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She Leads Africa is looking for female entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their business on a bigger playing field at The Entrepreneur Showcase.

the sum of $15000 in ‘cash is up for grab , media features in international news outlets, and exclusive meetings with top investors.’

According to the organisers:
In 2014 the inaugural event received nearly 400 applications from 27 countries for just 10 finalist positions. The top finalists were featured in Forbes, Ventures Africa, Venture Burn and several other international news outlets. 2014 winner Cherae Robinson founder of travel startup Tastemakers Africa stated that“participating in the She Leads Africa pitch competition literally changed my life and my business, by putting me on a rocket ship towards success.” “I was able to hire my first employee with my winnings and I continue to receive support from the team nearly one year later,” she concluded.

Application deadline: June 30, 2015
Eligibility criteria:  Businesses from any industry are eligible to apply as long as there is one woman on the founding team between 18-35 years old. Companies must have launched their product or service, been in operation for less than 3 years and received less than $50,000 USD in funding.

Hurry! Send your applications in today.

For more information visit:
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Kanye West’s Adidas Yeezy 350 Boost have received a June 27th release date.

The shoe will feature a black and gray color scheme with matching laces and a white boost sole. It will be sold at Finish Line, PacSun, select Adidas locations and Size?.

The price is set to be $200. Read More
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Entrepreneur Paul Brown gets a kick out of optimising inefficiencies, facing challenges and generating money.

“I wouldn’t say I woke up one day and decided to become an entrepreneur – I don’t think anybody really does that.”

With an interest in technology, Brown has founded four companies, his first in 1999 aged only 23. He is currently the founder and CEO of DigiCash, one of South Africa’s leading debit order and EFT payment solutions providers.

Tertiary education doesn’t teach you to run a business

Brown is now studying an executive MBA through the University of Cape Town. However, prior to this he had no tertiary education after dropping out of computer science at university.

“I found the rigidity and lack of imagination from my lecturers overpowering. I felt there was no pure understanding of technology,” he explains.

Without a formal degree, Brown found guidance from his father, now a retired businessman, who played a major role in developing the way he thinks about money and business.

“I don’t believe formal education teaches you the correct way to think about money. I actually didn’t face any limitations in acquiring business or acquiring deals, which further proves my point – that I didn’t need a tertiary education. Nobody asked what my qualifications were, just whether or not I was able to provide the services.”

In light of some hard lessons learnt he remains confident that successful entrepreneurship is acquired through hard work and taking time to understand everything forwards and backwards – not through what university can provide.

He also suggests when starting a venture knowing one’s self and learning how to be truthful when assessing both your strengths and ever-present weaknesses, is mandatory.

“Knowing my own limitations helped me overcome them. I don’t think a tertiary education helps at all, because that’s a personal journey of discovery rather than somebody at the front of the class telling you what you need to learn for your exam.”

Bootstrapping Brown has bootstrapped all of his ventures. At 23, and with the founding of his first business, he moved back in with his parents which allowed the sub-letting of office space at a discount price from a friend.

“South Africa’s venture capital community is still in its infancy, and it never really occurred to me as an option. So for my first venture, it was literally a case of me taking two months’ salary that I had saved.

“At the same time I set about building the business, finding customers and figuring out how to market stuff.”

Brown used the capital from his initial venture to fund future businesses.

Write and rewrite a business plan

“The best advice that I can give to anybody starting a new business is don’t look for reasons why you shouldn’t. Absolutely look for reasons why it might not work, and then fix those reasons.”

“If I had taken the time to write a business plan there would have been fewer mistakes. By putting pen to paper, taking the time to write out your thoughts gets your brain thinking in a totally different way. And a business plan achieves that.

“Write it out, let it percolate for a week and come back to it. I will guarantee it will have changed in some way. The danger comes in when it is changing from one week to the next. If you’ve not even got your thinking straight, you’ll not be able to adapt to all the changes that occur in your business from week to week.

“The reality is, it’s only a bad idea if you are not ready, and the only person who knows whether you’re ready or not is you. If you’re still unsure, keep writing and rewriting that business plan.”

“There’s no specific formula for success other than hard work, hard work, hard work.” Read More
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According to Badal and Streur (2012), self-awareness – a conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires – contributes extensively to the success of an entrepreneurial business.

The question on every entrepreneur’s mind is: how do I ensure that my business succeeds? One of the challenges that leads to business failure is the lack of information, knowledge and skills. This often leads to the mismanagement of the business, poor decision making and ultimately the inability to keep the business sustainable.

Entrepreneurs invest a lot in their businesses, making risky decisions to ensure they build successful businesses. Sometimes, more emphasis is placed on the technical and business management skills however, in my view, the lack of business knowledge and skill is just one of the factors that leads to SMME failures.

Another contributing element that is seldom discussed is the lack of self-knowledge and development. SMMEs are important and contribute to the growth of the economy; therefore, we need to continue talking about its challenges to finally get the success formula right. Having a good understanding of who you are is the first step in developing yourself as an entrepreneur.

Some of the reasons why it’s important for entrepreneurs to focus on self-awareness:

The business depends on you as the entrepreneur – a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses will assist you leverage the key strengths and to align them to the business’ core competencies

Entrepreneurs who are self-aware have the ability to perceive others accurately and will help them to align their team’s strengths to the business

Successful entrepreneurs know how to harness their inner strength

Self-awareness enables you to develop an authentic personal brand

Decision making is improved through the better understanding of oneself

The business resembles the character of the entrepreneur therefore if you would like to succeed; the journey starts with you.

Busi Raphekwane is a senior business mentor at The Hope Factory. Read More
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