[SA Business Week] Naspers breathe new life into startups, filmmakers train eyes West
The tech startup fever has spreading across the globe like bush-fire and Africa has not left out in this bandwagon. More and more people are coming into the tech space because technology never gets old and new inventions keep evolving. To keep up with these advancements, tech companies are now seeking to leverage the power of technology in order to profitably solve various world's problems.
However, just like any other business lack of adequate funds is a major challenge to most tech startups . Most of them depend on bootstrapping, crowdfunding, angel investments, venture capital , business incubators and accelerators, among other means, to remain viable. Fortunately this week, one of the largest technology investors in the world, Naspers, set up R1.4bn ($ 96m) Naspers Foundry fund to invest into South African technology startups. The money will fund and support startups seeking to address big societal needs. Naspers has its operations and investments in more than 120 countries and markets. Its portfolio spans across technology sectors as well as online classifieds, payments and fintech , online fast-food delivery, online travel, social and internet services, education , and health . Its ventures team is involved in finding and backing promising entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses across the world.
Another tech story that hit the South African business headlines this week is the announcement of a partnership between South African based fintech player, Ocean on 76 and UK-based fintech company, Fiskl. By this partnership, Fiskl is going to manage and manage every day tasks like invoicing, expense and time management on their mobile device and its fintech knowledge and experience , Ocean on 76 was definitely the right choice as Fiskl's investment and strategic partner across Africa. This partnership will go a long way to realize Fiskl's goal of making modern mobile business software available to more than 350 million small businesses across the world.
Still on investments this week, Ford Motor Company invested R11 billion, approximately $ 758 million, in its South African operations over the past decade . This culminates to its highest-ever installed production capacity for the Ford Ranger pick-up and the Everest seven-seater sport utility vehicle (SUV). The Managing Director, Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region , Mr. Neale Hill said that the past 10 years have seen a complete transformation for Ford's manufacturing operations in South Africa, adding that with a total investment of R11-billion since 2009, the company has progressed from a low-volume multi- vehicle business primarily serving domestic industry becoming a high-volume single platform manufacturer that's the Ranger production source for 148 markets globally.
Continuing with the automotive and partnerships this week, Isuzu Motors South Africa also partnered with Nelson Mandela University's Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Center (GMMDC) to provide innovative new teaching tools to three Port Elizabeth schools. According to Isuzu's Corporate Communications Manager Gishma Johnson, the latest GMMDC's program will enable Maths and Science to teach, revise and tutor learners through a new mobile teaching device, called Gamma Tutor, and curriculum-aligned Touch Tutor® software that does not require any internet connection in class. He added that integrating technology into teaching is the way that learning will take place in future and that Maths and Science are critical subjects for graduates who seek employment in the automotive industry.
There was another launch that happened this week; the launch of the revitalized Phuthaditjhaba Industrial Park at the Phuthaditjhaba Multi-Purpose Center in QwaQwa. The industrial park has been revitalized to the value of R50 million by the end of the Industrial Parks Revitalization Program. This launch was a collaboration effort between the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA), Free State Development Corporation (FDC), and the Thabo Mofutsanyane District and Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipalities. The Industrial park will boost the local economy and create jobs for members of the local communities.
In international relations, South Africa and Germany poised to strengthen their bilateral relations and work together in pursuit of African development and global peace and security. This mutual commitment flowed from a meeting in Berlin, Germany, between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tueday this week. In his meeting with Chancellor Merkel, President Ramaphosa expressed South Africa’s appreciation for Germany’s ongoing bilateral assistance in critical development areas like health and skills development. Beyond bilateral governmental relations, South Africa’s relationship with Germany is reflected in the record number of German tourists – over 300,000 – who visited South Africa in 2016. Germany is also South Africa’s third largest trade partner with approximately 100 000 people employed by 600 German companies active in South Africa.
A report released this week by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown revealed Standard Bank to be the most valuable South African brand, with a brand value of $4.79 billion. The bank scooped the No.1 brand in the first BrandZ™ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands ranking. With a combined value of $42.6 billion, the BrandZ Top 30 Most Valuable South African Brands ranking is notable for its diversity, covering several industry categories including banks, telecom providers, retail, insurance, fast food, beer, hospitals, oil & gas, entertainment and airlines. The region is notably becoming a fast rewarding place to do business and the ranking flags the potential for brands to grow locally and globally. Brands will however need to work hard to stand out from competitors in the digital landscape where offerings are increasingly homogenized.
Last but not least, the South Africa filmmakers are in America on an investment mission. The filmmakers are participating in the American Film Market (AFM) in Los Angeles. The group is an outward investment and television investment mission that has been organized and funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti). They are on a mission to open up markets for the South African film and television productions, securing partnerships for co-productions, and positioning the South African film industry as a filmmaking destination. The American Film Market is regarded as the world's largest film production business market. Apart from attending numerous conferences, workshops, screenings, networking sessions, presentations and exhibitions, the filmmakers will also visit various prominent American studios and production houses such as NBC, Sony and Disney.