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SMEs: Budget hacks to boost your business despite the pandemic –

Abraham shares his top hacks for small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) that need support but don’t know where to start.

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The lockdowns during the pandemic have devastated SA’s small businesses, and many business owners find themselves looking for a few clever, cost-effective, and sure-fire hacks to ensure business growth during the Covid-19 digital economy.

Abraham shares his top hacks for small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) that need support but don’t know where to start

According to Soul Abraham, Old Mutual Insure’s Chief Executive for Retail, businesses that managed to get back up following the devastation caused by the height of Covid-19 now need to focus on building and protecting their businesses to last.

“Many owners mistakenly believe that their businesses can only achieve growth if they invest more resources. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While it may seem like a challenging thing to do if you have limited resources, especially in light of having emerged from the initial lockdowns of the pandemic, the reality is that great businesses are started by people who do a lot with what they have,” says Abraham.

He adds that the issue of a lack of resources, whether it be people, capital, or time, are constraints that plague most small to medium business owners, but It needn’t be a reason to hold them back from success.

Below, Abraham shares his top hacks for small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) that need support but don’t know where to start.

Hack #1: Take advantage of the opportunity in digital

One of the biggest challenges that SMMEs continue to face post the height of Covid-19 is effectively adapting to a new way of working in a digital age. From Zoom meetings and doing business over the phone to closing deals on email and managing employees remotely, the pandemic accelerated the digital move.

“We view digital as the lifeline needed to re-ignite the small business sector, so small businesses must upskill themselves and take advantage of this opportunity.”

Abraham says that if you do not offer your customers an opportunity to interact online, you could be missing out on sales. This could include building a website, which can help you create space for inventory, attract new online customers, explain your offering in detail, and allow you to increase your business hours to 24/7.

“Consider the free tools at your disposal, like a business profile on Google, or free digital educational resources from Grow with Google.”

Hack #2: Create a solid social media presence

According to research, 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram, so there is a perfect chance that you are missing out if you are not on social media.

“Having a social media presence that aligns to your brand is very powerful if you want to grow your business. Although it is a big responsibility, as it comes with risk if you do not manage it properly, you stand to gain if you make sure that you have an active business profile,” says Abraham, adding that whether it is LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram, all of these social media offerings have their purpose in the business world. You need to consider which channel works best for your industry and business aligned to your business strategy.

Hack #3: Collaborate (yes, for free) with others

One of the essential tools a business owner has is collaboration, says Abraham.

“Employees of businesses that collaborate with their customers, community and industry enjoy benefits like the opportunity of new learnings, the chance to expand their networks, a sense of belonging, improved innovation, shared expenses and increased sales,” says Abraham.

The first trick in getting this right, says Abraham, is to know what you can offer and know what you need in return.

“For example, you could offer your talents and ask for expertise in exchange. Two parties with different skills can solve a problem better together or can offer your customers something extra that they need,” says Abraham.

Hack #4: Be business-savvy with free resources

As simple as it sounds, if you are cash-strapped, you will need all of the support you can get for free.

“Although there are lots of free resources online, it gets tricky knowing which ones are going to offer you value in return for your time,” says Abraham. “In light of this, look for local resources that may be better adapted for the South African business climate or culture.”

He says it may be better to spend the time to find the right resources that will truly move the needle on your business’s risk and growth from reputable sources and partners.

“At the end of the day, to protect your business and ensure it withstands the challenging times we are in, using easily accessible and practical tools, resources, and support, can mean the difference between surviving or thriving during this economic downturn and digital age,” concludes Abraham.

Old Mutual Insure offers a free online business toolkit called the Business Growth Box – designed to effortlessly guide and empower small businesses to operate effectively and prosper in a digital age.

This article was written by Soul Abraham, Old Mutual Insure’s Chief Executive for Retail.

Featured image: Gene Gallin via Unsplash

He adds that the issue of a lack of resources, whether it be people, capital, or time, are constraints that plague most small to medium business owners, but It needn’t be a reason to hold them back from success.

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/05/smes-budget-hacks-to-boost-your-business-despite-the-pandemic/

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Startup partners with Telkom to launch translation platform for SA languages

Telkom has partnered with SA startup Enlabeler to launch an AI platform that translates speech into text and provides transcription services for local languages.

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Telkom has partnered with South African startup Enlabeler to launch an AI platform that translates speech into text and provides transcription services for local languages.

The platform, called izwe.ai, was unveiled at the AI Expo Africa 2021. It is described as “a multi-lingual technology platform that transforms your audio and video data to text, captions or subtitles in your local languages”.

Telkom and Enlabeler collaborated to create the platform, with the aim of providing a way to bridge the language gap in a variety of industries.

“With Enlabeler, we have built a solution that can offer a seamless transcription experience with highly localised and reliable outputs, which help us deliver as a strategic partner for our clients,” Telkom Executive of Data Science Stefan Steffen said in a statement.

“Working with an agile startup like Enlabeler has helped us accelerate our long-term plans to unlock this market segment. ”

Enlabeler

Enlabeler is a data labelling and annotation solutions provider.

Founded in 2019, the company describes itself as Africa’s first remote data labelling community. It employs people around the country to augment and train the AI solutions and services provided by the company.

The company provides video and image annotation services, computer vision and object detection models, entity extraction from text datasets, as well as translation and transcription services.

The izwe.ai translation platform

According to Telkom, the izwe.ai platform has a unique ability to interpret South African accents. It also uses machine learning to constantly improve its translations.

The aim of the platform is to provide transcription and translation across a range of industries. These include education, academia, legal services, and media production.

“This technology can be a game-changer in business, as well as education, government, and healthcare delivery,” Telkom head of Innovation Dr Mmaki Jantjies said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Telkom Foundation CEO Sarah Mthintso highlighted the education benefits of the service.

“STEM subjects are the foundation for the careers of the future, but to truly drive digital transformation in South Africa, we need learners to be able to learn in their home language,” Mthintso said in a statement.

“That’s where AI-driven speech services are so important.”

Translation and transcription service launch

The service will be launched in a phased approach. The first phase includes the launch of izwe.ai and the collection of information from potential clients via survey.

The service is offering five hours of free machine transcription in exchange for the completion of the survey.

The second phase will include the release of the machine transcription model.

“In release 2 you will have access to a market-leading machine transcription model to transcribe your files with a click of a button,” the service says on its website.

The third phase will include the implementation of human input into automatic transcription outputs. Finally, phase four will include the launch of additional services.

You can find out more about the platform on the izwe.ai website.

Feature image: Ventureburn

Read more: Fairwork Project puts out call for Pledge supporters

Read more: African global business services sector to grow to $19.8 billion by 2023 – research

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/09/startup-partners-with-telkom-to-launch-translation-platform-for-sa-languages/

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South African startups helping to solve the global challenges

A new generation of entrepreneurs are not only incubating solid startups but are contributing to help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges

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South African entrepreneurs are known for many things: optimism in the face of adversity, thrifty creativity, the ability to pivot when circumstances change, and above all, their tremendous resilience.

Across the startup landscape, one finds these nimble thinkers who defy the odds. Now, a new generation of entrepreneurs are not only incubating solid startups but are contributing to help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Hypernova Space Technologies

If you thought South Africa was not contributing to space exploration, think again. Cape Town-based Hypernova Space Technologies builds cutting-edge electric propulsion for small satellites. Their plasma thrusters are based on over a decade of research and development in vacuum arc thruster technology.

Founded by Jonathan Lun, who won a SingularityU research grant a few years ago, the company pioneered the world’s only commercial electric propulsion designed for in-situ resource utilization, that will see its first flight to space in 2022.

Hypernova’s breakthrough technology uses resources that are found in abundance throughout our solar system as fuel with the result that the company is now recognized by some of the space industry’s most forward-thinking players.

Resolute Robotics

The world is moving forward, and now more than ever we need to give future generations every opportunity to leverage the power of modern technology and thrive in the digital age.

Startup company Resolute Robotics has made it their mission to do exactly that. Students in schools (grades 1-12) and tertiary institutions can now complete their courses as part of their school curriculum, or as an extra mural, via their online academy.

They’ll get taught critical thinking, creative thinking, complex problem-solving skills and coordination with peers, as well as the three essential pillars of technology—engineering, data sciences, and computer sciences.

In this way, youth can get the foundation they need to pursue a career in coding and robotics.

DataProphet

While the world is becoming familiar with artificial intelligence in business, one South African startup is embracing the opportunity that this has for business.

DataProphet specializes in optimizing the complex manufacturing processes of key industrial verticals with state-of-the-art machine learning. Their AI-driven solutions leverage the existing data streams from your plant’s production line equipment to identify process efficiencies.

The startup identified the opportunity that high-impact adjustments can make and guarantee ROI in the first year of deployment. Their AI-driven prescriptions aim to help clients improve quality targets, reduce scrap and defects, and achieve manufacturing process optimization – ahead of real-time.

Longiveme

Addressing a more health-related challenge, aging is a phenomenon that humans grapple with every day on physical, aesthetic, mental, and emotional levels.

One South African doctor, Johannesburg-based Tamara Pheiffer, has realized that the solutions lie in unconventional thinking. She built her practice Longiveme to offer patients treatment based on precision medicine and biohacking.

Furthermore, this business is unlocking the potential of genetic testing to offer patients custom wellness solutions.

2021 SingularityU South Africa Summit

Leaders and founders from these companies will be speaking at the prestigious upcoming SingularityU South Africa Summit taking place online from 12 – 15 October 2021, where you can learn from their insights and expertise via various keynote talks, workshops, and discussion panels alongside global thought leaders.

Click here for more information or to book.

Read more: Innovation Edge calls for pitches for SA ventures focused on positive parenting by fathers

Read more: Kenyan tech startup secures $475 000

Featured image: Lagos Techie via Unsplash

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/08/south-african-startups-helping-to-solve-the-global-challenges/

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Naspers invests R120 million in Joburg-based insurtech startup Naked

Naspers has announced it has invested R120 million in Johannesburg-based insurtech startup Naked in a Series A funding round.

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Naspers has announced it has invested R120 million in Johannesburg-based insurtech startup Naked in a Series A funding round.

Announced on 4 August, the multinational company made the investment through its early-stage tech investment vehicle, Naspers Foundry.

The investment is the foundry’s second insurtech investment in the last month.

Launched in 2018, Naked is an AI-drive insurance app that provides users with coverage for their homes and cars.

It is also the foundry’s biggest investment to date.

The funding round raised R160 million in total with the balance contributed by other investors such as Yellowwoods and Hollard.

“We’re excited to support Naked in their journey of pioneering a new generation of insurance, giving consumers access to convenience, control, and savings with its end-to-end digital processes,” Naspers Foundry CEO, Fabian White, said in a statement.

“This fits in with our focus of backing purpose-driven technology businesses.”

In April, the foundry announced it had invested R34 million in local insurance advice app, Ctrl. It said it is committed to investing a total of R1.4 billion in South Africa’s early-stage tech ecosystem.

Naspers investment to help Naked reinvent insurance

Launched in 2018, Naked is an AI-drive insurance app that provides users with easy-access coverage.

Through the mobile and web apps, users can immediately receive a quote for their place of residence, its contents, and standalone items such as cars in a short amount of time.

The app also lets them switch and pause their coverage without having to engage with call agents.

“Our ambition is to build insurance that people love by offering an experience that is affordable, convenient, and transparent,” Naked Co-Founder, Alex Thomson said.

“We are excited to have an investor of Naspers Foundry’s calibre onboard to work with us as we expand our team, continue to invest in the technology that puts customers in control, meet the insurance needs of a growing portion of the SA market and enter into international markets.”

Read more: Catalyst Fund names Inclusive Fintech startups, three from Africa

Read more: SA agritech Khula! launches app after closing R20m funding round

Featured image: Luis Villasmil via Unsplash

Source: https://ventureburn.com/2021/08/naspers-invests-r120-million-in-joburg-based-insurtech-startup-naked/

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