industry and be a catalyst for the development of fintech in Africa.”
Head of Ecosystem Development and Management at AlphaCode, Chipo Mushwana says, “African fintech businesses have provided some of the most exciting developments in global financial services in recent history, and we will help to grow promising, impactful businesses.”
There is no charge to belong to AlphaCode. It is fully funded by Rand Merchant Insurance Holdings (RMI). There are four membership tiers which range from green entry level membership up to diamond. Green membership is open to everyone and approval is immediate. Gold, platinum and diamond memberships are subject to AlphaCode team approval.
Green membership is offered to all aspiring entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and service providers. The benefits include a monthly newsletter and access to open networking events.
Gold membership is available to full-time founders and co-founders of financial services businesses only. Members have access to the Sandton based AlphaCode co-working offices, facilitated networking and VIP events, informal mentorship and exposure to the RMI investment team and portfolio companies.
Platinum membership is offered to high-potential, broad-based black economic empowerment entrepreneurial businesses with five or fewer team members. AlphaCode offers free private office space at AlphaCode, business support services, informal mentorship and access to networking events including exclusive pitches for enterprise funding.
Diamond membership is offered to businesses which are poised for high growth and investment from RMIH. These businesses are offered access to workspace and exclusive networking events as well as dedicated mentorship from senior executives within the RMI group.
Apply online at or email
Through its offering of access to market and critical resources, AlphaCode is to become the centre of a world-class financial services ecosystem in Africa.

Knife Capital Looking for 10 Companies for Grindstone Accelerator Programme

10 Companies will be selected to participate in the year-long Grindstone acceleration programme for 2015/16 but additional spaces can be made available on request.
Selection criteria for the programme are:

  • Existing South African SMEs
  • Post-revenue with positive customer testimonials and traction
  • Innovation-driven
  • High growth potential in search of achieving scalability
  • Profile and passion of the management team
  • Vision for the future
  • Market attractiveness
  • SA Job creation ability and ‘success story’ potential

A 2-Day networking and growth workshop will be held every quarter where all the Grindstone companies will participate in strategic review of key business functions. Partnerships with leading independent subject experts will ensure that the programme delivers thought-provoking business insights. Key gaps will then be closed to mitigate risks and facilitate growth in one-on-one sessions with each company. Baseline growth indicators will be developed at the beginning of the programme and progress across these metrics will be constantly measured. Company specific interactions are developed and implemented to achieve measurable growth and put the companies onto a sustainable growth platform for their individual strategic growth paths. Companies will graduate with a Closing Data Room that includes all documentation that was developed throughout the programme. Grindstone will continue to provide access to networks and ad-hoc advisory services to all programme graduates to enhance market access.
More information for the Grindstone Accelerator: Click Here.

Silvertree Internet Holdings to Invest $10m in African Startups in 2016

Silver Tree Capital recently announced that it will invest $10m in African startups in 2016. You will probaly recognise PriceCheck, which is one of their investments. This post tells you what they do, and what you need to do. But, before that, let’s here from the the founders:

Manuel Koser, SIH Founder and MD says: “Our meteoric growth in 2015 has been driven by execution-focused delivery across all of our portfolio companies, as well as a number of company acquisitions that are already delivering positive returns. Our job now is to build on this momentum to maintain our aggressive growth trajectory and cement our dominance in the African ecommerce and price comparison markets”

Paul Cook, SIH Founder and MD says: “Through our operations across the continent, we are seeing first-hand that the African consumer market creates ‘leapfrog’ tech opportunities that our portfolio companies, with their expertise and deep understanding of their markets, are poised to capitalise on and grow. Silvertree-owned companies are without a doubt best placed to service and grow the millions of African consumers who are migrating to online platforms, looking to source the most competitive prices for goods and services.”

Looking for Silvertree investment? Please make sure to read:

What Silvertree does

Silvertree Capital builds real businesses — and that means more than merely providing office space and some token equity. In addition to substantial equity investment, and depending on the needs of your business, we can help with some or all of:

  • Access to large-scale investors for rapid growth
  • Professional management or management support
  • Business plan and model development, consulting and/or feedback
  • Marketing, logistics, IT, talent management and other support functions.

We are interested in strong concepts with the foundations of a good team, meeting our investment criteria, and with the potential to rapidly reach scale.

What Silvertree does not do

  • Investments into concept-level businesses. You should be post-revenue with good economics, or at least have a complete product and initial customers.
  • Angel/small scale investments. We invest to change the future of companies.
  • Support (eg. marketing, advice, software development) that does not also include an equity investment. We are an investor, not a consultancy.
  • Secret ideas, non-disclosure agreements, or holding meetings before we receive company details by email. If secrecy is the only thing protecting your company, then the moment you release your product, you have no competitive advantage. We invest for execution ability, not secret ideas.


What you should do

If your company meets the above criteria, then contact us, and let’s talk further. We do not have fixed investment cycles.
Your submission should include at least:

  • A clear “elevator pitch” of the concept that makes us excited about the business (NOT just the concept) in a few sentences
  • Team details: who you are, and why you your team has the right people/setup to execute — what’s your “unfair advantage”?
  • Historical financial and customer figures, and projections for next 2-3 years
  • Initial proposal for amount of funding and support required, and what it would be used for
  • Details on your product, the competitive market in your target geography, examples of similar offerings in other geographies (if any), etc.

This shouldn’t need more than e.g., a short email, 15 slides and a supporting spreadsheet.

Are you capable of leading a disruptive startup, but are without a team or great idea?

We are also continuously looking for people to lead existing companies or execute concepts that we incubate in-house. If you are young and hungry, talented, have multiple years of corporate/business experience (especially management consulting at top-tier consultancy, or similar), and want to build tech-enabled startups, please contact us.

Contact details: All the details you need, are just a click away. Click here

2016 SEED Awards – Social and Environmental Enterprises

What are the SEED Awards?

The SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development is an annual awards scheme designed to find the most promising, innovative and locally-led start-up social and environmental enterprises in countries with developing and emerging economies. The independent SEED International Jury of experts selects enterprises which have the potential to make real improvements in poverty eradication and environmental sustainability while contributing to a greener economy.
Is your enterprise in a start-up phase and does it integrate social and
environmental benefits, solving pressing local issues?
Do you need support to help to establish and grow your enterprise?

SEED has opened the Call for Applications for the 2016 Switch Africa Green-SEED Awards, SEED Africa Awards and SEED Gender Equality Awards.
More information: SEED Awards 2016

Apply: 2016 SEED Awards – Apply by 21 March!

2016 SEED Awards – What do enterprises win?

No two enterprises are the same, either internally or as regards their operating environment. The SEED Catalyser offers each SEED Award Winner a customised support package consisting of tools, capacity building, profiling, network building, and financing, all tailored to their individual needs. Details of the four components of the SEED Catalyser are:

Icon Tools Tools: self-help tools that help enterprises prioritise and address their most urgent needs, for instance by assisting with market analysis, developing a funding strategy, mapping stakeholder relationships, and developing Memoranda of Understanding with partners.
Icon Tools Capacity Building: one-on-one advisory service that offers Winners assistance with their business and financial plan, including a 3-day in-country workshop, webinars and remote advisory through the SEED and In-Country Advisors.
Icon Profiling Profiling: SEED Winners are profiled nationally, regionally and internationally through a high-level SEED International Awards Ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, with senior government and UN officials, development, support, and financial institutions as well as through marketing and promotional activities such as our website, blog and social media channels.
Icon Networking Network Building: SEED facilitates contacts between its winning start-ups and support organisations, funders, policy-makers, other enterprises such as SEED Alumni, and SEED Partners and Associates.

The deadline for applications is 21 March 2016, 23:59 Central European Time (CET). On 28-29 September 2016 the 2016 SEED Winners will be profiled at the SEED Africa Symposium in Nairobi, Kenya. During 6 months, from July to December 2016, the SEED Winners receive specific business support based on their needs.