SA’s “biggest’ online retailer

first_imgAugust 30,, one of three budget airlines operating in South Africa, is now amongst the country’s top online retailers – and may be the biggest.According to BA-Comair’s no-frills carrier, 65% of its passengers use the Internet to book their tickets – with a R25 reduction in ticket price for doing so.“We have available 1.2-million seats a year and we will sell over a million of them,” says Gidon Novick, executive director of the started three years ago with one plane servicing one route and has grown to a five plane company servicing five routes and offering taxis, car hire and hotel bookings. 40% of its customers travel on business.Besides the cost savings, transacting online is more convenient. Even in the first three months of operation, more than half of’s bookings were made directly over the net.“People love booking on line”, says Novick. “The airline does offer other ways to buy tickets, but then it expects its passengers to pick up the fee for the higher transaction costs involved.”Low-cost carriers in demandLow-cost carriers have flourished in developed markets where population densities are high, and there are several examples of successful ventures in Africa.The most recent player to taxi onto South Africa’s runways is Civair, which intends to offer low-budget flights direct from the UK to Cape Town and Durban later in 2004. A return ticket from Durban to the UK is expected to cost about R3 000.Locally, is already being challenged by another new entry in the market, 1Time. 1Time aims to offer three domestic flights a day between Johannesburg and Cape Town.The increased competition has been great for the consumer, sparking something of a price war between the new market recently announced that it had slashed fares to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, George and Durban by up to 30%, with one-way tickets going for as little as R199 (previously the tickets ranged from R400 to R900). 1Time countered by offering a guaranteed maximum fare of R581 or less on one-way journeys between Johannesburg and Cape Town.Optimum was the first successful e-business take-off in South Africa since the hi-tech meltdown in late 2000.The innovative airline was intent on turning more people into air passengers. However, in the process, it was turning more South Africans into online customers.BA-Comair executives insisted on simplicity. The no-frills marketing promise had to be echoed in system design and the user interface.The system behind the savings was built locally – with the help of Microsoft South Africa. There were several global distribution systems in place, but those systems can be huge, complex and unwieldy.Mark Berman, principal technology specialist at Microsoft SA, calls it “a highly customized solution,” which has allowed the airline to drive its transaction costs down to near zero.He says the success of a solution like proves the value of partnering teams with appropriate competencies. In technology terms, he says, “familiarity does not breed contempt, it breeds optimum solutions.”Source: Adapted from Proudly South reporterlast_img read more

FNB pours R40-million into local football

first_imgFNB is contributing in developingSouth Africa’s future football stars. FNB’s Derek Carstens, right, handingover an R18-million cheque to Safa. Legends Kalusha Bwalya and LucasRadebe are programme ambassadors.(Images: Bongani Nkosi)MEDIA CONTACTS• Mphilo DlaminiCorporate CommunicationsFNB+27 11 371 8381Bongani NkosiFirst National Bank, one of South Africa’s four major banks, will invest R40-million (US$5.8-million) in developing the country’s young footballers over the next few years.The bank will sponsor the national under-17 boys and girls teams, as well as school football tournaments. It’s already built four pitches in as many communities, and another will be finished in 2011.FNB’s investment was announced to the media on 9 December in Nasrec, Johannesburg. It is part of the bank’s legacy programme following the recent 2010 Fifa World Cup, into which it pumped R30-million ($4.3-million).“We’re happy to announce this, especially at a time when I can assure you that things are not easy in corporate South Africa,” said FNB brand director Derek Carstens.The government and the South African Football Association (Safa) praised the bank for its pledge.The biggest chunk of the sponsorship will go to the under 17-boys and girls teams, respectively known as Amajimbos and Abantwana. FNB has already channelled R18-million ($2.6-million) into these teams, which are eyeing spots in the next Fifa World Cups for their age group.“The key objective we’ve set ourselves is that Amajimbos and Abantwana qualify for the World Cup in 2012 and 2013,” Carstens said.FNB has been involved with the Amajimbos for a number of years now, but the Abantwana sponsorship is a new venture. “We look at male and female sports as equally important,” he added.Bringing the Beautiful Game back to schoolsThe FNB Festivals are tipped to become the next biggest fad in school football. A total of 162 schools will participate in the inaugural event in 2011, after which it will become an annual fixture.Twenty schools will battle it out in the Lucas Radebe Tribute Festival, which is the Soweto leg of the competition in south-west Johannesburg. St Davids Marist in Sandton, also in Johannesburg, will see 42 schools slugging it out for glory.Grey College in Bloemfontein will host 20 schools, while a further 32 schools will use Durban’s Kloof High School as their battlefield. Victoria Park and Benoni High, schools located in Port Elizabeth and east of Johannesburg respectively, will each host 16 school teams.The schools competition is viewed as a great way to get pupils back into the swing of the Beautiful Game. Local football experts agree that the sport has long lost its ground in both urban and rural schools, which has impacted negatively on talent development. This is blamed for the current under-performance of national squads.“Our football in schools, I must say, is dead,” said Serame Letsoaka, Safa’s technical director. “This is where we tapped in for talent.“Thank you FNB for creating this opportunity to go back to schools.”R15-million on turfsThe bank channelled about R15-million ($2.2-million) into the development of football pitches before the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The pitches were created in Thohoyandou in Limpopo, Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, Mthatha in the Eastern Cape and George in the Western Cape.A pitch in Kimberley, Northern Cape, will be completed by June in 2011, the bank said.Community leagues will play their matches here, and may also host touring international junior teams. “We’re looking at teams like Boca Juniors of Argentina to bring their under-17s to play at the turfs,” said Carstens.Carstens said they have partnered with local municipalities in the areas to maintain the grounds.Coaches will be groomed for all the venues. Letsoaka, a coach himself, is excited about coaching clinics that will be run at the pitches. “We have been saying, let’s produce developmental coaches. These are the areas where we’ll develop coaches,” he said.Lucas Radebe, the former Bafana and Leeds United captain, has been appointed the ambassador of FNB’s legacy programme and he’ll oversee activities on the pitches.Intensifying Soccer Classic ClashesThe bank’s Soccer Classic Clashes competition, which was launched in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, in 2007, will also be extended. Starting in 2011, there will be far more venues and matches than in previous years, according to FNB.Minister of Sports and Recreation Fikile Mbalula said: “This legacy programme will impact on thousands of lives. A number of Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana (national male and female teams) will be drawn from this programme.”last_img read more

How Start-Up Chile Helps Entrepreneurs and Chile Alike

first_imgRelated Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Nathan Lustig Entrepreneur and Managing Partner at Magma Partners, a seed stage investment fund with offices across Latin America, the United States, and China. The Start-Up Chile accelerator was arguably the spark that ignited Chile’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Chilean government, through the development agency CORFO, founded Start-Up Chile in 2010 as a way to bring in foreign entrepreneurs who would galvanize Chile’s transition into an economy built on technology and innovation. Since then, Start-Up Chile has accelerated over 1,500 startups, of which 51.1% were still operating in 2016. When it was first founded, the program was meant to “change the nation’s culture towards entrepreneurship and to position Chile as the hub of innovation for Latin America,” but its impact has significantly surpassed that goal. While economic growth was not one of the goals CORFO originally planted in 2010, Start-Up Chile companies have collectively raised US$30.5M in Chile and over US$420M abroad. Meanwhile, these startups have created at least a total of 5,162 jobs in Chile and across the globe as of 2016. Start-Up Chile set out to enact social and cultural change and to place Chile at the center of the Latin American startup ecosystem. However, measuring its success requires going beyond the economic value of the accelerator. After all, Start-Up Chile emphasizes that they want startups to get more out of the program than just the money (US$40K equity free in the Seed program). These companies receive mentorship, entrepreneurship training, and opportunities to raise capital, while also becoming part of a global network of more than 3,000 entrepreneurs worldwide. So what impact has Start-Up Chile had on a global scale? From Cabify to CargoX, the accelerator has supported some of the most successful companies that are operating in Latin America today. Many of these startups have expanded globally, raising hundreds of millions of dollars, and have dominated in their industries. One of the best ways to analyze the impact of Start-Up Chile is through their eyes, which allows us to understand how the accelerator boosted them to reach international success. Here are some of the ways Start-Up Chile has prepared tech startups to tackle the global market.Teaching founders to ignore the startup hype and create a valid MVPStatistics show that between 70%-90% of startups fail. Raising capital doesn’t seem to help, as 75% of startups that do also fail. Experts and entrepreneurs tend to attribute failure to a lack of focus on building a product that solves an actual problem and Start-Up Chile is meant to provide entrepreneurs with the time and space they need to find product market fit.Thomas Allier, the CEO and Co-Founder of Viajala, noticed that his most successful peers in Start-Up Chile in 2013 were those that were “working silently with a strong focus and without making much noise.” Few of the companies that had won unofficial ‘awards’ such as “Most-likely-to-IPO” are still operating today, said Allier. He is adamant that Start-Up Chile’s focus on building a viable MVP was the secret to their success. Beyond giving him time to focus on developing his product, Start-Up Chile taught Allier to launch early, and with the right people on board from the start. The program also made it possible for him to do so. “Start-Up Chile gave Viajala early recognition that enabled me to get the right people on our bus. We are still out there and growing five years after starting the program because we had the discipline to launch extremely early on which gave us enough time for a few iterations and a growing line of revenue.” Today, Viajala is the single largest travel metasearch company in Latin America. They process over 3.5 million travel searches each month and have already reached yearly revenues of over US$3M, all with having raised relatively little capital. Beyond the grant from Start-Up Chile, Viajala raised less than half a million dollars to date. They currently employ more than 20 people across four countries in Latin America, running Viajala out of their headquarters in Medellin, Colombia. The value of building a global networkThe Start-Up Chile network includes over 3,000 entrepreneurs from 1,500 startups across the globe. Ranked by some as fourth best startup accelerator in the world, and the best in Latin America, Start-Up Chile carries with it a sense of community that follows startups throughout their lifetimes. The Intern Group, a company that helps students access international internships, has maintained an office in Santiago since they participated in Start-Up Chile because the network and ecosystem are so strong and supportive. While The Intern Group has headquarters in London, UK, CEO and Co-Founder, David Lloyd, considers the contacts he made during the program among his closest friends and mentors. “Meeting with as many other Start-Up Chile companies in my generation as possible was key. Some of these people turned into lifelong contacts,” he comments. The network provided by Start-Up Chile has helped The Intern Group maintain a strong presence in Latin America, where they have offices in Santiago and Medellin.Since participating in the accelerator, The Intern Group has grown from a yearly revenue of less than US$10K to almost US$15M in just six years. While their first program had only ten students, The Intern Group now hosts over 2,000 students per year. Lloyd emphasizes that the money, while helpful to an early-stage startup, was the least important part of the experience. “The US$40K was great but small fry in comparison to the environment, learnings, and the network we made.”Putting Chile on the global map as an entrepreneurship hubWhen Start-Up Chile debuted in 2010, the small country gained significant publicity. Since then, the accelerator has been one of the leading factors in putting Chile at the center of the global conversation about Latin American entrepreneurship. Over 9,700 articles have been written about Start-Up Chile across 141 countries, and the program has inspired 50 government-funded accelerators worldwide, from Jamaica and Puerto Rico to Peru and South Korea. Numerous growing companies like Cabify, CargoX, Doist (creator of Todoist), Datacampfire, Slidebean, and Keyword Tool owe at least part of their success to the network, funding, and training they received from Start-Up Chile. Most importantly, many of these companies continue to operate in Chile, or at least in Latin America. Some of Start-Up Chile’s critics often point to the fact that some companies take advantage of CORFO’s generosity and leave immediately after the program. However, more than one-third of the companies that have gone through Start-Up Chile maintain an office in Chile, and a more substantial proportion continue to operate and provide services in Chile and Latin America. Chile now ranks 7th in the world for total entrepreneurial activity and accounts for 50% of the entrepreneurial activity in Latin America. Start-Up Chile has undeniably placed Chile on the map as a hub of innovation in Latin America and around the globe and has enabled the growth of many of the startups that are dominating the Latin American market today. How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture Tags:#accelerators#Chile#entrepreneurship#global startups#government programs#Latin America#local government#Start-Up Chile#startups What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Follow the Pucklast_img read more

Marathi actor booked by Pune police for causing noise pollution on dahi handi

first_imgThe city police on Wednesday booked popular Marathi film actor Santosh Juvekar for allegedly creating noise pollution, obstructing traffic and misbehaving with the police during the dahi handi revelry in Pune’s Sahakar Nagar area earlier this week.The Sahakar Nagar police has also booked the head of the ‘Aranyeshwar Dahi Handi Utsav Mandal’ and two others including under Sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 143, 341, 283, 188, 34 of the Indian penal code (IPC) and Sections 5 and 5(a) of Noise Pollution Rules, 2000 along with Sections 135, 140 of the Bombay Police Act.Mr. Juvekar, however, has objected to the Pune police’s action against him, claiming he was not present in Pune.“How can the Pune police book me when I was at my home during dahi handi. Furthermore, my photos were illicitly used on the flex boards during a dahi handi event of which I have no knowledge of,” said the actor, adding that he would consider legal action against the mandal which organised the event.According to the police, the organisers defied police instructions to clear the road, causing authorities to slap charges against the mandal.As Mr. Juvekar’s name allegedly featured on the flexes, advertising him as a ‘chief guest’ at that event, the police booked him as well.“Although we have booked him [Mr. Juvekar], it is said he did not turn up for the event. We are investigating if the actor was present at the venue or not. In the event his absence is proven, we shall drop the charges,” said V. R. Puranik, Police Inspector, Sahakar Nagar Police station said.last_img read more