Friday, August 18, 2006

Top 10 Venture finance sources – Information Technology

This week and for a few months to come I will be featuring my various Top Ten lists as far as venture finance in South Africa is concerned. The focus will be on industries such as IT, Manufacturing, Bio-tech, Trade, Social funds and others.

Herewith the first Top Ten on Information Technology VC funds.

Please do contact me if you need any guidance in approaching these organisations.

Support Programme for Industrial Innovation - SPII
Financing aimed at industrialists/ entrepreneurs wanting to develop SA-based products or processes that represent significant technological advantage, over existing products.
PO Box 784055,Sandton,Johannesburg,2146 19 Fredman Drive,Sandown,Johannesburg,2196
Mr M Hunkin
011 -269 3552

West Fund (Business Partners)
In addition to Venture Capital and Private Equity, Business Partners is also the premier investor in lifestyle businesses.
Private Equity Company
PO Box 1745,Port Elizabeth,6000 266 Govan Mbeki Avenue,Port Elizabeth,
Mr P Mey

Viking Investments and Asset Management
This fund focuses on seed and start-up capital for most industries, excluding agriculture.
Private Equity Company
Venture House Peter Place Park, 54 Peter Place,Bryanston,Johannesburg
Mr M Walsh

Treacle Venture Managers
Treacle is a venture capital and private equity partnership focused on providing a superior service. Private Equity Company
P.O.Box 911, Cramerview, 2060 Gleneagles, Fairway Office Park, 52 Grosvenor Road,Bryanston,Johannesburg
Mr C Botha
011-463 7476

Technology Transfer Guarantee Fund (Khula)
The objective of the Technology Transfer Guarantee Fund is to provide loan guarantees for SMMEs for the sole purpose of acquiring manufacturing technology.
PO Box 4197,Rivonia,Johannesburg,2128 Mellis Park, Bradenham Hall 7 Mellis Road,Rivonia,Johannesburg,2128
Ms S Morekhure
011-807 8464

Rock-IT Private Equity Ventures
Rock-IT is a private equity and venture capital fund. The fund focuses on the information technology and electronic communications sectors.
Private Bag X116,Centurion,Pretoria,46 5 Bellingham Street, Hone Highveld,Centurion,Pretoria
Mr N Venter
012-665 9083

Information and Communication Technology Programme
This programme features projects that focus on research, development, internship opportunities for youth, investment promotion and cluster development Government
PO Box 902,Groenkloof,Pretoria,0027 SABS Building, No 1 Dr Lategan Road,Groenkloof,Pretoria,
Mr A Manzoni
012-428 7673

Gensec - Archway Technology Venture
Due to previous successes, this fund was launched as a successor to an earlier fund, focusing on Technology.
3A Summit Road,Dunkeld West,Johannesburg
Mr L Bruhns
011-778 6242

African Harvest Capital
African Harvest Capital houses all the investment banking activities of African Harvest.
Private Equity Company
Private Bag X1005,Claremont,Cape Town,7700 Post Net Suite 28,Claremont,Cape Town
Mr N Gugushe 011 263 9500

Innovation Fund - (from NRF)
The Innovation Fund provides grants to fund the end-stage research process where research knowledge can lead to improved products and services Government
PO Box 6200,Pretoria,0001
Meiring Naude Road,Brummeria,Pretoria,0001 Ms L Sukhdeo
012-481 4217

Let me know if you know of a fund that should be included here.

Humor: Razor Sharp Comebacks

I hope you enjoy these... and never have any occasion to find them useful in real life!

Snappy Answer #1
A flight attendant was stationed at the departure gate to check tickets. As a man approached, she extended her hand for the ticket, and he opened his trench coat and flashed her. Without missing a beat she said, "Sir, I need to see your ticket, not your stub."

Snappy Answer #2
A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, but couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, "Do these turkeys get any bigger?" The stock boy replied, "No ma'am, they're dead."

Snappy Answer #3
The cop got out of his car and the kid who was stopped for speeding pulled down his window. "I've been waiting for you all day," the cop said. The kid replied, "Yeah, well I got here as fast as I could." When the cop finally stopped laughing, he sent the kid on his way without a ticket.

Snappy Answer #4

A truck driver was driving on the freeway with an over-size load. Suddenly a lower than usual bridge is right ahead of him and he gets stuck underneath. Cars are backed up for miles. Finally, a police car comes up. The cop gets out of his car and walks around to the truck driver, puts his hands on his hips and says, "Got stuck, heh?" The truck driver says, "No, I was delivering this bridge and ran out of gas.

Friday, August 11, 2006

6- Keep your eye on the bigger picture

Never lose sight of your end goal or your dream of success. Where do you want to be in ten years? What do you want to be doing? I know how hard it is trying to get the daily job done sometimes, but keep your vision alive and let it steer you in your search for success. Let it be the drive that keeps you going. Every morning before you start, do something that will bring you a little closer to your dream.

Lets face it, if it were easy, everybody would succeed. To succeed you must dedicate yourself to doing what needs done not working on the clock. You must have the patience and persistence to tough out the hard times, and oh yes, there are hard times. Be prepared to sacrifice your time and too often your social and personal life in the pursuit of success.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

5- Focus on the wants and needs of your clients - not yours

What it all comes down to is knowing the who, what, where and why of your target customers. The success of your business is not the sum total of the knowledge you have gained, it still is and always will be, the "sale". Success is determined by what products sell and how well they sell. It isn't what you know that counts, it's what your customers want. If you lose sight of this fact, you are doomed to failure. Never lose sight of the fact that marketing your customers' wants is your number one priority.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

4- Look For Opportunities, Not Problems

In my book an entrepreneur is someone who sees solutions where other sees problems. You are an entrepreneur because others are prepared to pay you to solve their problems. Remember this is your day to day work and your mind set as an entrepreneur. The entrepreneurs mind set says 'What If' not 'yes but'.

You will find challenging situations every day. Your real power as an entrepreneur lies in being pro-active not re-active.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Welcome Export support for SA Entrepreneurs

I was delighted to read a recent article in Business Day announcing good news for South African entrepreneurs looking to enter the export market to Europe. With the value of the Rand dwindling and these in the know saying that it will further deteriorate next year, there has seldom been a better time to focus you entrepreneurial thinking on the export market.

With the news that The Swiss Import Promotion Program or Sippo are now offering extensive support, both financially and knowledge. South African entrepreneurs who have been eying the market can now no longer have an excuse.

I trust that this opportunity will deliver as much as it promises. With recent global entrepreneurship surveys indicating that SA entrepreneurship and innovation is lagging behind many other countries, we is South Africa need all the 'real' support we can get.

3- Focus on making more than just a living

If you are still working for someone else, you probably know how much you will be bringing home next week. But when running your own business, you have to remember to focus on making a profit and that means high sales and low overhead. No one signs your check now. To survive you must be focused on how you will make a profit today, tomorrow and next week. You must find ways to keep costs down to the exception of affecting your profit making capabilities.

Monday, August 07, 2006

2- No time like the present

What do you want for your business? In one word, I would think that you want results. Results come from hard work. I realise that some may say that this is an assumption but up to now, in all y years of working in small businesses I have never come across sustainable success that has not been created by hard work. You either succeed or fail. You make money or go under.

Does this mean you should not get into daily routines? Of course not. As long as your routine is helping you get a profitable result, then they are not considered ruts, but pathways to success. Think of it this way. Efficiency is getting the job done right, effectiveness is getting the right job done.

Start today, never put off till tomorrow what you can do today as tomorrow will hold its own challenges.

1st Considerations for starting a business

Be prepared to let go of what you have for who you can become. This is the hardest one of all. Most of us were brought up to seek out and cling to the security of the 9-5 job. What happens when you mention to your family that you want to leave the security of your pension and go out on your own. They will probably advise you to be sure, to step carefully, to take your time. Some may even advise you against it completely.
Are they financially independent?
Did they have what it takes to go out on their own?
Are they living the life that they want?
One way to avoid getting caught up in this security trap is to set a confirmed time that you will leave your job.

Real worth and wealth is generated from within you. It comes from being prepared, knowing how to spot, act upon and capitalize from opportunities.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Steps to consider when starting a business in South Africa

Apart from the usual steps followed when getting your business of the ground, there are also a number of other issues to be considered. Over the next week I'll be discussing a few issues that in my mind is essential to being successful with your start-up.

Starting your own business is one of the most challenging journeys you can take in life. All business owners will tell you that there are ups and downs, highs and lows...and tremendous personal rewards.

Very few new business ideas are unique. It’s more than likely that you’ll be setting up in competition with other businesses, some of which will be established and doing well. Winning business from them won’t be easy, so to make a success of your new venture you’ll need to think about what makes you and your company special. What will persuade customers to come to you? What will make them buy and what will make them come back for more?

The answer starts with you. In the early days, your business will be very much a reflection of your personality and just getting through the start-up process will depend on your ability to handle all the issues that arise. Think about the skills you have to help you and to give your business an advantage. Make a thorough assessment of your weaknesses as well, but don’t be discouraged, nobody’s perfect! If you can think of areas to improve, gaining some new skills could turn out to be the trigger you need to get started on developing a new business. And if your weaknesses can’t be improved there are always ways of working round them.

Traditionally, entrepreneurial ability tended to focus on initiative, decision-making, innovation and risk-taking, defining the characteristics of those who chose to become entrepreneurs. Now, however, with corporate downsizing being a fact of life, many entrepreneurs find themselves thrust into the role by default. Look at the following issues that will impact on your ability to be a successful entrepreneur and see how you can utilize these ideas to improve your chances of being and successful entrepreneur.

Steps to follow.. Ben

Thursday, August 03, 2006

11 to 20 of the most common ecommerce mistakes by small business in South Africa

For those of you who were wondering where the rest of the top 20 is, let me put you out of your misery. Most of the small business owners, including myself did at some point and I have no doubt will again make some of these mistakes. How do we react and correct these mistakes once made? This could be costly but very much necessary to reaching your objectives.

Mistake 11 - Inefficient Site Design

Mistake 12 - Not Accepting Credit Cards On line

Mistake 13 - Not Addressing Security Requirements

Mistake 14 - Not Understanding and Addressing Fulfillment Issues

Mistake 15 - Lack of Customer-Centered Focus

Mistake 16 - Inadequate Site Contents

Mistake 17 - Not Having An On line Newsletter

Mistake 18 - Not Properly and Effectively Using Search Engines to Your Advantage

Mistake 19 - Not Marketing The Site Mistake 20 - Not Maintaining Your Site Once It Is Built

For further details on this and possible solutions, look out for my forthcoming Ebooks, which a little birdie tells me may be free to all 'viva small business' subscribers.

To your success,


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

10 of the 20 top ecommerce mistakes in south Africa

With more and more entrepreneurs in South Africa taking the ecommerce plunge I thought it may be useful to mention some common ecommerce mistakes.

Here are 10 of the top 20. For details on how to overcome these watch out for my forthcoming ebook, Overcoming the 20 most common ecommerce mistakes.

The Mistakes
Mistake 1 - Lack of Business Experience
Mistake 2 - Not "Looking Before You Leap"
Mistake 3 - Weak Organizational and Senior Management "Buy-In"
Mistake 4 - Financial Issues
Mistake 5 - A Short-Term Mentality
Mistake 6 - No e-Business Plan
Mistake 7 - Not Investigating the Competition
Mistake 8 - Not Fully Developing the "Compelling Reason" For Your Site
Mistake 9 - Undisciplined Growth
Mistake 10 - Unrealistic Revenue Projection

To your success,


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

SA Small Business: Hungry for expertise and finance

According to a recent survey, the South African small business sector is in dire need of expertise and finance. To anyone who has worked as a coach or mentor to small business owners, this fact has been clear fro a very long time. Thus far I have not come across a better solution than that of coaching, which is precisely why the SABusinessPlan's country wide business support hub structure is being put into place. Why not join the revolution?

Details of the survey here:

R1bn not all entrepreneurs need

With a massive R1bn set aside specifically to support new entrepreneurs the only thing this initiative needs is some direction and solid support from entrepreneurs themselves. Who better to support new and starting businesses than those who are running successful businesses themselves. Stop spending these valuable resources on fat cat salaries and bureaucratic management structures, and use it for what it is intended: Ben

See the sabusinesshub forum for details of the accompanying article