Today’s Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (25 April)
ECDC Funds Cooperatives in the Eastern Cape in the Agriculture, Manufacturing and Services Sectors
The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) says that, through its Imvaba Co-operatives Fund, it has disbursed a total of R80,7m to 153 cooperatives in the Eastern Cape – mainly to enterprises in agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors.
Speaking at the OR Tambo Farmer’s Day and Potato Production Programme Launch in Mthatha, ECDC acting Imvaba Co-operative Fund manager Simphiwe Ntshweni says of the R80,7m, R3,357m went to seven potato producing cooperatives in the OR Tambo District Municipality last year alone. The funds were used to buy agricultural inputs such as fertilisers, seeds, and pesticides. The seven cooperatives have planted 26 hectares of potatoes in this their first season. Initial yield estimates indicate a yield of 1,500 10kg bags of potatoes per hectare at harvest at these cooperatives.
The seven cooperatives which have 61 members are Vukamntomtsha Agricultural Primary Co-operative (Mthatha), Ngethemba Agricultural Primary Co-operative, Mampingeni General Suppliers and Multi-purpose Primary Co-operative, Living Dreams Farming Primary Co-operative, Lusikiki Potato Farming Primary Co-operative, Xhamla Mzantsi Farming Co-operative as well as Masiphakamise Ulimo Agricultural Primary Co-operative.
“The OR Tambo Farmers’ Day and Potato Production Programme Launch are a combination of the annual Potato South Africa’s farmers’ information day and the official launch of the joint support by ECDC, Kei Fresh Produce Market and Potato South Africa to local potato producers which coincides with their first harvest.
“We are pleased with the partnership with Kei Fresh Produce Market which provides a market for the products of the potato producing cooperatives while linking them with distribution channels for their products. Industry association Potato South Africa and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) came on board to offer skills, training, mentoring and technical support to improve the competitiveness of the cooperatives so that they are able to compete with their commercial counterparts,” says Ntshweni. (via Bizcommunity)
Western Cape To Grow Business Ties With Incoming French Government
The Western Cape Investment and Trade and Promotion Agency (Wesgro) said on Monday it was closely monitoring the remaining leg of the first round of France’s most contested and controversial election with the aim of growing business ties with France and the European Union (EU).
Widely considered a gateway to the EU, France remains an important connection for the Cape.
Europe is ranked as the Western Cape’s strongest contributor to tourist arrivals and France was the province’s fifth-largest tourist arrival source market in 2015 with 76,736 French citizens visiting the region.
Wesgro said it was taking steps to ensure continued tourism, trade and investment between France and the Cape in anticipation of a new administration.
In 2015, the Western Cape’s dominant export product to France was wine, while nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances were the province’s most prominent French imports.
A total of 15 foreign direct investment projects were recorded from France into the Western Cape over the period 2003-2015.
Wesgro is also a supporter of business club Le Cap40 as well as French South African Tech Labs (FSAT Labs), an incubator and accelerator for French and South African tech start-ups, based in Century City, Cape Town. (via African News Agency)
Innovate Ventures Re-Runs Successful Tech Accelerator for Somali Startups
Innovate Ventures is running for a second year their tech start-up accelerator – The Innovate Accelerator. Launched in partnership with VC4A, Telesom and Oxfam as part of Work in Progress project, Innovate Accelerator saw over 180 applications submitted for last year’s inaugural cohort.
This year the programme is extended to 12 weeks and the top 3 start-ups from the 2017 cohort will receive up to $15,000 in investment from Innovate Ventures Fund. The programme aims to support and invest in the next wave of tech start-ups in Somaliland and Somalia and grow the nascent start-up ecosystem in the country.
Applications will be accepted online from start-ups based in Somaliland or Somalia and founded by entrepreneurs under the age of 35. Initially, 12 to 15 start-ups will be selected for a one week long bootcamp based on the potential of the team, the scalability and commercial viability of the product or service espoused, and the traction attained to-date. From these start-ups 10 will be selected for the Innovate Accelerator programme and will receive mentoring and training on how to build a commercially viable and scalable technology business. The start-ups will also receive introductions to leading companies and investors in the Somali region.
The accelerator programme will culminate in a Demo Day where last year’s graduates have received investment and clients. The top 3 start-ups will receive a total of $15,000 in equity investment from the Innovate Ventures Fund.
“Building on our previous success in supporting businesses in Somaliland and Somalia, this accelerator programme is intended to help further grow the tech scene and provide start-ups the mentoring and investment they need,” says Dr. Abdigani Diriye, Director of Innovate Ventures.
The Innovate Accelerator has opened applications and will close on 30th June 2017. The next 2 months will see workshops and info sessions being run for start-ups, investors and potential applicants held jointly by VC4A and Innovate Ventures as part of their roadshow in Somaliland. Start-ups can apply for the Innovate Accelerator programme via the online application form.