Monday, October 30, 2006

Are South African banks finally coming round?

My displeasure with the lack of small business support from South African banks are well documented and its safe to say that I'm not a fan by any stretch of the imagination.

Recent developments by a number of banks and specifically Nedbank really seems to be a step in the right direction. With new small business banking offerings and the recent announcement of a technological breakthrough that will make credit card payment available to most small businesses, it really seems that Nedbank is determined to change the negative public perception towards the lack of support for small business and entrepreneurs.

Following the trend from US and UK banks, Nedbank is now offering 1 year (and up to 2) of free banking to new businesses as well as much needed access to start-up finance via a minimum R100 000 start-up loan.

Nedbank also announced a great new service that will enable small businesses to accept credit or debit card payments via their mobile phones. Read the full story in the sabusinesshub forum.

These new services of course is very welcome but also very exciting as it will force other dinosaurs like ABSA, FNB and the others to become more pro-active in supporting small business owners whilst competing for your and our custom.

Lets trust that this is the first step towards better relations between corporate giants and small business.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Are you a world cup entrepreneur yet?

Considering how fast this year has flown by, we all know that if you procrastinate for to long you will miss the opportunity to benefit from the 2010 world cup. If you have not doing so yet and you intend to be a world cup entrepreneur, its time to start, today.

Phone sabusinesshub today for support every step of the way on 0861287482

For a few details of opportunities available (if you have not come up with your own yes) can be found at SEDA

Details of full story here

Happy starting

Increasing VC activity in SA

The world-wide trend of increased confidence in VC funding, especially in the technology sector is spilling over to South Africa. With a number of very high profile Tech success stories hitting the headlines in the last months, its great to see that Venture Capital firms in South Africa are not staying behind.

Once of the better known VC firms in SA namely HBD Ventures headed up by Mark Shuttelworth recently announced that they will be investing in a sport technology firm called EDH.

For the full story click here:
For details of VC firms in South Africa, click on Venture Captital under Catagories on the right of this blog.

Shuttleworth Calls for early stage VC Funding

Mark Shuttleworth, the well know technology entrepreneur turned Venture Capitalist, who heads up the venture firm HBD recently called for more VC firms to become active, especially in the early stages of start-ups in South Africa. With so many VC firms being prepared to only get involved in the growth stages of new firms, many small firms are of the opinion that VC firms are to keen to feed of the spoils once most of the risk and hard work has been taken on.

Full story here:

Friday, October 27, 2006

Humor: Of course we understand each other

Many thanks to who ever created this one. It really makes me wonder how often we think we understand but actually only understands our version of a conversation.

George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?

Condi: Sir, I have a report about the new leader of China.

George: Great. Lay it on me.

Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.

George: That's what I want to know.

Condi: That's what I'm telling you.

George: That's what I'm asking. Who is the new leader of China?

Condi: Yes.

George: I mean the fellow's name.

Condi: Hu.

George: The guy in China.

Condi: Hu.

George: The new leader of China.

Condi: Hu.

George: The main man in China!

Condi: Hu is leading China.

George: Now whaddya' asking me for?

Condi: I'm telling you, Hu is leading China.

George: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?

Condi: That's the man's name.

George: That's who's name?

Condi: Yes.

George: Will you, or will you not, tell me the name of the
new leader of China?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he's
dead in the Middle East.

Condi: That's correct.

George: Then who is in China?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir is in China?

Condi: No, sir.

George: Then who is?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir?

Condi: No, sir.

George: Look Condi. I need to know the name of the new
leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N.
on the phone.

Condi: Kofi?

George: No, thanks.

Condi: You want Kofi?

George: No.

Condi: You don't want Kofi.

George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a
glass of milk. And then get me the U.N.

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.

Condi: Kofi?

George: Milk! Will you please make the call?

Condi: And call who?

George: Who is the guy at the U.N?

Condi: Hu is the guy in China.

George: Will you stay out of China?!

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the
guy at the U.N.

Condi: Kofi.

George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on
the phone

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Venture funding South Africa: Trade

This weeks venture funding sources focus on the trade sector. Here are ten active .
investors in South Africa. Some of them may take hard work and resilience to convince but it will be worth your while if it means you get the funding you need.

Zephyr Africa

Funding for most development stages, except seed and start-up Private Equity Company P.O.Box 55955, Northlands, 2116 1st Floor Unihold House, 22 Hurlingham Road,Illovo,Johannesburg Mr M Jennings 011-268 6911

Venture Capital Managers
This fund focuses on manufacturing and technology industries. Private Equity Company Block F, Hurlingham Office Park, Woodlands Avenue,Hurlingham,Johannesburg Mr N Charlton 011-787 0252 Biotechnology, Finance/Insurance, Health Care, Industrial/Energy, Information Techn, Manufacturing, Media, Mining, Retail, Services, Telecommunications, Trade

United Nations Development Programme
A donor providing developmental assistance. Donor PO Box 6541,Pretoria,0001 351 Schoeman Street,Pretoria,0001 Mr J. Ohiorhenuan 012-338 5005

Swiss Development Corporation
International development corporation Donor Private Bag X37,Hatfield,Pretoria,0028 1185 Park Street,Hatfield,Pretoria Mr G Pfister 012-362 2972

Aquila Growth Ltd
Aquila is looking to back entrepreneurs and SA businesses that have a unique selling proposition. Private Equity Company 13 Sloane Street,Bryanston,Johannesburg Mr P Papas 011-706 8928

BOE Bank Limited
A bank providing commercial loans. Financial Institution Box 785802,Sandton,Johannesburg,2146 75 Grayston Avenue,Sandton,Johannesburg,2146 Mr W Rauch 011-286 4011

Bridging Finance Scheme (from IDC)
Bridging Finance is aimed at entrepreneurs who have secured firm contracts - except for construction. Development Agency, Financial Institution PO Box 784055,Sandton,Johannesburg,2146 19 Fredman Drive,Sandown,Johannesburg,2196 Mr A Malinga 011-269 3869

Catalyst Innovations
This fund focuses on all stages of development, except seed and start-up capital. Private Equity Company 11 Park Road,Gardens,Cape Town,8001 Mr D Jenman 021-423 6940

CDC Capital Partners
Private equity house providing growth and replacement capital to management teams and companies in a range of industries Private Equity Company 1st Floor, Cradock Heights, 21 Cradock Avenue,Rosebank,Johannesburg Mr D Morley 011-788 5900

Central 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 4300,Johannesburg,2000 3 Caxton Street,Industrial,Johannesburg,2001 Mr K Van Heerden 011-470 3111

Monday, October 23, 2006

Business tips when starting from scratch

There are so many of these top tips around now. Learn what you can from them or create your own version and remind yourself every week.

1. Start with the end in mind

Most journeys start with the end in mind and your business should be no different. Yes of course your business can grow far bigger and diverse from anything you ever had in mind, but to start with you need to be aiming towards where you want to be. If your goal is to make more money, how much more is more? Get a clear idea of what you want so that you have a focus.

2. New problems demands new solutions

Make a conscious decision to do this. Presumably, whatever you have been doing has not worked so far; so admit it and open up to new ways of doing things.

3. Get a Coach or mentor

Not everyone will have access to someone of influence who has done what they are trying to do. But, thanks to the Coaching profession, you can now get someone who is not only experienced and willing, but also qualified to help you.

4. If your not prepared to spend money then why will your clients be different.

A lot of people look for freebies, which has its place. However, when it comes to making money, more often than not, you have to spend money to get where you want to go. Join a Mentoring group; attend Seminars; use your money as a tool and invest in yourself.

5. Associate with Like-minded People.

Whatever you are trying to achieve, chances are, someone has done it before. Find people who are heading the same way and associate with them. Find out what makes them tick. Emulate them.

6. Join a Networking group.

Business networks will not only put you in contact with everything your business needs, from raw material to clients, but will also provide you with support and camaraderie when you need it.

7. Act on New Information and Ideas in A Timely Manner.

So many great ideas never materialize due to over-rationalization. Once you have a good idea that has been put through due processes, go for it. The longer you wait, the more susceptible to FEAR you will become.

8. Decide On One Idea At A Time.

There is nothing wrong with having many ideas but don't be a jack of all trades. Choose one idea at a time and give it one hundred percent of your time and efforts.

9. Create Instant Momentum.

Start the ball rolling right away to create the momentum which will keep you going. Tell people about your new business; print your business cards; anything to keep you going and make it hard for you to back off.

10. Don't Be Afraid to Start Small.

Small does not mean weak. Five clients paying you R990 each per month may not seem like much at first, but what will happen if they all gave you 5 referrals every month on a rolling basis? Baby-steps, whilst highly underrated, can be an incredibly powerful business building tool.

Top reasons for lone-entrepreneurs to fail

Most of these mistakes are made at any time of your business life cycle, so keep an eye out for the signs.

1. Lack of focus or clear objectives

Trying to do too many things. Being everything to everybody. What product or services do you deliver expertly every time? If you don’t know the answer to this question neither do your clients.

2. The entrepreneur or business owner is not clear on what they stand for.

This links in with the previous point. If you are not clear on where it is that you are going then it often very difficult or impossible to get there.

3. Lack of well thought out strategy

A business run in a happy go lucky, or lets deal with problems when they arise type of strategy can be very dangerous to the bank balance. Results are scattered and you are always chasing the next wave. No clear direction. Need to set strategic plans for the year with action items and timeliness and track quarterly.

4. A poor, unreserved or not based on results type of marketing plan

Marketing efforts are not identifiable. Marketing is unstructured, follow up is non-existent and there is no clear identification of opportunities and where each opportunity stands in relation to turning into profitable business. Time for a forecasting tool to focus and track marketing efforts.

5. Customer service do not come first attitude

No measurable standard for customer service. Assumption is all staff are providing excellent customer service. If you cannot define your customer service levels, neither can your customers. If you don’t measure customer satisfaction you simply do not know how satisfied your customers are.

6. Lack of clear and well thought out business processes in place.

The fewer planned and tested processes in place in your business, the higher the probability that things can and will go wrong.

7. Review and adjust is not part of the strategy.

If you don't review your results and adjust your strategy in response, then how can you expect to improve your product or service?

8. Lack of vision

Not stopping and taking the time to daydream a little. So caught up in operating the business that can’t see the bigger picture. Some time away in rest, relaxation and rejuvenation gives a new perspective to why you’re in business.

9. To many balls in the air

Entrepreneurs are well known to think they can make a success of anything and every thing. This may be true for some, but even the hyper-successful entrepreneurs know that you need to focus on one idea at a time. Unless you have specific teams allocated to specific ventures, it will be very difficult for a business to create success without focus.

10. Remember to be excited

Always remember why you are in business in the first place. If you are no longer passionate and excited about what you do, it may be time to move on.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Business idea of the week: Exporting African Coffee

Staying with export, our idea this week focus on finding new markets for the great coffee now found in Africa.

Coffee as enjoyed by most of us, not only is South Africa but across the globe have traditionally been produced and sold in South America, India and Arabia.
Although this black gold has also been produced throughout Africa for many generations, it is only now that areas like the US and Europe have started to enjoy African Coffee. The demand for African coffee has further increased in the last few years with the awareness created around free trade, of which free trade coffee has been one of the most popular.
Today popular coffee franchises like Startbucks, Coffee republic, Nero and many others are selling African coffee by the packet load and coffee production in countries like Rwanda and Nigeria can't keep up with the demand.

The opportunity now exists for knowledgeable entrepreneurs or those with contacts in the right areas to get involved in both the production and export of Africa's new black gold.

Upside: Relatively low investment is needed with high profit margins for those entrepreneurs who can take charge of the production process. Low labor costs, high coffee prices and favorable exchange rates makes this one a winner.

Downside: Finding the right marketing channels and guaranteeing the quality of and reliability of supply may be tricky of you are not personally involved
Of course their is still the competition from traditional coffee producers.

Verdict: A great business idea that seems ideal for the South African entrepreneur with gusto, foreign contacts and a thirst for earning foreign currency.

Please contact me should you need further information and support with this idea.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Humor - Today on the stock market

So what really goes on at the stock market?

Today on the stock market

Helium was up, feathers were down.
Paper was stationary.
Fluorescent tubing was dimmed in light trading.
Knives were up sharply.
Cows steered into a bull market. Pencils lost a few points.
Hiking equipment was trailing.
Elevators rose, while escalators continued their slow decline.
Weights were up in heavy trading.
Light switches were off.
Mining equipment hit rock bottom.
Diapers remain unchanged.
Shipping lines stayed at an even keel.
The market for raisins dried up.
Coca cola fizzled.
Caterpillar stock inched up a bit.
Sun peaked at midday.
Balloon prices were inflated.
Scott Tissue touched a new bottom.

Please send yours in

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rough guide to successful export ventures

As so many of the latest business opportunities I have been mentioning and possible still will, are export based, I thought a short rough guide to exporting may be useful.

Identify your customers abroad

It is only logical that in order to learn more about your clients, you need to know who they are.

Who or what do you plan to sell your product to?
How do customers perceive themselves?
How do you plan to acquire customers?
What distribution methods will you need?
What features do your customers want?
What are they prepared to pay?
What form of advertising and promotion will be effective to produce sales and sell the product?
What will promotion and advertising cost?
Where is your target customer most likely to buy your product?
How important is price to a customer?
How important are product or service quality and convenience to your customer?

Focus on customers' needs. Listen to your customer.

Why should anybody buy your product or service?
What is the benefit or improvement in their condition?
Whose life will be enriched?
Who will get the greatest improvement from your product or service?
With which customers does your competitive advantage make a difference?
With which customers does your competitive advantage make the biggest difference?

Create your marketing plan

It's time to plan your marketing abroad. For the complete Micro Module on this, go to Planing Your Marketing

Now that you have decided to take your product abroad, it is essential that you plan your marketing. Your marketing plan should include the following
A summary of your market position and goals.

A definition of what you expect to accomplish in a specific time period.

A list of target markets, including segmentation and niche areas.

An appropriate strategy for each segment or market.

Expenses and resources, and how they will be allocated.

Marketing channels. This is where you choose the types of marketing materials and distribution vehicles that you will use to attract target customers, including fliers, postcards, email marketing, newsletters, Web site and more.

Evaluate and select methods of distributing your product abroad.

You can choose from a variety of means for distributing your product, from opening company-owned foreign subsidiaries to working with agents, representatives and distributors and setting up joint ventures. Learn how to set prices, negotiate deals and navigate the legal morass of exporting. Cultural, social, legal and economic differences make exporting a challenge for business owners who have only operated in the United States.
Tap government and private sources of financing—and figure out ways to make sure you are getting paid. Financing is always an issue, but government interest in boosting exporting and centuries of financial innovation have made getting funding and getting paid easier than ever.

Make your move

Move your goods to their international market, making sure you package and label them in accordance with regulations in the market you are selling to. The globalization of transportation systems helps here, but regulations are still different everywhere you go.

Ensure that your goods are ensured and that you have made fool proof arrangements to get paid. A Goods-in-transit policy can protect you from theft, loss or damage caused by accidents during transit and in some cases the consequences of any resulting delay. As with other forms of insurance, you will need to agree on the value of the goods. If the goods are new then this shouldn't’t be too much of a problem. You should check the type of cover being offered. New for old is obviously the better option but it can be expensive and you must ensure that you value the goods at their replacement rather than actual value.


Of course you can always find a suitable partner or partners in the countries you want to export to. This often the best option, especially if the other party can carry - or help you carry the financial risk.

Ensure effective payment mechanisms are in place. Getting the money across, especially with todays tight money laundering laws, can be a frustrating process.

For more help or advise on this, contact us at

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Language of Success

One of my all time favorite authors and long time mentor wrote this brilliant piece on how the use of language set us up for failure or success. Most of you will recognize these patterns within your selfs, and as they say, awareness is the first step towards a new intention, or as in this case, being successful.

Here goes:
Are you an aware and responsible participant in creating the context of
your business or relationships, or are you leaving this all-important
aspect of attracting and maintaining purposeful and prosperous
relationships to chance?

Context is that which influences the meaning or interpretation of
actions and events. For example (provided by my friend, Charlie
Badenhop), imagine that you've just played a winning soccer match. In
the exuberant celebration that follows, your teammates dowse you with a
pail of cold water. In comparison, imagine that you step out of your
office dressed in business attire, and a stranger dashes up and pours a
pail of cold water on you. How does your reaction to being dowsed change
with the change in context?

In business, context affects your vision, motivation, ambition, and
follows through. It also affects how others perceive and respond to your
offer. In other words, you are both the dowser and the dowsed.

Some aspects of context are outside of our control. Things happen.
Markets rise and fall. Yet some people thrive even in hard times. These
are the masters of context.

Masters of context concentrate on what they can influence and let go of
the rest. Masters of context pay keen attention to the mood they create
around their product and services and to the beliefs they hold about
themselves and about their customers and network. Masters of context are
rigorous about how they use language to make offers, requests, and

Notice how you participate in the context of your business. Are you
aware of the mood in which your offers live? Are you conscious of the
beliefs you hold? What does the way you speak and write tell your staff,
partners, clients and prospects?

For now, just notice without making an effort to change anything. Make
notes about what you notice. The simple shift into an open, spacious
curiosity within a clearing will produce some interesting results.

Masters of context are rigorous about how they use language to make
offers, requests, and promises. That's because masters of context know
that language not only describes the world but also creates it.

Requests, offers, and promises are intricately woven throughout the
fabric of your business. The manner in which you offer your products or
services, your capacity to make effective requests, and your ability to
follow through on your promises are affected by the context of your
business and, in turn, help to create that context.

Consider, for example, how the offer made by a massage therapist relates
to context, and how both in turn relate to the results of that offer. If
the offer is made by way of a loud sign in a rundown commercial strip
and supported by advertisements that use suggestive language and
imagery, prospective customers will interpret the offer of massage in a
sexual way. Customers will have an expectation about services and prices
related to the context.

Alternatively, an advertisement in the newsletter of a health club or
gym emphasizing the value of massage in maintaining peak condition and
recovering from injury will be interpreted in terms of health and
fitness. Again, customers will expect the range of services and prices
appropriate to this kind of massage in this cultural context.

A third possibility exists, and that is that the advertisement might
leave the prospective customer uncertain as to how to interpret the
offer. Customers may be left to wonder what kind of massage is offered
and to what ends. Because of the uncertainty it creates in the mind of
the customer, this kind of offer is unlikely to result in much business.
What's more, the vagueness may contribute to a context of doubt or

This doubt or uncertainty undermines your ability to make an attractive
offer. Whether from shyness or fear of being misunderstood, many
business owners are tentative and incomplete in the offers they make.
Not only do these incomplete offers fail to create a context for
success, they may be contributing to an atmosphere of hesitance,
uncertainty, or self-doubt which may further be interpreted as lack of
skill or commitment. In short, if your offers lack confidence, your
customers may conclude that you lack competence.

Likewise, in making requests or promises, we may fail to be complete.
Incomplete requests are either not noticed as requests or leave the
listener without a way to respond. Incomplete promises leave the
listener uncertain about what it is you are promising to do and
therefore they may remain open to competing offers and promises from
other businesses.

How are you being about your business offers? Is the nature and extent
of your offer clear? By what standards do you evaluate this? (Ask some
friends and clients for their feedback on your offers.)

Of whom do you typically make requests? Are their individuals or classes
of people of whom you always or never make requests?

Are you open to hearing "No" when you make a request?

How are you about responding to requests? Are you able to say "No" or to
make a counter-offer?

Is there a connection between your ability to say "No" and your comfort
with hearing "No"?

How is your offer related to the requests and promises you make in

Written by Pat Grove

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Untimely Death of a South African Entrepreneur

It was with sadness that I heard of the untimely death of Butch Kerzner today. The Kerzner family is known throughout South Africa and Butch together with his Farther Sol Kerzner were to of South Africa's more famous entrepreneurs and business men.

Butch died in a helicopter crash while working on a new project in Singapore.

My thoughts go out to the Kerzner family.


More news here

Revolutionary Red Espresso - ground breaking or damp squid?

Following a recent article in the Cape Town Business News reporting the creation of a revolutionary new beverage called Red Espresso. The idea is that instead of using the traditional recipe of extra strong coffee, Red Espresso will be made from super strong Rooibos tea.

Now as bit a coffee and tea drinker myself I'm thinking that I drink espresso when I need a bit of a boost and tea - specifically Rooibos, when relaxing. Will the Red Espresso be extra relaxing? Further more the question beckons, is the next step to create an super relaxing version of the popular Red Bull?

As an entrepreneur I congratulate the folks who cam up with this one as it really is something that few others have thought of and no-one yet brought to market. As a Coffee and tea drinker I have to suggest a bit of cautious optimism, just because your market research suggest that consumers think its a great idea, does not mean its going to be flying off the shelf. Either way - the best of luck to.

I sincerely hope that my pessimism comes back to haunt me on this one.

Full story here

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Humor: Lame but funny

If you're a bit despondent today and in the mood for a chuckle, here is a a few lame but funny ones from one of my clients. Enjoy!

How do crazy people go through the forest?
They take the psycho path.

How do you get holy water?
Boil the hell out of it.

What did the fish say when it hit a concrete wall?

What do Eskimos get from sitting on the ice too long?

What do prisoners use to call each other?
Cell phones.

What do you call a boomerang that doesn't work?
A stick.

What do you call cheese that isn't yours?
Nacho Cheese.

What do you call Santa's helpers?
Subordinate Clauses.

What do you call four bullfighters in quicksand?
Quatro sinko.

What has four legs, is big, green, fuzzy, and would kill
you if it fell out of a tree?
A pool table.

What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches?
A nervous wreck.

Why do bagpipers walk when they play?
They're trying to get away from the noise.

Why do gorillas have big nostrils?
Because they have big fingers

Did you hear about the flasher that was thinking about retiring?
He decided to stick it out for one more year.

What kind of coffee was served on the Titanic?

Entrepreneurial learning and commitment

Many years back when I was involved in doing coaching clinics for corporate professionals, we would often get calls from people who wanted to attend, but "couldn't afford" the price. Back then, we did a full day training (including lunch!) for R400 and the focus was on marketing, managing and building a profitable private practice. The comment that "I can't afford it" always amazed me especially considering that people in reality could not see the value of investing R400 in the future of their businesses and themselves.

If there is one investment that ALWAYS returns a generous profit, it is your investment in yourself. When you invest in your skills, in your attitudes, or in your personal growth, you always win and the investment benefits you as long as you are in business!

The fact that people think that an investment in themselves is to much to pay means only one thing. The person is refusing to commit to their future.

Never stop investing in yourself and ensure that you commit to yourself and your business none less than 100%. Specifically, what kinds of investments do I suggest? Here are three key areas:

1. Personal Growth. Read for the fun of it. Go to workshops and listen to tapes. Learn to play bridge or chess or backgammon. Rent and watch the great movies of the past 100 years. Join a club or group, or take up a new hobby. Do a personal retreat, attend workshops. It doesn't take time; it expands your life.

2. Social Effectiveness. Yes, I'm talking about classes on communication, parenting, and leadership. Be the best parent you can be. Be the best lover, the best friend, the best manager. Volunteer for committees in your club or house of worship. The more people you know, and the better your social skills, the bigger your world will become.

3. Professional Skills. I remember working at a clinic when budget cuts reduced funds for continuing education, and some of my colleagues decided that if the County wouldn't pay for them, they just wouldn't go. How short- sighted and foolish! Invest in your business, in your skills, in technology and in your future.

Learn all you can. Grow, expand, stretch. Attend seminars, learn from experts. Read. Listen. Get involved!

For info on building your own World Class Business, click here

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Top-10 Venture Finance sources - Retail

This week I look at South African finance sources for start-ups in the retail sector. There are a number of great funds around despite the application process being quite labor intensive and tedious. If you are successful, it will be worth all the time invested.

Best of luck with this, and once again, let me know if you need any support.

BOE Bank Limited A bank providing commercial loans.
Financial Institution Box 785802,Sandton,Johannesburg,2146 75 Grayston Avenue,Sandton,Johannesburg,2146 Mr W Rauch 011-286 4011

Venture Capital Fund (ABSA Corporate Bank)
The Venture Capital Fund complements the Core Portfolio Fund which is for more established businesses. Private Equity Company PO Box 8054, Johannesburg, 2000 180 Commissioner Street, Johannesburg Mr T Edmond 011-350 2558

Venture Capital Managers
This fund focuses on manufacturing and technology industries. Private Equity Company Block F, Hurlingham Office Park, Woodlands Avenue,Hurlingham,Johannesburg Mr N Charlton 011-787 0252

Zephyr Africa
Funding for most development stages, except seed and start-up Private Equity Company P.O.Box 55955, Northlands, 2116 1st Floor Unihold House, 22 Hurlingham Road,Illovo,Johannesburg Mr M Jennings 011-268 6911

Infrastructure and Logistics Programme (from DTI)
The role of the Logistics Programme is to develop the national logistics and supply chain capability. Government Private Bag X84,Pretoria,0001 Mr E Harris 012-310 1498

Ideas Fund (Old Mutual Asset Managers SA)
The IDEAS Fund is a fund that is focused on development which broadly means investment opportunities that increase economic capacity Private Equity Company PO Box 878,Cape Town,8000 Mr T Plaistowe 021-509 1197/5022

Greenfields Venture Capital (Pty) Ltd
Greenfields manages the Pick n Pay Ackerman Foundation, which focuses on most sectors, except property, liquor, gambling and tobacco. Private Equity Company PO Box 44436,Claremont,Cape Town,7735 Mr G Galiel 021-671 2820

Global Capital Private Equity Ltd
Being entrepreneurial by nature Global is opportunistic and provides more than just money. Global acts as the company's financial and business strategist, corporate advisor and confidant Private Equity Company P.O.Box 260362,Excom,2023 21 West Street,Houghton,Johannesburg,2198 Mr L Nestadt 011-728 0255

Fund IV (Ethos Private Equity)
Using the funds it manages, Ethos specialises in acquisitions that involve management participation. Private Equity Company 35 Fricker Road, Illovo,Sandton,Johannesburg,2196 Mr A Roux 011-328 7400 Biotechnology, Finance/Insurance, Health Care, Industrial/Energy, Information Techn, Manufacturing, Media, Mining, Retail, Services, Telecommunications, Trade

Embassy of Israel
A donor providing developmental assistance. Donor PO Box3726,Pretoria,0001 339 Hilda Street,Hatfield,Pretoria Mr T Herzl 012-342 2361

Monday, October 09, 2006

Business Idea of the week: Wine export to new economies

Our idea this week focused on providing an existing product to new markets. Wine export is certainly nothing new to South African entrepreneurs and our wines can be found in places that many of you may never have heard of. But with the global economy, global tourism and the westernization of many countries comes the change in tastes and of many of the worlds citizens.

Wine sales and especially red wine sales have dramatically increased in countries like Poland, Ireland and India, so to as much as ten fold of what is was 10 years ago. With quality wine a plenty in South Africa and the Rand de-valuing at an alarming pace, the time for exporting wine to new economies could not be better.

Upside: Apart from the already existing high reputation and low prices of South African wine, the Rand is expected to fall even further in 2007. This opportunity can get of the ground with a relatively low initial investment.

Downside: Advertising abroad is expensive and it may initially be challenging to build your reputation if you are not physically present.
There is allot of competition from wine regions in Australia, Chile, the US and Europe.
Verdict: A great business idea that seems ideal for the South African entrepreneur with gusto, foreign contacts and a thirst for earning foreign currency.

PLease contact me should you need further information and support with this idea.

A round of applause please!

Cape Town Start-up lands dream contract

A Cape Town based start-up has landed a dream contract and at the same time affirmed that local really is lekka, and South African start-up firms can compete with the best and win.

Full story here

The government can do better than this

Small businesses around the country that provide products and services to the government are asking to be paid faster. Many small business owners can identify with tight cash flow management. With business owners who sometimes have to wait for up to four months before invoices are settled, many small businesses are suffering.

For th efull article click here

Funny bits - Don't Mess With Kids!

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small.

The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.

Irritated, the teacher repeated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible.

The little girl said, "When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah."

The teacher asked, "What if Jonah went to hell?"

The little girl replied, "Then you ask him."

A Sunday school teacher: was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to "honor" thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"

Without missing a beat one little boy: (the oldest in his family) answered, "Thou shall not kill."

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray: "Take only ONE. God is watching."

Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. A child had written a note, "Take all you want. God is watching the apples."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

10 Signs that its time to adapt or die in your business

Many small business owners are so engaged in the day to day running of their own businesses that you totally loose track of reality, positioning, clients needs, and most importantly the well being of your business.

Many of you may have heard of the experiment done with a frog placed in a bowl with boiling water. If you place a frog in an empty bowl with cold water and gradually heat up the water until boiling, the frog will survive for a while, even after the water is boiling. If you simply pour boiling water over the frog, it will die instantly because of shock. Make sure that your business is not the frog who dies a slow and painful death.

Note: Please dont try the experiment at home, and I'm not advocating the killing of frogs in any way or form.

Here are a few clear signs that should act as flashing red lights that says: change immediately.

1. You find more and more competitors in your market.

An indication that it's a good market, but being fractioned. Unless what you offer is both different and better, look for another niche.

2. Your market disappears.

OK, you make the world's best buggy whips! Wake up.

3. Your interests and values are out of sync with your business.

A formula for business disaster and personal misery. Revisit your vision and mission--and align them with your values. Now start again.

4. Your customers are leaving for your competition.

Either figure out why and fix it or find another business.

5. You dread going to work in the morning.

Figure out why. If it can't be changed, do something else.

6. You notice your competitors changing.

Have you noticed that, like it or not, it's a race? Do what it takes to win or join another race.

7. Working on the business is taking more time than working in the business.

If your revenue can't support more help, find a way to simplify and streamline your business (your competitors probably are).

8. You're losing key employees to your competitors.

A sure sign of "trouble in River City!" Conduct "exit interviews" with departing employees--figure out what the competition's got that you don't.

9. Your business no longer supports your lifestyle.

Well, change either one or the other until they're in sync.

10. You're neither learning nor having fun any more.

Is this really a free loan to small business owners?

In a bold move and probably surprising to most observers of banking policies towards small business owners in South Africa, Nedbank this week announced that they will be offering free loans to small business owners. But how will this work? Is it the usual marketing nonsense with 50 strings attached or has a South African bank finally stepped up to the plate of supporting small business owners.

Bruce Whitfield of radio 702 recently interviewed Mark Rose is the head of Small Business Services at Nedbank

Your feedback and observations welcome

Read the full interview here: