Learning at the Tshimologong Bootcamp

Last weekend I attended the the Tshimologong Bootcamp. The bootcamp aimed to get us entrepreneurs to take the next steps in our business, starting with a solid foundation on linking value proposition to customers. There is so much to process, but here are some lessons:

South African’s have some seriously good ideas

I have long argued that the problem with entrepreneurship in South Africa is a “supply issue”, in the sense that we do not have enough people starting up. Over the weekend I met lots of really impressive entrepreneurs with impressive ideas, and many already had customers. But, many were in that awkward stage were they (and me) are a little tentative.

Networks

I found a couple of developments in the broader startup ecosystem really interesting. These include:

  • GroundFlr –  Ground Flr is a game changer in the startup space. We improve the chance of startup funding by broadening the search for capital. Its now free to search for funding anywhere in the world. Our freemium service also gives startups the option of requesting a warm intro to an investor of their choice.
  • Venture Network – They hosts pitch nights and themed startup talks. Membership to our community is FREE. 
  • Lots of venture capitalist. Over the two days, there were many venture capitalists in attendance as mentors and advisers. I found this incredibly interesting.

In short, an ecosystem is developing that might make it easier for entrepreneurs to startup and eventually scaleup.

Acceptance

I decided to sit while the rest of the group collectively read out an entrepreneurial manifesto. I was not being difficult, but I honestly could not bring myself to participate. The nice bit was that no one was really phased by it. Live continued. Imagine doing that in a political party or a trade union – I can tell you the consequences are harsher.

Doing Stuff

I sate myself a goal for the end of the weekend to test if companies were interested in running promotions on ZApreneur. Over the weekend I emailed 15 people, got two coupon codes (exclusive to ZApreneur) and a commitment from three more companies. If you interested, just send me an email using this form.

Complex Business Models Need Visuals

Some of the business models were incredibly complex. The facilitator used the Business Model Canvas and things got a lot clearer, a lot more quickly. I had tried this process before, and I found the exercises extremely interesting.

Rules (are meant to be broken)

One of the mentors (Anthony Nathan from Tmara) gave us a talk on rules and how important it is to break them. I am not certain if I followed all of it, but what I learned was this:

  • Innovation removes a limitation
  • Market must adopt a new rules

Which I summarised as: Create value if it solves something, but only matters if people use it. If people value it, it might be disruptive. But, to make people adopt the new rules, you need to provide a minimal value guarantee. That is a however a very inadequate summary of the ideas.  You can check out the full idea here on YouTube.

 
 

Tiny Little Ideas

At the end of the two days, we had a presentation by Ken Beck.Let me admit this I had no clue who this guy was, and why he was given celebrity treatment. But, the talk was incredibly useful and inspiring. It validated what I have been learning- test ideas and see what happens.  The central message was that you needed to test (he said) kill your ideas in the shortage time possible. After the input I had a greater appreciation for this dude, called Ken Beck. Here is a link to his previous presentation at Tshimologong. It is long but very worthwhile presentation.
 

 
 

Next Steps…

The most important learning for me was to reinforce the idea is that as long as you learning you are making progress. The trick is to do that learning systematically and quickly (and without going broke!). If you can do that you and your business might actually have a value proposition that solve a real problem. That is a fancy way to say, it is time to test the next aspect of the business. For me that means making some decisions on ZApreneur, based not on theory but on learning from what my customers tell me.
(Huge thanks to the Tshimologing team).

ZipZap – Low cost portable credit card machine

One of the most frequent requests I receive from entrepreneurs is around low-cost point of sales options. ZipZap looks like a good option, and we asksed ZipZap some questions.

ZipZap looks like an excellent product. Our readers might not know about what ZipZap does. Please give us your elevator pitch?

ZipZap is a portable credit card machine – or mPOS as it’s known – that works wherever you do business. This means that you can take payment with a debit or credit card anywhere, any time. ZipZap works with your smartphone or tablet through a free app that links to a separate secure card reader, and you can have several ZipZap devices linked to one bank account. There are three different payment options on offer to best suit your pocket and cash flow, and the transaction fees are the cheapest on the market.

How does this benefit businesses in South Africa?

ZipZap’s philosophy is all about growing small businesses by giving them a mobile, cost-effective payment solution. After investing in a mPOS device businesses generally report a higher turnover because they no longer turn customers without cash away. They’re also able to reduce bad debt because they don’t have to chase after EFT payments, which ultimately results in better cash flow.

How is it different from products being offered by large banks?

Our products are similar, but what sets us apart is the lowest transaction fees, various payment options, and our latest offer – South Africa’s first free mPOS device for businesses who’s turnover exceeds R25 000 per month in MasterCard or Visa card swipes. You can bank with any South African bank and you do not need a merchant account – we will open one on your behalf and handle all the admin. We also believe that our caring and attentive view to customer service is a big differentiator for us.

Do you have any plans of partnering with larger financial institutions?

ZipZap offers a white label solution to any organisation or financial institution wanting to offer a mPOS solution to their customers. We can provide a complete mPOS solution that includes app development and deployment, card readers, transaction processing, technical support and a customer call centre; all off the back of our tried-and-tested technology and back-end services.

What would the ideal business look like to benefit from ZipZap?

ZipZap has thousands of happy customers that include markets, doctors, health and sports professionals, artisans, retailers, bakeries, hairdressers, beauty salons, micro-breweries, B&Bs, restaurants and many more. If you are a mobile business, don’t want to rely on a fixed point-of-sale terminal or would like a back-up for your traditional POS, ZipZap can benefit you.

Let’s talk money. What does it cost to get started with ZipZap? How is payment processing charged?

We offer three different payment options. All transaction fees are 2,75% (Ex VAT).
Free ZipZap

  • Free ZipZap (worth R1599 ex VAT) if your MasterCard and Visa card transactions exceed R25 000 per month
  • No activation fees
  • No monthly rental fees*
  • 24 month contract (month-to-month thereafter)

* If your MasterCard and Visa card transactions are lower than R25 000 in any month, you will be charged a rental fee of R150 for that month
Buy a ZipZap

  • Pay the once-off fee of R1 599.00 by credit card or via EFT
  • No monthly rental fees

Rent a ZipZap

  • R150 per month
  • No activation fees
  • 24 month contract charged in arrears (month-to-month thereafter)
  • No rental fee if your MasterCard and Visa card transactions exceed R25 000 in any month

If possible, could you provide us with a couple of companies that are using ZipZap?

ZipZap encourages customers to share their mPOS stories. Click here to read one of our many happy customer stories.
For more information visit www.zipzap.co.za

TaxTim launches easy tax return completion tool for SMEs

TaxTim  has launched a company tax return tool, that offers small businesses a new option to handle all their tax affairs. Anyone, running a business – especially a small business, where the owner multitasks – knows that regulatory compliance is a major issue. This new offering offers a way to complete tax returns, and in so doing makes it just that much easier to focus on running the business. Remember, what Michael E. Geber said:

“A true business opportunity is the one that an entrepreneur invents to grow him or herself. Not to work in, but to work on.”

Below please find the press release from TaxTim:
Continue reading “TaxTim launches easy tax return completion tool for SMEs”

SAICA introduces affordable quality back-office support services


The South African Institite of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) have introduced a programme called Enterprisation. Take note, this programme is different and provides support for provides SMEs with quality back-office support services that a small business owner would otherwise not be able to afford. These services include accounting, bookkeeping, taxation, business finance consulting, and company secretarial and registration. Go check out the site for more information by clicking here.

The SAICA statement is included below:

To reach the NDP’s entrepreneurship goals, we need to make the numbers count  
One of the major goals of the National Development Plan (NDP) is to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality in South Africa by 2030.
In order to do this, the NDP recognises entrepreneurs as national assets who are essential for creating more wealth, more employment opportunities and greater prosperity for our nation. If the NDP performs the way the National Planning Commission (NPC) envisions, 90% of jobs created will be in the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector come 2030.
Yet, South Africa’s inherent economical structural inequality will make reaching this goal more difficult than many may think.
While it is true that thousands of new businesses start up every year – some of which do grow into medium enterprises that employ more than a handful of people – it is also true that only one in five businesses survives longer than 18 months.
Chief among the reasons for this is that many business owners simply do not have the financial background they need to handle the financial aspects of their SME. Without this knowledge, making their business both profitable and sustainable is almost impossible.
Enterprisation helps start-ups reach financial sustainability
In 2013, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) recognised the role it could play in helping SMEs conquer the financial landscape.
To this end, it established an enterprise development and SME support hub called Enterprisation which, together with a unique graduate training programme, provides SMEs with quality back-office support services that a small business owner would otherwise not be able to afford. These services include accounting, bookkeeping, taxation, business finance consulting, and company secretarial and registration.
In providing this support, Enterprisation:

  • alleviates the pressure business owners experience if they do not have access to accurate and well-maintained monthly financial records;
  • contributes to the business’ overall going-concern through good business forecasting and budgeting;
  • ensures that business owners are in possession of accurate, up-to-date and complete financial records when applying to credit providers for funding; and
  • ensures that business owners understand the importance and benefits of doing timely tax submissions.

Businesses that are assisted in this manner remain accountable for the day-to-day financial operations of their business and, with the support of Enterprisation, these SMEs can subsequently grow into sustainable businesses that create jobs for others.
Job creation
In addition to SME support, Enterprisation also provides workplace readiness training and skills development to unemployed black accounting graduates and creates employment opportunities for these skilled graduates within the SME sector.
Thanks to the private-public partnerships that make it possible to do this work, the Enterprisation hub has, to date, successfully:

  • supported 121 SMEs in five of SA’s nine provinces;
  • worked with nine SME funds and incubators; and
  • trained 270 graduates through the Guarantee Trust training programme – an initiative that sees 95% of graduates placed in positions of employment upon leaving the programme.

Future initiatives include an exciting project with Old Mutual’s Masisizane Fund where the Enterprisation team will assist five agribusiness co-ops in the Eastern Cape as well as a JP Morgan Grant project that will support 100 new SMEs and train 50 new accounting graduates over the next 18 months.
Enterprisation’s goal is to support the NDP by developing entrepreneurs and professionals through skills development that creates sustainable enterprises and employment opportunities. Partnering with Enterprisation also means you optimise your B-BBEE scorecard, while helping to alleviate poverty in South Africa

Boys Coffee Club – Interview on running a mobile coffee business

ZApreneur interviewed Thabiso Matlhwane, co-founder of Boys Coffee Club on running a mobile coffee business.

Hi. Tell us a little about who you are, and why you started Boys Coffee Club? Why the name “Boys Coffee Club”? Are there any girls involved?

We are a combination of 4 multi skilled individuals with a passion for change and success. The company came about when our Co-Founder and managing director wanted to do something that would compliment her already established business called Girls Cake Club. BCC has been operational for a year that is when i joined after i left Pick n Pay as a cashier and full time student. We are all trained baristas and Shannon is the only female that neutralises the bravado of the other 3 male partners.

What is your core offering? What makes you awesome?

Our core offering is coffee/crafted caffeinated drinks ranging from hot chocolate, teas, alcoholic and non-alcoholic coffee drinks and pastries. We our own coffee roasting, packaging and branding and have our own range of Boys Coffee Club coffee available for wholesale supply. We also do barista training and coffee shop consultations, which really makes our core offering all things COFFEE. What makes us awesome is our energy, creativity and combination of different personalities, which we have optimised to create memorable experiences for all our clients.

What has been your experience in running a mobile coffee business?

We have had amazing experiences good and bad being mobile comes with its own risks and uncertainties and we have managed to stick together and work as a unit to make it successful. We love mobile, because it has allowed us to meet and interact with different individuals from across the country, allowing us to develop new relationships in driving our business to success.

You have a branch in Cape Town? How does that work?

The branch in Cape Town was decided based on the 3 partners originally being from there. We have taken the concept we developed for Johannesburg and we are re-working and adapting it to suit that market. The coffee industry in Cape Town is a lot more developed than that of Johannesburg, but felt that there is still room for a black owned youth entity to bring in a different perspective to the norm.

What advice do you have for anyone starting out?

Never doubt yourself and your capabilities. There will be times where you may feel that you don’t see the returns in proportion to one’s efforts. Many start-ups struggle, because they under the impression that once start working you need to make a profit, forgetting that the business needs to be sustainable before you start seeing returns. You need to love and believe in what you do, because the negativity will be thrown at you from different avenues including those you’d least expect like family and friends, but if you believe in yourself an what u do nothing or no one can stop you from reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself.

What has been your biggest challenge so far? How did you overcome it?

Changing our lives to allow us to be fully focused on making the business a success. Each partner has made sacrifices towards the success of the business and the repercussions of those sacrifices, we still deal with on a daily basis, but we are all on the same page. We all have the same vision, we understand what our mission is (changing perceptions to an industry bombarded by generics an commonalities) is and we implement it on a daily even in our own lives. It is tough being a young black owned organization in a white dominated industry, because we need to work harder than everyone else with the capital and infrastructure, to prove ourselves, which we have been doing exceptionally well for over the past year.

Coffee is an interesting marketing in SA. How do you see the market developing?

The market is growing and thanks to one of the biggest competitors Starbucks, people will start understanding that coffee is a lifestyle and not an energy booster or something to keep you warm. The market is steadily starting to develop this concept and the aim now is to showcase the quality and competitiveness of local brands as this industry is still dominated by international brands.

Where can we get hold of you?

You can find us on Facebook and Instagram@ Boys Coffee Club and on twitter@Boyscoffeeclub1. You can also check out our website. We always share our locations when we are on the job and these are sometimes small pop up at markets, musical festivals and school functions, to corporate events and private functions. We have not established a permanent set-up as of yet, as we have not seen the need for it.

What are the plans for the future?

Firstly do be operational in all 9 provinces across the country, we plan on educating and training disadvantaged individuals allowing them to develop their own skill set, opening the window of opportunity for them and their families. We strive to be a generational business based on exceptional business ethics, high quality standards and unmatched customer services. We have decided to take the service offering we cater to middle and upper class markets and cater to low class markets at an entry level price. We have not compromised any of our standards to do this, but we want our people to understand that the stigma that coffee is for a certain type of person has no grounds to it and that we need to change the perceptions we have in order to open ourselves up to a bigger world.

Recurring Billing from PayFast

Payment solution PayFast announced in late July that it is introducing recurring billing for online stores. Yes, you heard that correct. A reputable South African payment solution with recurring payments. This makes subscription based services easier, and will likely provide a boost to businesses in a wide range of industries. In there announcement, they outline the two methods of recurring payments:
 

The feature enables numerous business models, activities and applications. At launch, the service will allow for merchants to create two methods of recurring payments; one being a subscription model, the other an ad hoc model. The subscription model supports membership or retainer style business models that provide stable and predictable income. The ad hoc payment solution enables applications such as app payments, single page checkout, or automatic account top ups. Read up on the details of each and how to enable recurring billing for yourself.

Subscriptions

The true value of the subscription business model is in its predictability. Billing is automated and long-term financial planning is easier as future payments are almost guaranteed.
A typical service is server hosting. The customer is billed on a monthly basis for a set fee. Traditionally in South Africa this billing model has been implemented by means of a debit order. Our subscriptions offering, however, shifts towards a credit card-based payment model. In line with global trends, it offers a more streamlined solution to the merchant with greater customer convenience and control.

Ad hoc payments

An ad hoc recurring payments solution sounds something like a contradiction in terms, invoking both regularity and irregularity. It is precisely that combination that adds a multitude of additional applications to the function of recurring billing. The relational aspect of the transaction is the recurring part – the buyer and seller enter into an agreement where the buyer authorises the seller to charge their credit card for an agreed purpose. However, the amount paid and transaction dates can differ for future individual payments.
Let’s look at some examples of how this feature could be implemented. Say you want to monetise your app. Authorising each and every transaction is an obstacle to the customer experience. PayFast’s Ad hoc payments would streamline the process, allowing automated app purchasing after the first transaction has been authorised, for future use.
Or, you have an e-commerce business. Ad hoc payments offer huge value for web based stores where customer loyalty is key. Through the use of tokenization you can now access customer purchasing details, and offer a single page checkout.

This is worth exploring for a range of businesses. There launch announcement and landing page provide all the details that you need to get started.

The Importance of Digital Finance for Financial Inclusion in South Africa

The Importance of Digital Finance for Financial Inclusion in South Africa
 
The Banking Association of South Africa defines Financial Inclusion as a development that improves the “range, quality and availability of financial services and products focusing on the unserved, under-served and financially excluded. Principles of financial inclusion include: access, affordability, appropriateness, usage, quality, consumer financial education, innovation and diversification, and simplicity.”
 
According to Bank SETA, 53% of the country’s adult population is unbanked. The reasons vary, including the fear of exploitation, an inability to access physical bank buildings, strict FICA requirements and the steep fees. But factors like the lack of trust in the traditional banking sector, concerns about safety and security, time, and convenience all contribute as well.
 
Digital finance provides solutions

South Africa has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world, with 87% of the population owning a cell phone. According to a report by The Guardian, “mobile phones carry huge economic potential in undeveloped parts of Africa.” The same article notes that a study conducted by the London Business School in 2005 found that the GDP rises by 0.5% for every additional 10 mobile phones per 100 people in a developing country. There is thus great potential for local and global economies to grow if enterprises are willing to tap into unbanked and under-banked markets and make digital financial solutions available to all.
 
Though the lower income segment may be financially challenged, they are comfortable enough with technology, and many mobile banking solutions companies are indeed using technology to reach this market. Traditional “bricks and mortar” establishments are often hard to come by, especially for the rural-based populace. Many of these digital finance companies provide an easy and accessible way to bank, where customers have no need for travel, all the while cutting through most of the red tape.
 
We’ll take a look at how companies improve the range, costs, access and availability of financial products in order to win the unbanked and under-banked sectors, making financial inclusion possible for the unserved, under-served and the financially excluded.
 

  1. Range
    According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “The global revolution in mobile communications, along with rapid advances in digital payment systems, is creating opportunities to connect poor households to affordable and reliable financial tools through mobile phones, kiosks, and other digital interfaces.” Service providers can now reach this segment through mobile communications, and the poor in turn can now have access to these service providers. Today, the unbanked can make use of services that were previously out of range or not accessible to them. Companies in Ghana, for example, make access to life insurance cover possible for people in rural areas that are not familiar with or educated enough to know about the importance of financial products, like life and funeral cover. The process is simple: whenever an individual buys and loads airtime, they automatically get insured with limited life cover.

 
In Uganda we hear about local businessmen (fishermen, farmers) using their mobile phones to pay bills. These individuals in these communities are in actual fact creating a micro-economy by banking money on their phones and transacting with each other through these means.
The range of connection, access and opportunity expands exponentially with digital finance.
 

  1. Time and costs
    Mobile transactions save time and are much more convenient. People in rural areas no longer have to walk kilometres to get to a bank. There’s also no queuing in long lines or dozens of forms to fill in – and in many cases the poor are uneducated and unable to even complete these forms. Transactions via mobile are also much cheaper. Costs that would have been incurred should cash have been handled by banks are now cut out. We also find that exceptional products and new collaboration of services come to market through digital finance for the very purpose of saving time and costs whilst still providing a much-needed service.
  2. Access and availability
    Glen Jordan from financial services firm IMB believes it’s important to uplift South Africans with a stake in this country’s economic future. “It’s time to provide state-of-the-art financial solutions tailored to a market struggling with a financial inclusion. That’s one challenge we at IMB tackle with energy.”

 
Glen and his team believe the infrastructure exists, a sentiment echoed by the World Bank. According to a World Bank report, “South Africa’s highly-developed financial infrastructure, as well as mobile technology, provide opportunities for financial inclusion.” With South Africa boasting one of the best telecommunications sectors in Africa, and with the financial infrastructure as sophisticated as it is, there are ample opportunities for massive growth – making financial inclusion for the masses possible. By making digital finance available to a greater extent, access and availability are expanded to these markets. Products of service providers are now accessible to the poor, connecting people to one another on a local and global level.
 

uAfrica – an easy way to setup an online store in South Africa

ZApreneur spoke to Jenn Hattingh from uAfrica about their ecommerce offering. This is the start of a series of interviews on eCommerce in South Africa. What spark our interest was an initiative to assist new businesses to set up online stores, and a promise of support from uAfrica and bidorbuy.
Key Takeaway:  If you interested in setting up an online store in South Africa, uAfrica is running a competition. What I like about the competition is that every entrant gets a good value set of freebies including assistance in setting up a store, promotional credit on bidorbuy, and ability to test out their multichannel app for six months, free. And that is what the losers in the competition get!  View the competition details and enter now!

1. Hi. Please tell us a little about uAfrica.

uAfrica.com is a reseller for the Shopify eCommerce platform in  Africa. We have localised Shopify for the South African online business market by bringing South African payment gateways and shipping  functionality into the ring to help make Shopify even more accessible to local merchants.

2.Who runs the place? How long have you been around?

Andy Higgins is our MD, he founded bidorbuy back in 1999 and after  leaving bidorbuy started uAfrica.com.

3. Awesome! Why would a company use a service like uAfrica rather than say run a store yourself, using for example WooCommerce?

A shopping platform is a matter of personal preference but, being cloud based, we think that Shopify is a great solution for many South African merchants simply because they don’t need to worry about managing  things like servers, backups or upgrades. They can focus on their core business leaving the technical aspects up to the experts. uAfrica.com has > also built tools to localise Shopify in South Africa and we have negotiated special terms that allow us to charge our clients in ZAR for their monthly Shopify subscription fee instead of USD, so the monthly cost ends up saving  merchants a bit of money at the end of the day.

4. How does uAfrica work with Shopify?

We’re a strategic partner of Shopify and help spread the word around Africa about the benefits of having a Shopify store. Besides other marketing initiates we also run monthly workshop sessions, called MeetUps, to help merchants set up and manage their stores.

5. How does uAfrica work with Bidorbuy?

Andy, our MD, founded bidorbuy back in 1999 and the relationship has remained a close one ever since. We have built an integration into bidorbuy.co.za that makes it easy for merchants to sell across multiple channels.

6. I see you have a Multichannel app. What does it do?

uAfrica’s Multichannel service allows an online merchant to sell on multiple channels while only needing to manage inventory and orders on one ‘source’. For example, when a merchant places an order on their bidorbuy  channel, the inventory is updated on the Shopify source store, so you never > sell anything you don’t have. At the moment we integrate into Shopify and  bidorbuy but we are looking to broaden the offering as Multichannel grows.
The app also offers uAfrica Shipping which allows merchants to obtain > quotes from multiple couriers and then generate waybills, handle courier collection requests and track shipments with status notification updates to buyers.

7. As someone providing online stores, what reflections do you have of > the online commerce in South Africa?

South Africa is still behind the rest of the developed world with regards to adoption of eCommerce, however the sector is growing at around 30% per annum, albeit off a relatively low base. This compares to flat or low single digit growth of traditional retail so it is an exciting sector to be involved in.
With the advancements in technology such as hand held devices and better internet provision, the infrastructure available to shop online with ease is now available to South Africans and online businesses are starting to make the move online to reap the benefits.

8. What advice would you offer to a business owner wanting to start an online store?

The best advice we can offer is to just jump in! The best way to learn about how a platform ticks is to give it a try. Shopify offers a free 14 day trial where you really get to test the platform out and what it can offer. There are no limitations on the free trial either, so you can > really get into the gritty details and additional functionality that is available. A lot of new online merchants are nervous to launch because the site isn’t ‘perfect’, but if they’re not live, nobody is looking at their product offering and they’re wasting time and money. Think progress, not perfection.
uAfrica is running a New Business Competition for the duration of 2016 to help merchants get set up selling online. View the competition details and enter now!
Note: ZApreneur Media does NOT earn a referral commission from this article.

How to find out what funds are available to raise business finance

 
Research continues to show that one of the main reasons entrepreneurs fail to grow their businesses is due to their inability to obtain business funding. Yet, there are more than 350 different funds available to small businesses and many of the lenders are struggling to find businesses to fund. This disconnect between the availability of business funding and the ability of SMMEs to obtain funding is the problem that an innovative solution called finfind addresses.
Finfind is a unique, cloud-based Access to Finance portal sponsored by the Department of Small Business Development through its implementing agency SEDA. It provides a wealth of easy-to-understand information about small business finance and has a comprehensive database of active lenders that spans both government and private sector funds.
Small businesses can access this online solution 24/7 at no cost and are able to learn about the different types of finance and how they work and can be linked to a list of lenders that match their specific finance profile. Finfind has a team that continuously updates the lender database to ensure that the fund details are kept current at all times. Finfind has four main sections, this is how it works:
 

  1. Learn about Access to Finance  has a host of useful and easy-to-understand articles that explain how small business finance works. This is especially useful to entrepreneurs who are not familiar with financial investment terms such as equity and collateral or who aren’t sure how Term Loans or Invoice Discounting options work. Click here to learn about access to finance. 
  1.  “Find Lenders” section enables small businesses to see a list of all the lenders that can fund their businesses. Finfind has a comprehensive database of lenders (both public and private) and has mapped these to the eligibility criteria that applicants need to comply with. So this section asks the entrepreneur to register and then answer questions about the business owners, the business itself and the availability of the documents. If the SMME is finance ready (this means they have the necessary documents), then their answers are used to filter the database of funds, according to their eligibility criteria and find the ones that match their stated needs. When a user clicks on one of the loans in the list, a summary of the loan is displayed, details of the submissions and application process are available and full contact information is given. This makes it easy for small businesses to understand what finance options are available to them and what they need to do in order to apply for the money. Do you want to take out a loan? (See editors note below)
  1.  “Get Advice” section  helps link SMMEs to consultants who can assist them if they are battling to become finance ready or need help with their funding application. Finfind has partnered with SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency), SAIPA (South African Institute of Professional Accountants) and IBASA (Institute of Business Advisors South Africa) – all of whom have a comprehensive database of accredited consultants who can assist. SEDA branches provide subsidised support for small businesses, but SAIPA and IBASA consultants will charge for these services. The entrepreneur selects whether they want to use a subsidised or paying service and then selects their province and closest town. Finfind then displays the closest SEDA branch addresses and contact details or a short list of SAIPA or IBASA consultants in their area. Click here for advice. 

 

  1.  “Get Tools”  provides access to useful tools that can help SMMEs become finance ready. These include free online training videos to manage financial recordkeeping for startups and small businesses, as well as access to an online, easy-to-use accounting solution for entrepreneurs who don’t understand accounting. It provides quotes, invoices, payroll and complete small business money management including financial statement generation. Go to the toolbox

 
Finfind is easy to navigate and there is the additional benefit that SMMEs are able to repeat the finance readiness quiz and select different reasons why they need finance. This gives a new set of results and can be a useful means of identifying the most suitable business finance. For example, if a small business needs funding to commercialise technology, they will only see seven funding options.  However, if they were to select the funding option “To grow my business”, there are more than 50 funding options to choose from.
Small business funds vary considerably and it helps to understand that the reason why you need the funding, the amount, your industry sector and whether the business is profitable all impact on the number of funding options you’ll see.
Article written by
Robynne Erwin, Project Management, Finfind 
Contact Details  
Office: 086 176 3279
www.finfindeasy.co.za  |  Facebook |  Twitter
 
Editors Note: Small businesses should never enter into interest based loans with banks. I say this for religious reasons, but also because interest based financing makes a business less likely to succeed.  Finfind is an incredibly helpful tool, and we encourage readers to use the tool, and one of the reasons we are linking to the site is because it assists you to make informed decisions. 
 

Fintech has arrived and it’s changing the economy

Fintech has arrived and it’s changing the economy

The unemployment rate in South Africa is at an 11-year high, with 5.7 million people finding themselves without a job. The technological boom in the financial sector is not only making waves in innovation, but it’s also creating jobs and redefining employment roles within existing, traditional businesses.

Technology can create employment opportunities

Confidence in South Africa from a financial and investor point of view, is the lowest it has been in 5 years, according to Rand Merchant Bank’s Bureau for Economic Research. Because of the somber outlook on the South African economy, investment from the private sector has been limited, hindering job creation. The need for startups to emerge has never been more pressing. “Startups and small businesses contribute significantly to the economic and social development of South Africa by not only birthing innovation and change, but also by helping to alleviate poverty by means of job creation”, says Glen Jordan, director of startup fintech firm, IMB, based in Cape Town.
With the current digital disruption in the financial sector, more and more fintech startups are coming to the fore. Financial technology companies are springing up in tech hubs like Cape Town and Johannesburg especially, and according to Bradley Mehl from Kurtosys, a seed funder called Techstars will invest in 10 fintech startups, with with the first funding being allocated in March 2016.
South Africa is a big growth market where fintech is concerned. With this growth will not only come innovation and clever business solutions that will change the financial sector landscape, but growth means more and more startups emerging, which means more and more jobs are being created. With the changing face of technology, we will also find a redefinition of existing roles into more digital-oriented ones, with the skill set of many expanding.
Fintech startups are one up on traditional banking
We see it everywhere: new and innovative ideas and technologies are disrupting the financial sector. Many of these revolutionary technologies are shamelessly invading the spaces that are predominantly owned by banks or other financial services providers – changing the face of finance as we know it.
In this fast paced, highly connected, digital era that we live in, we find that there is a constant demand for financial service products to actually add-value in people’s lives. This is where fintech is proving to be so invaluable, as it completely reimagines and remodels traditional banking products. New fintech players are able to innovate and bring completely new systems to the party as they have no legacy systems and revenue to protect. Glen believes that traditional finance options are a slow way of doing things and are busy dying out, and soon digitally advanced methods will be at the forefront of the financial sector. Next generation banking is taking over.

FinTech is changing the face of finance.

We hear about fintech startups providing invaluable services to customers, like alerting them when banks and credit card issuers charge hidden fees. We hear about companies offering financial planning tools and services – often zoning in on a niche, making the service all the more bespoke. We hear about companies like IMB that are reimagining financial services from the ground up in order to offer a system that creates wealth for their clients and using an innovative route to market, and are able to create employment at the same time.
The financial digital revolution has arrived, and it’s here to stay. According to KPMG, “global investment in fintech companies totalled US$19.1 billion in 2015, with US$13.8 billion invested into VC-backed fintech companies.” The boom has just begun. Agility, constant evolution, reinvention and innovation is key to keeping this sector booming and thriving – changing the face of finance.
Article by Danielle from http://www.lumico.co.za
Photo by HLundgaard downloaded from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mobile_payment_02.JPG