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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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ZwartTech launches Talent Foundation to equip Africans with digital skills

Lagos-based ZwartTech has announced the launch of its new edtech, Zwart Talent Foundation (ZTF) in a statement on 30 July 2021.

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Lagos-based ZwartTech has announced the launch of its new edtech, Zwart Talent Foundation (ZTF) in a statement today.

The foundation aims to equip young Africans with ICT skills necessary to close the growing African skills gap. The project has also set aside 70% of recruitment positions for African women.

87% of African CEOs are concerned about the digital skills gap

According to a report by PwC, featured in 2020’s Digital Skills Insights publication, 79% of global CEOs are worried about the availability of digital skills in their workforces, with 87% of African CEOs sharing the same concern.

“We launched the Zwart Talent Foundation to help Africans quickly combat poverty by giving them the chance to acquire tech skills as well as connecting them to international job opportunities. This will enable them to earn more and boost their economic status,” commented Nelson Tosin Ajulo, Chairman of ZTF in a statement.

ZTF’s three-pronged approach to tackling this skills gap means participants are led through the process from initial skills training to launching successful, sustainable careers.

The foundation aims to equip 2 000 Africans with critical ICT skills and recruit them into global companies over the next five years.

The Zwart Academy

Participants are first trained through the Zwart Academy in cybersecurity and Javascript for six months at no cost, giving them the necessary foundation to complete a one-year internship with Zwart Tech on completion.

“We have also realised that the quality of ICT education in Africa is inadequate. Considering this, students who join the Foundation will become Junior Developers in less than three years compared to attending a university and spending four or five years on the same course,” stated Ajulo.

Zwart Recruit

Zwart Recruit aims to support African ICT developers by connecting them with international companies looking for employees specialising in digital skills.

The Zwart Hub

The Hub is an accelerator programme that takes startups from concept to scaling their business on a global scale through mentorship and support from successful, experienced startup owners and investors.

While the global skills gap is worrying, considering automation may render many digital jobs obsolete in the near future, ZTF’s approach is different, according to Ajulo.

“Our approach is not only innovative, but it also saves time and will help tackle inequality faster, bridging gaps between social classes. The Academy training program involves a lot of practicals and it is free,” she concluded.

Read more: Edtech Go1 is SA’s first unicorn after closing $200m round

Read more: Transforming B2B payments could grow Africa’s local businesses [Opinion]

Featured image: Zwart Talent Foundation Chairman, Nelson Tosin Ajulo (Supplied)

“We launched the Zwart Talent Foundation to help Africans quickly combat poverty by giving them the chance to acquire tech skills as well as connecting them to international job opportunities. This will enable them to earn more and boost their economic status,” commented Nelson Tosin Ajulo, Chairman of ZTF in a statement.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/07/zwarttech-launches-talent-foundation-to-equip-africans-with-digital-skills/

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OneDayOnly’s daily deals reaffirms SA liquor industry support

SA’s leading flash sale site OneDayOnly has announced its continued assistance to the local liquor industry through the recent move to Level 4 lockdown.

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SA’s leading flash sale site OneDayOnly has announced its continued assistance to the local liquor industry through the recent move to Level 4 lockdown.

The e-commerce site has displayed resilience and innovation through previous alcohol bans by allowing vendors to keep taking orders, thereby supporting many local businesses to continue seeing a profit. “During the previous lockdowns we continued to support the local liquor industry by running weekly promotions that made wine and other locally produced products available for purchase on the site which was then delivered directly from the supplier as soon as trading resumed,” says Laurian Venter, Director for OneDayOnly.

Continued support for local SA liquor industry

In a report published in February 2021, the South African Liquor Brand owners Association (SALBA) published the cumulative economic losses incurred over the last three bans. Commenting on the report, SALBA CEO Kurt Moore said that not only is the industry and its people suffering, but the Government itself was experiencing considerable losses to the fiscus.

The site will continue to run daily liquor deals through Level 4

The report shows that the tax revenue loss (excluding excise) to the fiscus from the value chain arising from the bans amounted to R29.3- billion (equivalent to 2.3% of tax revenue) and direct excise tax revenue lost across the nation was R8.7-billion (equivalent to 21.2% of excise revenue).

Moore clarified that SA’s GDP loss was approximately R51.9-billion. “If you factored in the loss of potential total capital formation – some R21.7-billion (equivalent to 0.3% of national capital formation, or fixed capital investment in 2019) – then the prohibition measures could only be viewed as a national socio-economic disaster,” he said.

The e-commerce site will be running daily liquor deals, Wine Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday and Festive Friday promotions and will deliver once the lockdown lifts to assist local farms and businesses with expenses and staff costs.

Clarifying the decision, Venter concludes: “From a professional and personal standpoint, we have friends across both these industries that have been devastated by the last two lockdowns.”

Read more: Imperial donates R1-million for healthtech to Unjani Clinics
Read more: SA tech startup aims to create the fastest insights on the planet [Sponsored]

Featured image: Maja Petric via Unsplash

The site will continue to run daily liquor deals through Level 4

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/06/onedayonly-daily-liquor-deals-reaffirms-support-sa-industry/

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She Loves Tech calls for African female-focused startups

Applications are open for She Loves Tech, the world’s biggest startup competition for women in tech. Prizes of up to $50 000 available!

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Applications are open for She Loves Tech, the world’s biggest startup competition for women in tech. The competition is hosting its seventh edition with prizes up to $50 000. This year’s focus hones in on African tech startups.

Fundraising will be front and centre this year

Since its inception, the global non-profit organisation has committed to closing the funding gap for women entrepreneurs and building an ecosystem for technology, entrepreneurship and innovation that creates opportunities for women. Fundraising will be front and centre this year and this pitch round will be held across over 40 countries. Partners of the event include ATAST, Beijing Women’s International Center, Circle, Girls in Tech Macau, Gobi Partners, Hatch and the Kerala Startup Mission.

More than just a tech competition

“Last year, we announced our new mission to catalyse $1-billion funding for startups coming through She Loves Tech by 2030,” says co-founder Rhea See.

Startups can expect increased funding and one-on-one opportunities with leading VCs, mentoring hours, and direct cash and investment prizes throughout the series. Alumni startups from previous years have received over $250-million in aggregate funding from some of the world’s top investors, including Sequoia Capital, Vertex Ventures, Wavemaker, Microsoft and Amazon

“She Loves Tech 2021 is more than a competition, it is an acceleration platform designed to take women-led and women impact startups to the next level,” remarks co-founder Leanne Robers. Previous participants include Arianna Huffington (Co-Founder & CEO, Thrive Global), Ann Cairns (Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard) and Mahmoud Mohieldin (UN Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Agenda).

“Without women, we are unable to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Women represent a new generation of innovation and disruptive thinking,” comments co-founder Virginia Tan.

If you are a tech startup with at least one female founder or a majority of female consumers or end-users, apply here before registrations close.

Read more: Harambee Youth Accelerator acquires SA hiring app Giraffe
Read more: Women in tech at risk of being left behind

Featured image: @canweallgo via Unsplash

“She Loves Tech 2021 is more than a competition, it is an acceleration platform designed to take women-led and women impact startups to the next level,” remarks co-founder Leanne Robers. Previous participants include Arianna Huffington (Co-Founder & CEO, Thrive Global), Ann Cairns (Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard) and Mahmoud Mohieldin (UN Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Agenda).

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/06/she-loves-tech-calls-for-african-female-focused-startups/

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