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Future-proofing your business when everything is changing [Opinion] –

Who knew a year ago, when we left our offices “for a couple of weeks” to work from home, how different our lives and our businesses would be now?

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Who knew a year ago, when we left our offices “for a couple of weeks” to work from home, how different our lives and our businesses would be now?

As business owners, we were forced to adapt, often with more emphasis on haste than humanity

We were in do or die mode, with every part of our business undergoing an unexpected and violent facelift. We stopped commuting unnecessarily, face to face contact was de-prioritised for a mode of operation that was contact-proof and we became location agnostic.

So, what does this mean for our business today? And how can we future proof it to best be prepared for whatever comes next?

Well, first we need to look at where we are before we know where we are headed next.

We used to take the serendipity of everyday interactions for granted — the breaks they provided us, the relief and energy they restored as we move from task to task, transitioning between physical spaces. Something as simple as a daily commute or a walk to the nearest coffee shop gave us time to think, time to process, and prioritise. That time is all gone. We’re in constant go-mode and we now need to schedule time in our calendars for lunch or a tea break. The assumption is that because we are always at home, we are free, but we are not.

Businesses are now starting to see the serious knock-on effects as teams that thrived on the ebb and flow of productivity, collaboration, and time to breathe, are now being crushed by external pressures. People are burning out faster than companies and clients can put gas in the tank.

We’re being conditioned to ‘over-communicate’ as new channels seem to open up every day. We’re forced to join Whatsapp, Slack, Teams, Zoom, Workplace, and a hundred other platforms and be on them 24/7.

It’s bubbling up into communication fatigue as they all fire off at once. There’s only so much we can deal with before we succumb to information and cognitive overload. There are only so many decisions we can make in a day. We’re headed for a global scale burnout.

Coupled with this is digital bloat. Every other business is creating the “next thing“due to our new climate. That’s a lot of “next things”, and odds are, we’re duplicating efforts and ultimately wasting energy. Would it not be more effective if we concentrated our efforts? That’s what labs around the world have done to speed up the creation of a COVID vaccine. Joining forces, dividing — and then ultimately conquering. Once.

Once we’ve all burnt out, and the world has no choice but to return to a slower pace, there will be a resurgence in the ‘slow movement’ again — food, experiences, friendships. The hype and the hysteria need to subside and people will realise they’re resilient — that they’re more than just their businesses or their jobs. There’s more to life. We’re burning through our years and our opportunities for an experience like jet fuel at this rate. We’ll all end up back at a more realistic pace anyway… so why succumb to unnecessary damage now?

So, with all this insight into the now, what does this mean for how we build our businesses for the future? We may not know where exactly we will be in a year or five years, but there are steps we can make now to ensure that we are building sustainable businesses that will still be there then.

1.Stop, pause and reflect.

Think twice and act once. Do not aim to do it all, just do enough at an infinitely maintainable pace.

2.Learn to say no

We need to learn to say no and to take a break. And empower your employees as well. Just because we can fit another meeting slot in our calendars, doesn’t mean we should.

3.Don’t over-communicate

Communicate just as much as you see fit for your particular situation, business, or structure.

4.Partner, don’t reinvent

Have an idea for the “next big thing”? Stop it! Reach out. You’d be surprised what you find. Combine your forces for good and we shall all prevail.

5.Scale with technology in mind, but with people at heart.

While the all-seeing AI and its machines are what will ultimately save us, remember, people are at the heart of everything. If we destroy our people by making things to serve them — well… we’re creating a bubble that’s bound to burst on itself.

6.Grow where you are planted.

Do not live reactively. Do what you’re good at–what you were put on this earth to do. In a time where pivoting is the new normal, there are only so many ways that you can diversify your core competencies.

7.Most importantly, breathe.

Let your calendar stretch a little. Look after yourself, your family, health, and wellbeing. Besides, none of us are good to anyone else dead, right?

This article was written by Fabio Longano, CEO and founder of TouchFoundry.

Featured image: Fabio Longano, CEO and founder of TouchFoundry.

So, what does this mean for our business today? And how can we future proof it to best be prepared for whatever comes next?

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/02/future-proofing-your-business-when-everything-is-changing-opinion/

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Ventureburn

Applications for 2021 SAB Social Innovation and Disability Awards open –

Applications for the SAB Foundation‘s 11th annual Social Innovation and 6th annual Disability Empowerment Awards are now open.

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Applications for the SAB Foundation‘s 11th annual Social Innovation and 6th Disability Empowerment Awards are now open.

Applications close on 31 March 2021

Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director explains that the awards promote innovation and help entrepreneurs push-boundaries in their concept development.

“Over the years, we have seen entrepreneurs who had barely more than an idea when they started with us, go on to reach national and even international significance in addressing complex social problems in efficient and sustainable ways. With the world being where it is right now, we are excited to see what emerges through this application process. We always look forward to seeing the innovations that emerge each year.”

The awards aim to empower innovative entrepreneurs to develop unique products and services that assist the county’s most vulnerable communities. Winning social innovators stand the chance of receiving R200 000 to R1.3-million in funding for their innovations along with valuable business coaching and technical support.

The SAB Social Innovation and Disability Awards

Applications for the awards opened on 25 February and close on 31 March 2021. Interested applicants must apply via the online SAB Foundation portal.

The Social Innovation Awards target innovators, social entrepreneurs, institutions, and social enterprises that are early-stage startups with prototypes that aim to tackle social challenges.

Requirements for this category are that the products, services, business model, and processes must directly address challenges faced by low-income women, youth, people living with disabilities, or individuals living in rural areas.

The Disability Empowerment Awards focus on awarding social enterprises that have developed innovative solutions aimed at improving access to the economy or as a general solution for individuals living with disabilities. In addition, entrants proposed early-stage business model should be able to generate sustainable revenue.

Ntandokazi Nodada, Social Innovation Specialist at the SAB Foundation, comments on the launch of this year’s award applications.

“These awards give us the opportunity to meet so many talented social innovators who are really eager and enthusiastic to drive change and improve the lives of people in their communities and beyond.”

According to the SAB Foundation, to date, the awards have deployed over R92-million in grant funding and supported 139 social innovators.

Read more: Applications for SA Accelerator for black women tech founders opens
Read more: Google launches second News Initiative Innovation Challenge

Featured image: Portia Mavhungu – 2020 Disability Empowerment Awards finalist (Supplied)

“Over the years, we have seen entrepreneurs who had barely more than an idea when they started with us, go on to reach national and even international significance in addressing complex social problems in efficient and sustainable ways. With the world being where it is right now, we are excited to see what emerges through this application process. We always look forward to seeing the innovations that emerge each year.”

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/02/applications-for-2021-sab-social-innovation-and-disability-awards-open/

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New SA fintech startup aims to make travel affordable

South African-founded travel-focused fintech Wunderlust aims to make travel more affordable to locals by offering monthly installment payments for flights.

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South African-founded travel-focused fintech Wunderlust aims to make travel more affordable to locals by offering monthly installment payments for local and international flights.

Wunderlust’s platform enables locals to pay for flights with monthly installments

In an interview with Ventureburn, Dylan Solarsh, co-founder of Wunderlust provides insight into what led to the creation of the inventive startup.

“Personal experience with friends; who landed up missing trips, family events and crucial moments because they could not afford the upfront travel costs. After seeing this happen to so many people it became clear that people were always putting off travel for a future date which never seemed to arrive. Life was passing them by! We conceptualised how best we can allow people to travel and thus Wunderlust was born. This offering allows people to do the things that matter most instead of spending their money on material goods.”

Wunderlust

Founded by Dylan Solarsh and Dylan van der Merwe, Wunderlust officially launched in December 2020.

Wunderlust aims to make travel accessible to anyone with its monthly installment repayment system for flights.

“‘For families looking to reunite or go on a well-deserved holiday; to young professionals looking to travel abroad and opening the landscape for people who have never had the opportunity to experience the joy of travel. We are for everyone. We want to be the service that enables these moments to happen,” explains Solarsh.

The travel fintech startup has reportedly received funding from an angel investor at the idea stage of development.

How does it work?

Users are prompted to conduct a credit application process when booking their flights for travel. The startup’s unique platform has made this process simple and easy.

Users are able to maintain their credit card facility and use it while visiting their destination.

“In time, with scale, Wunderlust will be a much cheaper option for financing travel compared to financing it on your credit card,” adds Solarsh.

The process is fully transparent and users are charged interest on the ticket price when financed over a period of six to 12 months. This interest reportedly varies from 9,5% to 15%, depending on a user’s credit score. An additional monthly fee is charged to users for managing the booking.

In order to secure a successful application on the platform to purchase flight tickets, users must be over the age of 18, a South African citizen, employed and have a good credit score.

Partnering with top players in the travel industry, the Wunderlust platform is completely custom built featuring airlines, flight purchases, credit verifications, and loan management, making it a one-stop-shop for all a user’s flight needs.

When asked about the future of the startup, Solarsh explains that the company plans to expand its offering.

“We are an ambitious company with International aspirations. We are planning to expand our product offering to include accommodation, trip packages, rental cars, and travel insurance. We plan to finance the entire travel journey all with the goal of making travel affordable!”

Read more: SA car tech startup creates automotive marketplace for locals
Read more: New SA legal tech platform launches for SMEs

Featured image: Dylan Solarsh and Dylan van der Merwe, founders of Wunderlust (Supplied)

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/02/new-sa-fintech-startup-aims-to-make-travel-affordable/

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Stellenbosch Network Opens Programme to upskill local entrepreneurs –

The Stellenbosch Network Entrepreneurial Mentorship Programme, an initiative aimed at supporting and upskilling budding entrepreneurs, applications open.

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The Stellenbosch Network Entrepreneurial Mentorship Programme, an initiative aimed at supporting and upskilling budding entrepreneurs, has officially opened for applications.

Applications close on 1 March 2021

Conducted over eight months, the programme aims to equip selected participants with the skills and knowledge to grow their business and improve their management skills with mentorship provided by experienced business moguls.

The Stellenbosch Network Entrepreneurial Mentorship Programme

The programme is flexible and aims to fit the busy schedule of entrepreneurs and business owners allowing selected participants to organise their sessions with mentors.

Selected participants of the programme will receive two-hours of mentee training and will be briefed on how to prepare and make the most of the mentee and mentorship relationship.

Over the course of the programme, mentees who have been paired with a mentor will receive at least 12 hours of mentorship support.

Hanli Brink, Operations Manager at Stellenbosch Network comments on the importance of one-on-one mentorship for budding entrepreneurs.

“Feedback received from our previous initiatives indicates that entrepreneurs who frequently engage with a mentor develop better decision-making skills. They also tend to feel more inspired to tackle the various challenges associated with starting one’s own business and the feelings of isolation, which many people feel when pursuing entrepreneurship, are reduced.”

Applications for the programme can be found here and must be submitted to [email protected]. Applications close on 1 March 2021.

Requirements

Interested applicants must adhere to the following requirements to qualify for the programme:

  • Be a full-time owner of a business that has been operating for at least 12 months, not employing more than 15 people, and with a maximum annual turnover of R1.5-million.
  • Not be in the employment of another company while running their current business and have no previous management education at tertiary level.
  • Be a South African citizen aged 23 years or older, with a Grade 12 school-leaving certificate (although applications may be looked at on a case-by-case basis if applicants have not completed Matric/Grade 12).
  • Be proficient in English and live or work in the Stellenbosch or Franschhoek area. They must also be willing and available to receive at least 12 hours of mentoring support for the duration of the Programme.
  • Be able to travel to training sessions at Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch. (Please note that accommodation is not provided.)

Read more: Applications for SA Accelerator for black women tech founders opens
Read more: Google launches second News Initiative Innovation Challenge

Featured image: Mario Gogh via Unsplash

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/02/stellenbosch-network-opens-programme-to-upskill-local-entrepreneurs/

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