Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneurship’

Microsoft Request for Proposals(South Africa)-ten more days

June 20, 2011 Leave a comment

On 29 March 2011, Microsoft announced the beneficiaries of its R500 million investment in growing several sustainable, independent and majority black-owned software companies in South Africa over the next seven years. With this deal, Microsoft is taking a high-risk, high-reward approach, by striving to create a new model for entrepreneurship. The size of the deal makes this the biggest deal of its kind by an IT company in SA.

Microsoft entered into an Equity Equivalence programme because, as an internationally held company, it cannot sell shares in its local subsidiaries. Thus, with the guidance and approval of the Department of Trade & Industry, Microsoft is selecting local black-owned companies with potential, and helping them become significant players who create software that the market wants.

Through this programme, we hope that the market will come to associate BBBEE with real entrepreneurship, job creation, business/enterprise development and skills enhancement.

With expert advisors guiding us, we finally selected four small black-owned software development companies with no more than 30 employees, which turn over less than R10 million a year. Henceforth, we’re going to focus our time, energy and resources on enabling them to become global technology companies by 2018.

The four selected partners are:

  • Pietermaritzburg-based Chillisoft, who make software solution for the health industry;
  • Cape Town-based Maxxor, which creates consumer, mobile and gaming software
  • Security solutions specialists, BUI, from Johannesburg; and
  • Durban-based Home Grown Solutions, who creates prepaid software solutions for local government on a cloud based model

Our BEE investment will fuel innovation in new high-growth areas currently underserved, including safety and security, healthcare, education, consumer, mobility and cloud computing, and grow the market for all players in the process.

In fact, the next Request for Proposal (RFP) process starts in June 2011. By this process, Microsoft would like to go out and select additional companies to include in the EE programme going forward.

It’s part of the company’s greater broad-based black economic empowerment strategy, and will raise its BBBEE rating from Level 4 to Level 2. And we’re making this bold move because it makes good business sense: by improving our local relevance, helping South Africa realise its potential and growing the country’s technology industry, we all win.

We’re aiming to create a new model for entrepreneurship, and set a higher benchmark for developing talent in the industry. Through the success of this programme, the market will come to associate BBBEE with real entrepreneurship, job creation, business/enterprise development and skills enhancement.

South African talent will play a vital role in the development of a sustainable, more inclusive technology industry, and Microsoft supports individuals as students, technologists, innovators and entrepreneurs to realise their full potential.

Importantly, the programme will increase the size of the local software economy for all technology players, and leave a legacy for other entrepreneurs to follow.

Visionaries see the potential in ideas. We see the potential in visionaries.

Categories: General, Opportunities

Social Enterprise Zimbabwe- The real heroes

May 20, 2011 10 comments

As I travel around Zimbabwe there is something that glares at me in the face. It is not the dilapidated buildings and potholes that hit me in the face. It is the way that people’s hearts are calloused and they only really think about themselves. The orphans go unnoticed, the beggars, widows, poor all go unnoticed. We look down with disgust and stay as far away as possible, because we are too good to associate with them. The class system has found its way back into our society.

I grew up in a beautiful Zimbabwe, where Harare was known as the sunshine city and was the cleanest city in the world.  I’d like to see the former glory of Zimbabwe restored with its people lifted from poverty. When I grew up, there were no street kids on the roads begging for money, no people surviving on one meal a day, no professional people doing menial jobs in Zimbabwe or abroad. I know that it is possible to get back to that place, where Zimbabwe is no longer the basket case of Africa but the bread basket of Africa.

One person can make a difference. If only more of us would get together and make a difference, we would do so much more. In Africa we expect the government to solve all our problems, in the West individuals don’t wait for the government to solve problems, they become the solution to the problem. As African’s we can choose to wait for the government to do something, or for NGO’s to do something or we can take the future into our own hands and do something ourselves. This doesn’t abdicate the government from its responsibilities, but when society and government work together we can do more.

Enter the social Entrepreneur

One way of taking the future into your hands is to start a social enterprise. A social enterprise is a business with more than a conscience. It is a business whose primary focus is to solve social problems. Instead of just running a business profitably and then pocketing all the profits, a social enterprise commits a good proportion of profits to solve social problems. Zimbabwe has needs everywhere, poverty, hunger, transportation, roads, education, schools, clinics, HIV and Aids, orphans and widows. All these areas need innovative solutions and innovators who will grab the bull by the horns and do something. Strive Masiyiwa can be classed as a social entrepreneur because his Capernaum Trust educates orphans in Zimbabwe and he personally raises a lot of money for social causes around Africa.

The Social Entrepreneur is like Batman, Spider-man, Jet Li, Chuck Norris , James Bond or Jean Claude Van Damme. My nephews and nieces would say BEN TEN!!!! They are quick to the rescue and can solve the problem. When something gets stuck, they get it unstuck, when something goes wrong, they run to the rescue. Society believes in them and counts on them to get down to the bottom of a problem. They are there when we need them and always get rid of the problem!!!Social Entrepreneurs are our real life heroes!!!

With only 5% of the population in formal employment, the government does not have the resources to bring about much change. Even if the government wanted to deliver services, they cannot afford to. Shall we then wait for the funds to make their way into the government coffers before we see change? We could be waiting a long time before that happens. No government can do it all. The only way to change things is to take responsibility. It is up to us, those on the ground to become the solution that we want to see.

If your local clinic isn’t functioning and needs supplies, how about doing something about it. It’s sad that it is not Africans at the forefront of most help Africa campaigns. We’d rather wait for foreigners and NGO’s to come and give us water and build schools and send our children to school. Better still, we’ll apply for jobs with the NGO’s doing such work, earn huge salaries and drive big cars. When shall we start our own organizations that do such great work? We should have the passion and the drive to solve our own problems.

Categories: General