Sort Africa

Sort Africa - The Social Entrepreneur

As an African living in the UK who works in the commerce industry, Thabo Tembo was acutely aware of the advantages that other regions of the world had over Africa when it came to sourcing business opportunities. For this reason, in June of 2015 he launched Sort Africa, a pan African business directory and online marketplace that is a one stop shop for those seeking to do business with Africa.

 

African SMEs are at a disadvantage; they lack visibility and credibility. For foreigners seeking to connect with African firms, it can be exceptionally difficult to navigate both the language and cultural diversity that constitute Africa today. Sort Africa functions much like an online directory and social platform that seeks to increase visibility for small and mid-sized firms in Africa, while also connecting firms to customers, partners and suppliers all over the world. They operate in English, Portuguese, French and Chinese and truly offer global exposure for small firms.

 

Since its launch in June, Sort Africa has experienced explosive growth, reaching over 10,000 Facebook fans in just 4 short months, and offers packages ranging from Free to $96 per year. Sort Africa profiles local African companies, and gives these firms a marketing opportunity they might otherwise not get.

 

Over the last few months, Sort Africa has really been a labour of love for Thabo, who dedicates more and more time each day to running this social enterprise. “I believe that Africa has immense possibilities and potential for entrepreneurship. By facilitating this, we are helping to improve not only the economic and social conditions for individual Africans, but also for the continent as a whole”.

 

The company is beginning to ramp up its marketing efforts, and is actively seeking funding, donations or sponsorship to help it grow and reach even more entrepreneurs.  “By increasing our reach, we can extend our impact and truly make a difference in Africans lives” says Thabo.

Individuals interested in supporting Sort Africa, should visit its web and Facebook pages, support its entrepreneurs and help to spread the word on social media.  For more information on Sort Africa visit:

www.sortaftica.com

or email Thabo directly at thabo.tembo@sortafrica.com

Sort Africa

Capoeira For All

Capoeira For All

Learning Capoeira is in itself a transformative experience; teaching it in a social enterprise, a whole different ball game. This is the initiative that Capoeira For All has taken—the desire to bring Capoeira to a main stream audience, but also to give others access to this culturally rich sport.  Founded in 2014, Capoeira For All CiC, a non profit and social enterprise, has been running a variety of programs in the UK, particularly in the Northwest region of the country. They participate in and host community events and collaborate with other non profits to make Capoeira accessible to all in their community.

Capoeira itself is an ancient Afro-Brazilian art form that combines dance, movement, martial arts, music and play. It has a rich history and dates back to the 1500s in Colonial Brazil when Portuguese migrants enslaved Africans, who created this sport as a means of survival against slave owners. This art form, rich in its history, at one time was outlawed by the government of Brazil who feared Capoeiristas (practitioners of Capoeira) and their skill.  In 2014, Capoeira was granted Cultural Heritage status by Unesco, the UN’s cultural arm, cementing its history and significance for the Brazilian people and practitioners of this art.

In the last decade, Capoeira has grown all over the world. It was in this growth that founding directors Akil Morgan and Michael Horsley saw an opportunity.  They felt the need to expand access to Capoeira to those who may never have a chance to experience it.  By using the values, ethos and practice of Capoeira for positive social change, they have introduced capoeira to schools for disabled children, to community cultural celebrations, and they have used it to teach marginalised young people employability and personal development skills.  In a four-week pilot project, instructors taught at risk youth capoeira. A key objective of the pilot was to see how the young people responded to Capoeira as a medium to explore other issues and themes around employment and enterprise. Capoeira was able to enhance the confidence, resilience, and team working skills of the youth, all through the instruction of this sport and art form.

Like any true social enterprise, sustainability is the core behind Capoeira For All’s business model. By offering a range of different educational programmes, corporate workshops and bespoke shows (to name just a few), their cross-sector approach enables them to really compete with local businesses alike, whilst at the same time give back to the community by providing classes to marginalized youth, so that more people can experience this amazing art.

For the founders of Capoeira For All, the future is bright and promising. Most importantly, they can bring the art form they love to the community and neighbourhoods they live in, helping others to improve their lives, one movement at a time.

 

Guusto: Gifting with a Social Conscious

Guusto: Gifting with a Social Conscious

How often do you buy restaurant gift cards for friends, business partners or clients? Now what if each of those transactions enabled someone to have clean drinking water for the day? This is the business model behind Guusto, a Vancouver based company that makes giving thoughtful gifts easy. Founded by partners Joe Facciolo and Skai Dalziel, Guusto has created an app that is hoping to revolutionize the way and purpose behind how we gift.

Imagine you want to give a client a gift. Rather than taking the time to think of, look for and purchase a gift, all you do is choose the type of gift to send, decide the amount and enter their email or cell phone number and PRESTO the gift is on the way. All the recipient has to do is click on the link and redeem it at one of 1400+ restaurants in North America. For every purchase you make, a day’s worth of clean drinking water is provided to someone in need via the charity One Drop. It is truly a win-win solution.

If this wasn’t innovative enough, Guusto has also become the first Canadian company to close a round ofequity financing via crowdfunding through Vancouver based portal FrontFundr. Closing approximately$50,000 in equity this past September,  and they will use these funds to grow their market share in Canada and expand into the US.

Equity crowdfunding is fairly new to Canada. In many Canadian provinces, only those registered to sellsecurities can sell shares of a company, but as of 2015, exceptions have been adopted by B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that permit companies to sell theirshares through approved funding portals.

For the Guusto team, this is an exciting time. They will also be featured on the popular show Dragon’s Den on November 4th, 2015. It is proof that you can do social good and make a profit while appealing toinvestors. Guusto is truly an inspiration and model for all aspiring social entrepreneurs.

For more information on Guusto, check out their website at www.guusto.com and feel free to download their app in the Google and Apple Stores.

Is it time to kill start-up culture?

Over the last decade,  start-up initiatives have ruled the landscape. From high tech incubators to national initiatives and small business boot camps, the chorus reigns loud and clear: we need to encourage more startups. Small business, the saviour of economic woe, freer of the labour oppressed and solution to every problem of our modern time is the new demi-god and those of us so lucky to serve at its altar, must bear witness to the life-changing effects it has on our lives.

Start-up culture is a global movement, focused on encouraging small business development. Its homogeneity is ubiquitous, and its reach all encompassing. It has infiltrated national policy & creates soundbites for politicians interested in furthering their careers. It exists in nearly every sector, from the not for profit to banking, but its altar exists in the world of high tech.

Leaner, faster, stronger. This is the new mantra of business, and its gods are the high tech millionaires and billionaires, generally under 30, mainly male and very intelligent.  Priests serving this deity abound. Cloaked under the auspices of “consultants”, these priests and priestesses of modern technology advise, write, speak and work to develop a culture that is  focused on birthing small businesses and getting more people on a path to salvation.

There is however, a fallacy in all of this.  We have a culture so focused on start-up and we do little or nothing to help people once they have a business. Anyone who has ever run a business can tell you, the hardest thing is not starting a business; the hardest day you will ever have is when you finally open the doors. This is when the real work begins.

Start-up culture is driven and focused on youth. The language it uses, the time frames it operates in, and the adjectives: leaner, faster, stronger, are adjectives of the young, or those that want to be young. The focus is on building a multi-million dollar business as quickly as possible. We focus on maximizing market penetration, and increasing shareholder returns. Our definitions of value are not long-term temporal, they are immediate.

The trouble with all of this is we only focus on the successes. We only see the tech millionaire and not the million others that never gain notoriety, fame or fortune. We have not created a start-up culture or system that is self-sustaining and business strengthening. We have not encouraged the growth of business but rather the proliferation of start-ups. The facts are staggering. Over 90% of tech start-ups fail; 75% fail to pay back investors and many successful tech entrepreneurs have failed once (or many times) before being successful. High failure rates with small business is nothing new. Consider that over 75% of restaurants fail within 5 years, nearly 90% within 8 years.  Why do they Fail? They do not pay attention to their customers, the quality of their product decreases, and they run into financial trouble. This is the same for all small businesses.

It is time to stop the start-up culture, and move towards a culture of long-term sustainability, growth and shareholder value that is NOT quarter to quarter, but year to year, and decade over decade. This is real entrepreneurship and community building.

 

why startups fail

http://visual.ly/why-startups-fail