Tuesday, 27 October 2015

BizNews picks up my article on reforming our innovation and venture capital ecosystem

BizNews, owned and run by veteran financial journalist Alec Hogg, ran my piece on what SA needs to do to stimulate and support innovation and high-growth businesses. Click here to read it.

South Africa lags badly in this sector - venture capital financing innovation to stimulate and support new businesses and which create large numbers of jobs.

Is government listening?

There are moves afoot, but they do not go far enough.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

City of Johannesburg negligence: Public Protector sticks up for a small business owner

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to Afternoon Drive on 702 with Xolani Gwala, and caught the tail end of a call from a very distressed man who related how negligence by the City of Joburg had resulted in his business closing down and him losing everything. No-one was listening to him and all attempts to get the city to respond had failed. The City was even ignoring a report by the Public Protector that found against the City, and called for remedial action.

I called 702 and asked for this man's details and not long afterwards we were in contact. His name is Tshepo Kgaudi, and his business was the PhindiK line of shoes, designed in South Africa, made in and imported from Brazil.

What I discovered was truly shocking. For five years, the City had done everything possible to protect itself and an ANC local councillor of dubious ethics, Councillor Mzwandile Zwane,  from admitting its liability in the chain of events leading to the closure of the business.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Press statement: Small Business Ministry misses every one of its performance targets

Democratic Alliance press statement by
Toby Chance MP
DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development 

Small Business Ministry misses every one of its performance targets

16 October 2015
Release: immediate

The Small Business Development Department’ 2014/15 Annual Report reveals that Lindiwe Zulu’s newly formed ministry has failed dismally in fulfilling its mandate by missing every single one of its performance targets for the year. 

Amid a crippling national unemployment crisis, the department was set up to support the small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMME) sector in creating new jobs and to “lead an integrated approach to the promotion and development of Small Businesses and Co-operatives through a focus on the economic and legislative drivers that stimulate entrepreneurship to contribute to radical economic transformation”.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Innovation and entrepreneurship: are we commercialising our creativity?

South Africa is in the top 5% of countries by value of its private equity market as a proportion of GDP but in the bottom 5% by the same measure of venture capital.

This was one of the startling facts to emerge at the Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship Round Table in Pretoria on Tuesday, which I attended. It was organised by the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI), an agency of the Department of Science and Technology.

The implication of this disparity is that we have a thriving market for private investment in mostly medium to large businesses that generate predictable cash flows and profits, but a weak market for investment – sourced from both the public and private sectors and individuals – in start-up, early-stage and development-stage businesses.