Today's Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (14 September)

Deadline extension for 2017 MTN Business App of the Year Awards, Treasury To Give SAA R10 Billion In Special Appropriation, and more


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Deadline extension for 2017 MTN Business App of the Year Awards

App developers who may miss the 14 September MTN Business App of the Year submission deadline shouldn’t be despondent; MTN Business has extended the deadline for the sixth edition of the popular Awards to 18 September, allowing delayed nominations to be submitted for consideration.

Mandisa Ntloko, General Manager of Enterprise Marketing: MTN Business SA, says the decision to extend the cut-off date for entry submissions is in response to requests for an extension from the app-development community.

"We are pleased with the response we have received thus far. The number of submissions received reaffirms the competition’s stature as the most popular and prestigious app-development competition in the country. We are looking forward to receiving more entries and to give more app developers a chance to monetise and grow their apps," says Ntloko.

Entries will be considered in the following categories:

  • Best Enterprise Solution
  • Best Consumer Solution
  • Best Incubated Solution
  • Most Innovative Solution
  • Best Breakthrough Developer
  • Best Educational Solution
  • Best South African App
  • Best Agricultural Solution
  • Best Health Solution

In line with its quest to adjust to the ever-evolving technology landscape, the MTN Business App of the Year Awards has introduced three new categories this year, namely: Best Gaming Solution – with a focus on African gaming; Best ‘Women in STEM’ Solution – for submissions by women and girls in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and Best Financial Solution – for submissions that provide financial solutions to customers of the financial sector.

App developers can submit their entries by going to: appoftheyear.co.za.

The overall winner of the MTN Business App of the Year will walk away with a prize to the value of R200 000. This will go towards meeting the joint strategic goals with the winners via the MTN Start-up Programme, an initiative that seeks to assist innovators to turn their solutions into commercially viable and sustainable businesses through the potential of accessing MTN’s 231 million-strong subscriber base.

Treasury To Give SAA R10 Billion In Special Appropriation

National Treasury has agreed to give South African Airways a special appropriation of R10 billion by the end of September, director-general Dondo Mogajane told MPs on Wednesday.

"It will be for R10 billion, we have decided, because that will cover everything," he said during a briefing on the ailing airline’s latest quarterly results to Parliament’s standing committee on finance. 

The appropriation bill is due to be tabled in a special sitting and Mogajane said he hoped the legislature would agree to the measure, adding that the treasury would be forced to look at a "Plan B" if MPs refused to support it.

Mogajane said nine lenders have agreed to roll over debt that would become due at the end of the month, while Citibank has agreed to roll over a portion of the R1.761 billion the loss-making airline is due to repay by the 30th of September.

Some of the R10 billion will serve as working capital for the airline for the remainder of the financial year, while the rest will be used to pay lenders and service providers, according to Mogajane and chief financial officer Phumeza Nhantsi.

SAA relies on government guarantees of R20 billion and needed government’s help in July to cover its debt. Treasury paid R2.2 billion to Standard Charter earlier this year, with money taken from government’s emergency fund.

Treasury’s announcement follows much speculation about the form of further financial aid to the airline, following a leak of a proposal to sell Telkom’s shares to recapitalise SAA.

Mogajane said the bill would not be linked to the proposed sale, which would raise an estimated R14 billion.

The briefing saw SAA concede that none of the five assumptions on which it has based its turnaround strategy had materialised.

These were SAA being a going concern, debtors extending terms for a minimum of three years, government giving a capital injection of at least R13 billion over three years, as well as the retiring of five excess wide-body aircraft and the retention of all the narrow-body aircraft in its fleet.

One of its narrow-body aircraft have been retired and five more would follow by the end of the month.

This will lead to a reduction of 37 percent of its share of the local market and four percent of the international market but is meant as part of cost-saving measures.

Nhantsi said overall costs were reflecting an improvement compared to the last financial year but the airline remained beleaguered by stagnant revenue growth and rising finance costs. (via African News Agency)  

Competition Commission Prosecutes Beef Supplier And Juice Maker For Dividing Markets

The Competition Commission said on Wednesday that a beef supplier and juice making company have been prosecuted for dividing the markets.

Beefcor and Cape Fruit Processors (CFP) have been charged with division of markets by allocating customers in contravention of section 4 of the Competition Act.

Beefcor operates in Bronkhorstspruit on the border between the Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces while CFP operates in Paarl in the Western Cape.

The Commission said its investigation revealed that Beefcor and CFP entered into two bilateral agreements called the "Use Agreement and Supply Agreement" in which they agreed not to compete with each other in the processing of wet peels and citrus peel pulp used to produce livestock feed. 

Wet peels and citrus peel pulp are by-products in the production of fruit juice.

The Commission said the companies agreed that CFP will not sell the wet peels and citrus peel pulp to any other entity without the express written permission of Beefcor.

The agreement is believed to have been in existence from at least 2016 and was still ongoing.

"This agreement constitutes market division by allocating customers in contravention of section 4(1)(b)(ii) of the Competition Act, No 89 of 1998, as amended," the Commission’s spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said in a statement. 

The Commission has decided to refer the matter to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution and seeks an order that Beefcor and CFP are liable to pay an administrative penalty equivalent to 10 percent of their respective annual turnover. (African news Agency)

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