November 2017

Google Africa mentorship programmes for tech entrepreneurs

The Google Developers Launchpad Africa Space was opened on 13 November in Lagos, Nigeria. It will interact directly with tech entrepreneurs in that country, as well as offer support and software tools to help build sustainable tech business ideas from the rest of Africa.

The Lagos operation is the first of its kind to be established outside the United States. The programme is accepting applications for its first onsite and online courses, beginning in early 2018.

Applications are open to tech start-ups with their own seed funding from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Those chosen to participate in the three-month programme will receive more than $3-million (R42m at today’s exchange rate) in equity-free support, working space, travel and public relations support, as well as access to Silicon Valley tech business experts over three years.

Google’s sub-Saharan Africa regional manager, Andy Volk, said Google had been looking for ways to get more involved in African tech businesses for a number of years.

“Anyone who spends time in the African technology space knows that the continent is home to some exciting innovations,” Volk told IOL News. “[Google’s small-scale engagement with African start-ups so far] has been able to tackle everything from healthcare, education and streamlining e-commerce to improving the food supply chain.”

It was now time, he said, to step that up and open opportunities to more African ideas: “We are looking forward to welcoming the first cohort of innovators for Launchpad Africa and continuing to work together to drive innovation in the African market.”

One example of the Google effect on African tech innovation is the South African start-up Jumo, a financial services platform aimed at emerging markets. The company was the first and so far most successful start-up to go through the Launchpad accelerator.

Company founders and some staff attended an intensive two-week boot camp at Google headquarters in California in July 2017. The two weeks were aimed at building the business and developing tools that would increase its footprint in offering easy-to-use financial services on mobile platforms.

The company received a $50,000 funding boost, and benefits from ongoing support and mentorship.

For more information about the Google Developers Launchpad Africa Space, click here https://youtu.be/xoZsNN9UGlQ

Opening Google Play to South African designers

Google’s online app store, Play, this month opened to South African app developers and designers, no matter how small or inexperienced.

In addition to gaining a virtual marketplace for their apps, designers are able to access Play’s development and commerce tools that will help them to monetise their products and access a market of millions of global users.

Apps for Play are limited to Android operating systems, but unlike competitors Apple, Google Play accepts all types of apps, with the aim of helping to develop and streamline app design for the benefit of the consumer and designer. This means that even the most novice and rudimentary app idea has access to and can get help from the global Google brain trust.

Developers in South Africa can get started right away by signing in to Google’s Developer Console and setting up a Google merchant account. If existing apps are already published as free, designers can choose to monetise them by adding in-app products or subscriptions.

Armed with fully developed apps and in-app products, developers can price them in any available currencies, publish, access financial and marketing data, and get pay-outs in South African rand.

“There have been plenty of amazing apps built in South Africa,” Luke McKend, director of Google South Africa, told IOL News at the announcement of the programme, “[but] the process of monetising them was never as smooth as we knew it could be.

“By allowing local developers to monetise their products on the Play Store, we’re underscoring how serious we are about digitally empowering South Africans.”

While the programme is currently limited to South African app development, success in this first stage of the project may lead to expansion into the rest of the continent over the next few years.

For more information about accessing Google Play and the Google Developer Console, click here https://youtu.be/GdZxbmEHW7M

Source: Brand South Africa, Google Africa

 

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South Africans are going global for Black Friday deals

South Africans shop for global Black Friday deals in the US, UK, China, Australia and Europe by subscribing to international shipping services.

This is according to Mark Mahoney manager of eCommerce services for delivery company Aramex Global Shopper, who said that South African consumers have become increasingly more comfortable shopping online from retailers all over the globe.

“Black Friday traditionally kicks off the global retail festive season – we saw a 31% increase in shipments over the festive season in 2016 and anticipate a similar spike this year.

“Additionally year on year growth in global shopping shipments grew by 96%”, he said.

Where South Africans are buying?

Unsurprisingly Amazon remains the “go to” site for many South Africans, said Mahoney.

However he said that site-choice was heavily dependent on whether shoppers were looking to make general Black Friday purchases or had a specific “niche” product in mind.

According to Mahoney, some of the favourites besides Amazon include:

    Sephora
    Alibaba.com
    Asos
    Zara Online
    ThinkGeek.com
    Google Home
    AmazonEcho
    Fisher-Price.com
    Lego Online;
    Powerhousefitness.co.uk

What they are buying

Fashion and beauty remains a big focus for South African female shoppers, said Mahoney, while sports equipment, gadgets ,and technology remain strong favourites alongside toys as Christmas gifts.

“While local retailers offer great savings over Black Friday weekend, retailers across the globe frequently cut prices to a mere fraction of their original price,” he said.

“South Africans can look offshore for unprecedented savings and can then use a well-priced shipping company like ourselves to affordably bring their finds home.

“Global shopping also allows South Africans to purchase ‘first to market’ tech and next season’s fashions for sales prices, making up for costly customs duties and ensuring that they stay abreast with trends before they arrive in South African stores months later.”

Source: Businesstech.co.za

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