Having a mentor when you start a business can be as important as the actual product or service you’re selling. While the research on the positive impact of mentorship is clear, so many entrepreneurs still don’t have a mentor.
To have a good business idea is one thing, but taking that idea to market, and building a profitable and reputable brand is no easy feat
The journey is long and challenging. To have a mentor as a guide during these early and crucial stages is essential.
In 2019, a study was done to determine what South African small business owners and entrepreneurs gained from having a mentor. According to their findings, of the 209 South African recipients surveyed the majority of the respondents, 73.7% (154), had one or two mentoring relationships. Only 8.10% (17) had more than five mentoring relationships, while 46.6% (97) had been in a mentoring relationship in the past.
Proving that mentoring is a crucial part of most business strategies. Even some of the world’s most successful business leaders have mentors. For example, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin both received mentoring by Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt respectively at the early stages of their businesses.
Alon Sachs, mentorship Chair of the Entrepreneur’s Organisation (EO) in Cape Town, and co-founder of Mobelli Furniture + Living shares some valuable insights about mentorship and how to go about finding the right one.
Understanding what a mentor is and the value they bring is the first step in finding one. Most people get the three confused. A mentor is often seen as a role-model. Someone you aspire to be like. They have tons of experience and wisdom you can learn from. Advisors offer value by giving specific feedback about specific questions. Their role is more formal and expertise more granular. Coaches on the other hand have trained as a coach and may not have had any experience in starting or running a business.
While a mentor comes with mountains of experience it’s not up to them to advise a mentee on how to overcome the day-to-day challenges of the business. They offer guidance, support, and encouragement regarding long-term goals and challenges as well as career development. Ultimately it’s the business owner’s responsibility to take action. Mentors will be there to champion their efforts as they complete the suggested objectives.
All new businesses should have the future in mind but that is easier said than done when you are the only one making big decisions. Mentors offer an external perspective when it comes to making decisions that can cost you in the long run. They are more easily able to see your pain points as well as new opportunities and areas with room for improvement. You and your team might not always be able to spot the things that a mentor can.
Organisations like EO, offer a wide range of networking opportunities where you get to meet other entrepreneurs who may be leaders in their field and who are a potential fit as a mentor. A big bonus is that you won’t have to look far for referrals. Should you not belong to any entrepreneurial communities, look at leaders in your industry that you respect. Then begin by meeting with them to establish if you share a strong connection. If it’s a good fit, start there.
This article was written by Alon Sachs, mentorship Chair of the Entrepreneur’s Organisation (EO) in Cape Town.
Featured image: Alon Sachs, mentorship Chair of the Entrepreneur’s Organisation (EO) in Cape Town (Supplied)
Algebra Ventures launches $90-million fund to invest in startups –
Algebra Ventures has announced the launch of its second fund worth $90-million. The fund is dedicated to investing in startups in Egypt and the MEA region.
Cairo-based venture capital firm Algebra Ventures has announced the launch of its second fund worth $90-million. The fund is dedicated to investing in startups in Egypt and the MEA region.
The VC is reportedly targeting its first closing in the third quarter of 2021 and the fund is focused on investing in the following sectors; fintech, logistics, healthtech, and agritech.
Algebra Ventures has launched a second fund worth $90-million
Karim Hussein, Managing Partner at Algebra Ventures explains that there is untapped potential in the tech startup space in Egypt and that the VC aims to support its growth with the new fund.
“Having built a couple of successful technology companies in the US, I see tremendous opportunities for tech transformation in the Egyptian economy and continue to meet exceptional entrepreneurs who address these challenges. I am also encouraged by the significant steps taken by the government to facilitate the growth of tech-enabled businesses in Egypt.”
Founded in 2016, Algebra Ventures is focused on investing in entrepreneurs and startups in the tech space that are driving transformation in Egypt and the MEA region.
According to the Egypt-based VC, it has invested in 21 startups since its launch and its portfolio of Series A investments is the largest in the country. As a result of its investments, Algebra Ventures claims that it has, directly and indirectly, assisted in creating over 20 000 jobs.
Tarek Assaad, Managing Partner at Algebra Ventures comments on the rapid growth in the tech space in Egypt.
“I am grateful for the LPs of fund I, specifically EAEF, EBRD, and IFC who supported us back when there was no venture capital to speak of in Egypt. Over the ten years, I have worked in venture capital, I have witnessed the evolution of the tech entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt which has grown steadily over that period and exponentially in the past three years – vastly exceeding our expectations. Growth rates, capital deployed, sophistication of investors, track record of entrepreneurs are all pointing to unparalleled growth moving forward.”
Featured image: Tarek Assaad, Managing Partner at Algebra Ventures (Supplied).
Takealot has a new SA competitor Everyshop
Everyshop, a new eCommerce platform has launched in South Africa and is a direct competitor to popular eCommerce site Takealot.
Everyshop, a new eCommerce platform has launched in South Africa and offers consumers online access to a range of local and international brands.
Everyshop has officially launched
Established by the JD Group, a South African retail company that is
part of Pepkor Holdings Limited, EveryShop aims to be a one-stop online shop for local consumers.
Peter Griffiths – Chief Executive Officer at the JD Group comments on the launch of the new platform and provides insight into its mechanics.
“JD Group, a division of Pepkor Holdings, already offers extensive online shopping to South African consumers through its retail brands that include Incredible Connection, HiFi Corp, Bradlows, Rochester, and Sleepmasters. Immense know-how, e-commerce, and logistics capabilities, and infrastructure have been built up to provide world-class online shopping experiences with swift and efficient delivery options. The opportunity to also offer South African online shoppers access to a vast array of other product categories resulted in launching this new exciting online retailer – Everyshop. With the support of our existing retail businesses, we have partnered with some of South Africa’s most well-known and loved brands across a number of industries including Specialist Electronics & Appliances, Furniture, Fashion, Footwear, and DIY to deliver true value to the South African shopper. Everyshop’s customers will be spoilt for choice in a convenient and affordable manner with access to the products that they need and the brands they love.”
With an initial testing phase in March, the platform has officially launched this month and is a result of the growing eCommerce sector in South Africa.
The eCommerce platform offers a range of products from fashion, homeware to DIY materials, tech, and more. Everyshop’s is home to a range of international branded products and is accessible to anyone across the country as it overs nationwide delivery of its goods.
Various secure online payment methods have been added to the eCommerce platform that is mobile-first and easy to navigate.
In an official press statement, Everyshop points out that it aims to shake up the existing eCommerce sector in South Africa with its innovative tech and business model.
“With everything in one place and supported by some of the latest e-Commerce innovations whilst underpinned by a nationwide logistics infrastructure, Everyshop is a guided digital-first experience providing every shopper a unique and tailored departmental shopping experience – intent on being a true disruptor in the e-Commerce landscape.”
Currently, the eCommerce startup claims to have 15 large-scale distribution centres that are located in close proximity to customers nationwide offering fast and affordable delivery to consumers.
The local tech startup plans to add more merchandisers and expand its list of more available retailer products listed on the platform.
Supporting local SMEs and entrepreneurs
While the new eCommerce platform may be home to renowned international brands such as Nike, Samsung, Apple, and more, Everyshop is committed to supporting homegrown brands such as Me&B, The T-shirt Bed company, and Move Pretty to name a few.
With a focus on empowering entrepreneurs and supporting local, the eCommerce website has interwoven both an international and local offering of products.
“We are proud to be part of Pepkor Holdings with its many trusted brands and combined we are a diversified retailer of clothing, footwear, furniture, household appliances, and consumer electronic goods. Now, even more, is offered with Everyshop – our brand new online platform,” concludes Griffiths
Featured image: Everyshop (Supplied)
Quarterly Employment statistics reveal over 500 000 jobs lost in 2020 –
Stats SA’s Quarterly Employment report has revealed that half a million individuals lost their job in the period between December 2019 to December 2020,
Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly Employment report has revealed that half a million individuals lost their job in the period between December 2019 to December 2020, indicating the devastating impacts of Covid-19 on the local economy and the employment landscape.
Employment has decreased by half a million in one year
In the official press statement, Stats SA provides insight into the number of jobs lost in the reported period.
“Total employment decreased by 594 000 or (-5,8%) year-on-year between December 2019 and December 2020.”
According to the report, full-time employment decreased by 11 000 from September 2020 to December 2020 and can be attributed to decreases in the construction, manufacturing, business services, transport, and mining sectors.
Although there was a decrease in full-time employment, part-time positions saw an overall increase of 9.2% with 87 000 additional jobs reported between September 2020 to December 2020 with the following industries experiencing an uptake of employment; manufacturing, trade, business services, and community service.
In comparison to the dismal findings of the number of jobs lost between December 2019 to December 2020, the report however indicated that from September 2020 to December 2020, total employment has increased by 76 000 due to trade, community services, and business services.
Stats SA has reported total earnings have decreased by R36,1-billion between December 2019 to December 2020 but there has been an uptake within the last four months of 2020.
“Year-on-year, total gross earnings decreased by R36,1 billion or (-4,6%) between December 2019 and December 2020. Basic salary/wages paid to employees increased by R18,6 billion or (3,0%) from R631,8 billion in September 2020 to R650,4 billion in December 2020,” says Stats SA.
The basic salary and wages reportedly decreased by R22.9-billion between December 2019 and December 2020.
“Year-on-year, basic salary/wages decreased by R22,9 billion or (-3,4%) between December 2019 and December 2020.”
The detailed report can be found here.
Featured image: Emil Kalibradov via Unsplash
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