16 October 2015In an attempt to beat an overseas competitor at his own game, South African entrepreneur Nicholas Haralambous built a fashion company out of colourful designer socks that are now sold in 20 countries around the world.The Capetonian bought some brightly coloured socks some years ago. But he was not happy with either the quality or the design of the imported product. It sparked a desire to do something better, and in November 2012 he set up Nic Harry, a fashion company that creates vibrant socks and men’s accessories.“At the moment I am having fun, adding style to men’s options, and increasing the limited range that men have in accessories,” Haralambous explained. “I like to dress men from the ground up.”Nic Harry socks, which are made from bamboo fibres, now adorn the feet of high-profiled people, such as cricketer Herschelle Gibbs, actor Maps Maponyane, rugby player Bob Skinstad, and politician Mmusi Maimane.How it started The Barbershop sock is Nic Harry’s first design. It is a hit in 10 countries. (Image: Supplied)He had exited another business and used the money he saved to start Nic Harry socks, Haralambous told the television magazine show Top Billing. “I wanted to show South Africans that you could use a relatively small amount of money to slowly grow something of value.“I took the $400 (±R5 000 at the time) and grew it into R30 000 within six weeks and then reinvested the money into the business for the first two years,” the 31-year-old explained.The biggest seller is The Barbershop, which is popular in 10 countries.Watch behind the scenes at Nic Harry’s local factory:He mostly designed his own socks, said Haralambous. “We partner with designers about twice a year to help us with new, innovative designs. All of them are local designs. There have been five (designers) overall and we’re growing that number in 2015.”Failing to learnHe had had nine businesses over the past 10 years, Haralambous told the British news agency, BBC. He set up his first business as a student, when he was just 19.Despite his jump into business, he graduated with a degree in journalism, politics and philosophy from Rhodes University, in Eastern Cape. Initially using his university learning, he started out in the media at 702 Talk Radio. Over the years, Haralambous has also worked at Financial Mail, Business Day and Mail & Guardian, where he was head of the mobile division for a brief stint.He left Mail & Guardian for a young start-up called Zoopy. Other start-ups in which he has been involved include Motribe, a mobile social network builder that he co-founded with Vincent Maher in 2010. After two years of intense work, Mxit bought Motribe.Watch Haralambous explain how business ideas emerge:Of the nine businesses in which he has been involved over the past decade, Motribe was the first successful one. About Nic Harry, Haralambous said: “In our first year we did sold 6 500 socks globally. In our second year we sold 66 000 pairs; this year we are on the track to do a 100 000 to 110 000 pairs.”His philosophy is that failure means that you learn. “What a lot of entrepreneurs do is they run into a wall and stop. What good entrepreneurs do is knock the wall down and run to the next wall. That is key. It’s key that you just keep going.“However, sometimes it really comes down to grit and determination to stay motivated in the face of relentless odds and endless problems. Either you see those problems as something to solve or as a road block. If you see roadblocks then maybe entrepreneurship isn’t for you,” he said.His advice From selling 6 500 pairs of socks globally three years ago when the business started, colourful socks by Nic Harry are worn by celebrities such as Herschelle Gibbs and Maps Maponyane. In 2015, Nic Harry is aiming to sell 110 000 pairs of socks. (Image: Supplied)He had no other formal training or education in building businesses, Haralambous said. “I don’t think you decide to become an entrepreneur. My family is filled with entrepreneurs and it’s what I realised I am best at and comfortable with. It makes me happy. So I do it!”Trial and error was how he learned. “Build, fail, learn, and repeat. For me, that’s the only way I know how and the way it’s worked out.“I think that the key thing is to persevere. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard to build a business of any kind, anywhere in the world so don’t think it’s going to be a breeze. You’re going to face hardship and there will be sacrifice but if you want the long-term benefit you need the short-term pain and risk.”Nic Harry had produced about 70 different sock designs over the past three years. “Right now, in stock we probably have 65,” he said.The company opened a dedicated shop in August, at 66 Wale Street, in Cape Town.Source: SouthAfrica.info reporter
17 March 2015Johannesburg, South Africa’s economic capital, is in the top five cities when it comes to opportunity, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the multinational professional services network.Joburg is named in PwC’s report, Into Africa – the Continent’s Cities of Opportunity. It details the potential of 20 African cities believed to be among the most dynamic and future-focused on the continent. The report is part of PwC’s global Cities of Opportunity series, and was released on 17 March at the African CEO Forum of 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland.The report’s analysis is structured around the critical issues of the business community as well as those of the office holders and other public authorities who are responsible for improving the collective life of each city examined, according to PwC.The continent is crossed by five trends: demographic change, urbanisation, technological changes, the transfer of economic power, and climate change. Urbanisation is of particular importance, as by 2030, half of Africa’s population will live in cities where economic activity and growth will be focused and which will become communication centres and hubs for social trends.The global megatrends are colliding across Africa, says PwC. “The growing middle class, strong demographic growth with an improving age mix, technological innovation that we have already seen in mobile payments and a growing choice of investment partners from the global south, as well as fast-paced urbanisation are all shaping what the future of Africa will look like.”Stanley Subramoney, PwC’s head of strategy for Southern Africa, says: “We have sought to answer ‘What makes an African city one of opportunity’ by developing a set of questions that investors should ask themselves and themes which city politicians and officials can work on to improve their competitiveness.“This report assesses how the cities are performing not only on a regional level but also on an international one, which is hugely important in terms of these cities being able to compete and prosper on both of these stages.”PwC studied four indicators: the economy, infrastructure, human capital and population/society (which itself contains 29 variables). From this analysis, two rankings emerged: general and opportunities for cities.“We believe that these cities demonstrate the relative strengths and weaknesses of Africa’s urban future. Our evaluation and re-evaluation of that future is, of course, a continual work in progress,” adds Kalane Rampai, the company’s leader for local government for Southern Africa.North African cities lead the wayFour of the top five cities in the report are in North Africa: Cairo, Tunis, Algiers and Casablanca; the fifth is Johannesburg. The preponderance of North African cities at the top is mainly due to how long they have been established. This has given them time to develop infrastructure and a regulatory and legal framework, and to establish a socio-cultural ecosystem.Johannesburg is the only exception to this pattern since it was established more recently, in 1886, compared to the other cities with which it is ranked highly, and was developed rapidly for political reasons. Therefore, its infrastructure and services are comparable to those of the more established African cities.African cities with promiseAnother major criterion of a city’s potential is the vision it has for its future. Accra, the capital of Ghana, for example, has a good reputation throughout Africa and beyond for the quality of its communications infrastructure, low crime rates and steady democracy. Economically, it ranks second for both its attractiveness as a destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) and the diversity of its gross domestic product (GDP).Most of the African cities with promise can (and will), with a little effort and organisation, climb to join those cities at the top of PwC’s overall ranking, says the company. Moreover, many of them have already become key regional platforms, such as Dar es Salaam and Douala as centres for telecommunications, Accra and Lagos for culture, and Nairobi for financial services.“Outside our top five cities, Kigali finishes at the very top for both ease of doing business and health spending; Abidjan ranks number one in both middle-class growth and diversity; Dar es Salaam is first in GDP growth; and Nairobi outscores all African cities in FDI.”With 5% growth, dynamic demographics and a growing middle class, Africa is extremely appealing to investors. After undergoing a period of pessimism about the future of Africa with some exaggerated optimism, leaders today share a more realistic view of the economic climate of the continent. This is what PwC calls Afro- realism.Source: APO
16 October 2015Vuma Glenton Mashinini has been appointed the chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa.The position has been vacant since the resignation of Pansy Tlakula in 2014, filled by Terry Tselane in an acting capacity in the interim. The Presidency made the announcement of Mashinini’s appointment on 14 October.Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found Tlakula “guilty of gross maladministration” for the lease agreement of the IEC’s headquarters in Centurion.Mashinini was appointed as a commissioner of the IEC in April.He has previously served as a special projects adviser to President Jacob Zuma, as well as deputy chief electoral officer of the IEC from 1998 to 2001. In the latter post he was responsible for the establishment and administration of the national head office, all nine provincial electoral offices and approximately 350 municipal electoral offices.About MashininiMashinini was born on 22 January 1961 in Joburg. His family emigrated to Australia in 1980, where he studied business and commerce at Curtin University.Mashinini’s political life includes the position of race relations officer at the Curtin University Students Union, according to the SABC. “His work saw him joining the African National Congress (ANC) in Western Australia, where he co-ordinated anti-apartheid campaigns. He also worked for the Campaign Against Racial Exploitation, an Australian anti-apartheid movement.”Zuma wished Mashinini all the best in his new responsibility.The IECThe IEC is a permanent body established by the Constitution to promote and safeguard democracy in South Africa. It is a publicly funded body and while it is accountable to Parliament, it is independent of government.It was established in 1993, has five full-time commissioners, appointed by the president, whose brief is to deliver regular, free and fair elections at all levels of government – national, provincial and local.In terms of the Electoral Commission Act of 1996, the IEC has to compile and maintain the voters’ roll and it is responsible for counting, verifying and declaring the results of an election, which must be done within seven days of the close of the election.The IEC is also responsible for:Compiling and maintaining a register of parties;Undertaking and promoting research into electoral matters;Developing and promoting the development of electoral expertise and technology in all spheres of government;Continuously reviewing electoral laws and proposed electoral laws, and making recommendations; and,Promoting voter education.SouthAfrica.info reporter
Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Guest author Michael Della Penna is Senior Vice President of Emerging Channels at Responsys, Inc.We’ve heard it before… this is going to be the year that mobile payments will boom! Both Gartner and Forrester have made strong predictions of mobile growth, with Forrester recently saying that the U.S. mobile payments market will hit $90 billion by 2017, a 48% compound annual growth rate from the $12.8 billion spent in 2012.But how do we know that 2013 is really the year that “mobile wallets” will finally take off? And what will things look like when mobile payments actually fulfill their promise?4 Key Indicators Of Mobile Payment SuccessHere are four indicators from players across the ecosystem that suggest we will see a global shift in mobile payments this year:A survey of 200 mobile industry executives, developers and insiders conducted by Chetan Sharma Consultingvoted mobile payments the top mobile applications and services category for 2013. The survey said mobile payments and commerce will get big in 2013, with Visa, the banks and more established online payment companies like PayPal well positioned to cause disruption in the mobile payments space.Visa Europe claims that in 2013, there will be 40 issuers offering mobile contactless payment services to consumers, and by the end of 2013 around 80 types of smartphones will be certified to carry out contactless payments.A study performed by Shop.org and Forrester research, called the “State of Retailing” found that mobile payments will be essential if retailers wish to remain competitive. 51% of the participating retailers said that their top priority in 2013 had to do with optimization, including mobile payments.Chinais set to follow U.S. and Asia-Pacific countries to embrace a cashless society as it taps a boom in e-commerce and electronic payments, with mobile payments likely to soar 52.7% annually in 2013. Mobile payments are likely to expand to $17 billion in 2013.How Will Mobile Payments Work?So what do all the figures actually mean?If things continue as predicted, people the world over could very soon end up walking out of the house without their cards and cash. Instead, they’ll use their mobile phone to purchase everything from electronics to furniture, from groceries to gas. Sounds pretty cool right?What’s even more fascinating is how the growing use of mobile and the increased popularity of apps, passbook and mobile payments are combining to create a comprehensive mobile experience that is changing the way consumers interact with brands.Consider this scenario for early 2014:As you walk past your favorite electronics retailer, you get a notification offer pushed into your app offering you 10% off an LCD TV purchase.Intrigued, you enter the store, use your phone to do some price comparisons, see a few LCD ads and select the perfect new LCD TV for the Super Bowl.After learning your model is out of stock, the salesperson informs you it can be shipped from the warehouse in time for the game, so you order it.At the checkout counter you use your phone to access your offer code and loyalty number as well as to pay with your phone. The salesperson asks if you would like to receive product and shipping text alerts and you promptly opt-in.You leave the store and quickly confirm your subscription and a short time later receive a text message confirming the purchase and informing you that your order has been received at the warehouse.The next day you get an alert informing you your TV has been shipped and a final message informing you the TV has been sent out for delivery.Upon delivery you receive your final alert confirming delivery, thanking you for the purchase and a final prompt to text back ‘SERVICE’ should you have any questions for customer service.What Will It Take?While all these technologies are available today – SMS, targeted mobile advertising, push notification, passbook and mobile payments – they are rarely coordinated. The whole process never happens as smoothly as laid out in the scenario above. The industry still has a long way to go to create a seamless mobile experience for our customers.Doing so will require combining data and systems that talk to each other. It will also require coordination and orchestration both within a single channel (i.e. Mobile) as well as across multiple channels (email, SMS, Push, Passbook, mobile ads) to create a positive experience for the recipient and a sale for the retailer.It will also require real-time, automated management – so users are contacted only when they’re in the market. Nothing would be worse or more inefficient than to have that same individual receive an offer promoting LCD TVs right after they’ve just bought a new TV.The good news – again – is that the basic capabilities are here today and that brands and their partners are already developing the strategic know-how to build, manage and orchestrate mobile and multi-channel relationship marketing efforts around mobile payments. There are big rewards waiting for the first companies able to put it all together for their customers. Tags:#e-commerce#enterprise#Mobile Payments What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology michael della penna Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts
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