06.11.19

Brant Cooper: Finding Value

BY Hannah Adler 3 MINUTE READ

Brant Cooper: Best-selling author, TEDx speaker, major disrupter, and big fan of wearing jeans and a T-shirt to work. This all helps feed his life mission: Helping big companies find value again.

Brant Cooper is the author of best-selling book The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products. He gives speeches and talks all over the world. Brant is a disrupter. In fact, he’s already admitted – with a big smile – that he purposefully makes his audiences feel uncomfortable so as to promote learning and growth. He’s the messiah for big businesses and the Holy Grail for startups. His insights are well-thought out as he runs through the benefits of mentoring instead of managing, and how to teach those below you to think for themselves. In an exclusive sit-down with Fast Company SA, he reveals the tool-kit for disrupting businesses to-be. 

You’re a self-confessed disrupter. What does this mean to you?

Being a disrupter means all sorts of different things. It can mean a new startup disrupting an industry. I don’t think my startup is there yet. But say I’m doing a talk, I want to evoke a feeling where people are a bit uncomfortable. In that way, I feel like I’m disrupting the status quo. I want people to get out of their comfort zone because that is what enables them to take in information in a different way. 

And how do you do that?

Well it’s funny. I used to do that by going into very conservative places where everyone would sit in a suit and tie, and I would just wear jeans and a T-shirt. When I did that people looked at me funny, but I didn’t care because I wanted people to feel uncomfortable. Nowadays, there’s a lot of people talking about how our brain operates. There’s ‘system one’, when we’re in our comfort zone, and we’re actually very relaxed and not using very
much energy. It’s possible to get someone into their ‘system two’ where they’re more engaged and more emotionally aware. You want that. 

You have a concept called ‘inquire and then promote’ — working out when is best to inquire into an idea and when is best to promote. Tell us about this. 

What I need to do as a leader is empower people to make their own decisions. It’s actually harder than it seems as people will still come to you for permission. I don’t want that — it just eats up all my time. You have to actively empower people and say, “No, I want you to make a decision. You’re the one that has all the information, you’re not going to be punished if you’re wrong so you need to take a chance, do your homework, learn how to be a thinker yourself, make a decision and go for it. You can deal with whatever happens afterwards.” That’s how I tend to operate and that’s what makes a company scaleable: You actually pass that permission down and empower people to make decisions. It can’t just be those higher up in the hierarchy anymore. The hierarchy slows things down and people at the top don’t have the same quality of information as those at the bottom. 

How does failure feature in the road to success? I read you don’t believe in the failing fast mentality.

In a lot of cultures, you don’t want to bring up the word “fail” at all. I like to fail small so you don’t fail big. The only failure though, is if you fail and you don’t learn anything. I like to say that human beings are failure machines because we actually fail really well. With almost everything that we try, we fail at a dozen times and then succeed only once. When you first learn to walk, when you first learn to ride a bike, maybe the first time you try to find your life partner – these all take a lot of tries – and we actually fail really well at them. Failure is something that comes naturally to kids too. But by the time you’re an adult it’s like, nope not allowed to fail. You’re not even allowed to admit when you don’t know something. It’s silly. The same way we suck creativity out of kids. What we want is those incremental failures so we don’t fail big. You’re running a bunch of experiments trying to validate and invalidate your assumptions, and hopefully learn along the way.


Read more in the May 2019 issue of Fast Company SA

04.10.19

Event Season: 3 reasons to throw an event & 3 tips to throw it well

BY Hannah Adler 6 MINUTE READ

Events are important. Whether a brand wants to establish themselves, launch a new product, provide an educational series of talks or simply provide the opportunity to network. People will remember the event. Positive or negative press is quick to come out and a few simple decisions can swing the tone either way.

Reasons to throw

Kerith Hulme, CEO and founder of events company Foot Soldiers, explains to us why events are important for any business in any industry. “No matter how advanced technology becomes,” she explains, addressing the growing digital climate,  “humans are still complex creatures who thrive on personal interactions and complex subjective processing.” Rather than just a chance to show off and impress, Kerith insists that 70% of decisions are made on emotional factors, and events are one of the best ways to bring together teams, clients and vendors. Kerith outlines three top reasons as to why you might want to throw a business event. Perfecting your event may also just keep your competitors off your heels.

Networking opportunities


Whilst some events offer purely an opportunity to network with like-minded folk, any industry event gives your staff the chance to either interact with their clients or build relationships within the industry. Given our propensity to engage with and do business with people that we know, this is a key factor when considering the importance of the events industry in 2019. Many new and important relationships are formed at events, and the right connection can make or break any company. Don’t underestimate the value of a face-to-face connection when delivered correctly.

Differentiation

Competition is everywhere, and especially in our fast-moving and opportune society there is always someone waiting to offer an alternative to your service or product. Hosting clients or staff at an event that exceeds their expectations is a great way to show your commitment to excellence, and the right event can bring your brand to life in a way that subtly (or not so subtly) stays with the client until they next reach for the phone. This also applies to educational sessions, where bringing together the right industry experts proves that you lead the market, and associates your brand with the prestige of your speakers and guests. This is an obvious advantage with cutting-edge product launches, but is also an important consideration for any brand that is looking for ways to edge out their competitors. The style and delivery of the event create an association with your brand for all attendees.

Staff appreciation

The figures vary, but everyone knows that staff who feel valued are more likely to go the extra mile in their performance. Simple staff appreciation events are a great way to make the team feel valued, improve their interpersonal interactions, and just generally improve morale.  It’s important to strike the right balance between the staff’s enjoyment and the return on the event though, and to bear in mind the company’s ethos and values when planning internal events.


Throwing it well

Organising events in-house can prove successful, and is often done by companies to save on budget. However, Kerith warns that stretching your resources too thin within the company at crunch time, can increase pressure. She averages that most event companies have only six staff with which to deliver multi million rand events. It is important for her that companies consider outsourcing staff, so that companies can focus on branding and company centric details.
 
Kerith provides us with a brief insight into the depth of knowledge her soldiers are equipped with. We learn compromise is key, and flexibility is everything. Plans will always change, but with the correct planning it never has to be the catastrophe you think it’ll be. We ask her for some advice on how to avoid some of the biggest problems companies make when putting together an event.

As the founder of Foot Soldiers, what are the tenets and skills that you teach your staff, which companies are bound to overlook when preferring to arrange events in house?

Our clients rely on our ability to deliver friendly, polite and professional staff, who are able to assist with a variety of tasks that are highly dependent on manpower. We focus a lot on developing confidence and presentation in our staff, as these elements create a first impression that sets the client’s mind at ease. Our staff are trained to assist right from the initial stages of the event, with small tasks such as packing of gift bags or calling prospective attendees. This allows the client to focus on the complexities of running the event – from a brand perspective. We’re constantly working on improving our training to ensure that our clients feel comfortable in outsourcing to us. It is also important internally that we bring in elements such as leadership, email writing skills and public speaking to our training, in order to ensure that through our programmes and work, our are able to grow their knowledge base as they start to look for full time employment.

How can companies avoid going over budget?


The simplest answer to this complicated question is that clients should have realistic expectations right from the beginning of the process. However, we all know that it is not that simple, and in the highly competitive markets that we all work within, budget is often the final decision-maker. Being open to discussion and suggestion is a way for companies to work with their events partners in order to devise a solution that delivers the objective, while staying in budget. Too often I feel that the events company is not considered a part of the team – when you include the people delivering on your event in planning and budget meetings, it is a lot easier for everyone to be on the same page.

Be wary also of suppliers that come in far under what the industry average is. There are many businesses that promise miracles just to ensure that they get the contract, and then realise only once it has been awarded that they are inadequately equipped to deliver. Don’t be shy to shop around, but when you find someone with whom you share a good working relationship, don’t be tempted to undercut them to save on budget.  Be honest about budgetary concerns, and work with the events company to bring down costs. We often sit with clients and discuss how to bring down the budget without losing the event’s impact. Sometimes it just takes a little lateral thinking and teamwork. But be aware that certain items are high cost, and you may be prepared to drastically adjust your vision if your budget does not align.

How important is good communication between role players and suppliers? Where do companies let themselves down? 

This is such a great question. Communication is key! We even have a slide in our training that says exactly that – on all levels, communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and helps make delivering the project a little easier. If an open and respectful dialogue can be maintained, everyone is able to handle the pressure to deliver.  The industry is one of the most highly stressful in the world, and that applies to everyone in the value chain – from the waiter serving the canapes, to the CEO hosting the event. It is a short amount of time to make a big impact, and all too often this pressure results in short fuses blowing. We focus on nurturing our supplier network as much as our clients, and we treat our suppliers as part of the team. No one can do everything, and finding the right people to work with is a big part of creating success.

Companies let themselves down with incomplete briefs and unrealistic budgets, but also by not remembering the reasons that they are hosting an event – the guest experience. Clear communication at all times helps ensure that the project delivers the best experience for the guest.

You have said, the “human element adds that intangible extra.” Should event companies be turning to the digital arena? Where do you see the future of events?

Yes, the future is digital, but this doesn’t mean that everyone is sitting in a room on their own in the dark. By being aware of what the consumer wants, the industry can deliver events that people want to attend – whether in person or via a digital connection. A great example of this is South Africa’s first Comicon, held last year. The organisers knew that the event was a huge success internationally, and that there was a burgeoning target market in South Africa – and the event was completely sold out. That audience is hyper-tech savvy, and yet they flocked to an outdoor events arena because something was being offered that they could not get anywhere else. 

Events need to offer something that cannot be matched on a digital platform if the goal is footfall, and yet I believe that there is potential in the industry to offer events on a dual medium – some via a digital channel, and some in person. We are already doing this in so many ways – think live streaming, Snapchat stories, event hashtags. The future will see events delivered where a digital experience offers an alternative that delivers as much value, with the ability to attend remotely. The scope for this is huge, and already certain players are experimenting with online conventions and even online retail exhibitions.

Incentive events and congresses remain a key industry sector, and digital serves to drive this market’s growth as it increases awareness of remote and unusual destinations. The digital future also allows people to travel for events, while still being able to stay up to date with their day to day duties, thereby making it easier to attend events and incentive trips.

The human condition is insatiably curious, which is why we live in the world that we do, and events professionals are some of the most ingenious people out there. So although times may be tough for those that cannot innovate, I think we have only just started to grasp the potential of the events industry.

04.05.19

Most Innovative Company to Watch: Team QOLO

BY Hannah Adler 2 MINUTE READ

At the Toyota Mobility Festival, innovators from around the world competed to create the most ‘game-changing’ technologies to help those with lower limb paralysis. The five finalists received $500 000 each to turn their idea into a prototype, and the final winner will be awarded $1 million in 2020 in Tokyo. Kenji Suzuki and the QOLO Team (Quality of Life with Locomotion) from University of Tsukuba in Japan has created a mobile exoskeleton on wheels, and allows users to sit or stand with ease. It’s set to change the way people with lower limb paralysis move around and live their lives.

“We want to provide a standing mobility device for people forced to be seated. Our device is innovative because it removes the ‘chair’ from wheelchair,” says Suzuki.


What benefits come from a lack of electric power?

QOLO-T is integrated with torso support for the person who needs it. The device is based on an array of force sensors located at the abdominal contact area of the user. Due to the lack of electric power, the user is able to control the movements freely, changing their posture to intermediate postures (not fully seated or standing) with natural motions of the upper-body rather than button-controlled interfaces.

Where did the idea of the exoskeleton come from?

Our idea is centred around the need for a hands-free locomotion with full assistance for natural standing and sitting motions. The exoskeleton is a good solution. By using a smart mechanism that combines a passive actuator (gas-spring) and a synchronous lower-body and upper-body motion to ensure a voluntary sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit (STS) transition, we can provide a system that works without electric power.

How will it improve the lives of those who use it?

This mobility vehicle will not only allow people to stand and reach for something, but also assist those with lower-limb disabilities to interact at eye level. Our device will enable users to have a choice of standing whenever they want, giving back the ability to communicate and participate in society at the same height as others.

Tell us more about the team.

The team consists of; Kenji Suzuki, a current Professor of the Faculty of Engineering, Information and Systems at the university; Hideki Kadone, an assistant professor of the Faculty of Medicine at the university; and Yukiyo Shimizu, a lecturer in Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Tskuba Hospital. We are a team from different backgrounds.

By co-creating, we have understood the medical implications of living in a wheelchair. Lower-limb bone density reduction and bedsores are common medical issues resulting from seated living. Social and psychological effects are also forgotten at times. Therefore, we believe having better mobility aides in a healthier physical and social life.

Where do you see this product in five years?

We will develop this device as a full mobility solution, launch a company and reach more people. Launching a company is the best way to support our project.

04.04.19

For Building a Crowdfunding Enterprise Tackling Social Issues

BY Hannah Adler 2 MINUTE READ

A disturbing thought has continuously plagued Lauren Gillis’ mind. The prevalence of inequality in many societies still today was something she understood to be inevitable — however, very fixable.

“I was frequently kept awake at night by thoughts of so many people suffering because of the lack of opportunity available to them,” Lauren says. “I wanted to find a creative way to make an impact and lessen the divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ in society.” 

Starting out as a social worker, Lauren devised a unique solution to aid this great divide and consequently co-founded Relate Trust, with Neil Robinson. “I believed that a simple connector could provide dignity, hope and opportunity to unemployed people,” she says. “This, in turn, could fund other charities and connect humanity to brands as well as each other. It came in the form of the Relate bracelet.”

The NPO was founded on a unique blueprint that has engineered skills development, entrepreneurship and social investment into a single unit. How does it work? Relate Trust employees refugees, youth and underprivileged individuals to handmake the Relate bracelets. A portion of the funds generated from the bracelet sales is then poured back into another charity fighting a cause.

Not only is it an effective crowdfunding tool that addresses societal issues, it’s also a smart solution to sustainable job creation in South Africa. “The project has afforded countless underprivileged people with trade and entrepreneurial skills which are vital in today’s world,”  she says. “Relate is attuned to the needs of the causes it supports as well as the the country’s business and economic environment.”

For trailblazers like Lauren, South Africa is an entrepreneur’s dream when it comes to business opportunities and social development. “South Africa is a hub of entrepreneurial networks that have the power to elicit change for the benefit of all citizens in terms of job creation, upliftment and new business ventures,” says Lauren. “However, a constant and sustained effort is needed to keep that message alive in the minds and hearts at home and abroad.”

Read more in the March/April issue of Fast Company South Africa.

03.28.19

For Creating the Next Generation’s Apps

BY Hannah Adler 3 MINUTE READ

Xander – a series of educational children’s apps – is just one of the many innovative products created by EverAfrica. The apps provide mother tongue learning for children (between ages three and six) who speak African languages. The apps can be downloaded in Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Sotho, Swahili or Shona — the first of its kind on the App and Play Stores. These award-winning apps not only allow for children to learn in their native language, but also develop their fine-motor skills whilst having fun. Founder Sibella Knott-Craig discusses how the idea will positively impact the lives of  children everywhere. 

How did the concept for Xander apps come about?

It all began on a family road trip through the US five years ago. It was obvious to us that children will engage with technology in the future, come what may. I searched for good educational apps for our children to play with during our long trans-Atlantic flight, but found such apps in short supply — needless to say, they were also all in English. Nothing was available at the time in Afrikaans or any other South African language. During this trip, we experienced how much our children learnt from the material that I did manage to find, and I realised there was a gap in our market. Upon arrival in South Africa, I got started on creating high quality educational apps in local languages. Luckily I found a partner with some tech skills who shared my vision and could help the dream come to fruition, and so Xander, the adorable dinosaur, was born. 

Why did the company focus on apps for children?

I chose children between the ages of three to six years, as those were the ages of our children at the time, and I felt comfortable developing for their needs and abilities. I knew the games they liked to play as well as the work they were doing at school, so I combined it into an app. I started in Afrikaans, as I can speak it and thought it would be good to understand our users. The first apps received good support and it became possible to not only continue building Afrikaans apps, but to add seven more African languages. Back then, only 6% of all the apps on the App and Play Stores were not in English! Poverty is one of Africa’s big-gest problems, and I believe that literacy reduces poverty, I also believe that literacy is best addressed at a young age in a child’s own language, so the idea of creating educational apps for young children in local languages fitted into my belief system.


What has been the most rewarding part of creating an innovative business?

The freedom, and losing my fear of failure, for sure. I trained as a chartered accountant and was taught to be professional, but it just felt like I was dying a slow death. The profession gave me an incredible amount of knowledge and experience (as well as good friends and an amazing husband) for which I’m so grateful. It was a huge privilege to train while being protected from all potential dangers, but it wasn’t a life I could maintain with three young children and an appetite for experiential learning. 

How did you overcome challenges?

A challenge has been working without the usual corporate structure that had given me comfort in the past. There were no meetings, no feedback, no professional team to consult with, and no IT division to help me with my laptop issues. I learnt to ask questions, build a network, to assess my choices and quickly change direction when they weren’t working. I learnt to feel comfortable without a structure and to take responsibility for my decisions. I also knew very little about anything ‘tech’ before I started, so I had to swallow my pride and make some rookie errors. I’ve learnt so much and am enormously indebted to my colleagues for standing by me. 

Read more in the March/April issue of Fast Company South Africa.

03.19.19

For Growing Sustainable Investments

BY Hannah Adler 2 MINUTE READ

Financial expert, entrepreneur and Founder of business advisory firm House of Growth Francois Herbst has a grand vision. It involves upskilling people, creating value for startups and assisting SMEs in reaching their financial goals. A seasoned chartered accountant (CA), Herbst seeks out potential in situations – ideal for anyone getting a grip with the business terrain. “During my articles, I met so many SMEs not reaching their full potential due to their lack of operational structure and financial literacy,” he says. “I decided to start helping these business owners make informed decisions, leading to sustainable growth, more profit and job creation.”

The skills subsidiary 

For House of Growth, “investment” is a multifaceted word. Not only does the company offer monetary support to small businesses in exchange for shares, but it also invests time over the long term. “As CAs ourselves, we will be the first to point out the importance of interpreting and understanding your business finances, but we know the heart of any organisation lies within the operational side of having a successful business,” says Herbst. 

Developing skills for individuals to become self-sufficient is another area House of Growth is fully invested in. Given South Africa’s unemployment rate, incorporating socio-economic programmes into corporate strategies is the crucial way forward. Such social investment creates a knock-on effect. Upskilled individuals will then have the insight to start their own businesses, create jobs and, in turn, upskill others. 

On backing local talent

In South Africa, the increasing need for mentors who are willing to impart knowledge on what makes a business successful is on a continuous upward spike. Herbst explains how the demand is overwhelming, further motivating him to ensure the quality of service supplied by House of Growth remains up to standard with the resources they have. “We need to continuously monitor our capacity versus the demand for our service. To keep delivering the utmost professional and quality service, we as a firm need to make sure our capacity is enough to address the needs of our clients.”

A large demand for these services is extremely positive for South Africa’s economy. It highlights the fact that many individuals are starting their own businesses, which in turn creates more jobs and boosts the economy. “Growing up as a sportsman, I was taught from a young age to know the rules of the game, accept it and play as hard as you can within those rules. And I still hold true to this mantra,” he says. “Could there be more constructive legislation? Most definitely, yes. But while this legislation applies to all businesses, make sure you out-work, out-smart and outperform your competition. I am still very confident about the future of South Africa.”

Read more in the March/April issue of Fast Company South Africa.

03.15.19

For Inspiring Entrepreneurial Thinking

BY Hannah Adler 2 MINUTE READ

Uprise.Africa is an innovative online platform that enables the discovery of local businesses with investment potential. It is dedicated to supporting SMEs, whilst tailored to the novice or professional investor. Their business concept is to ensure raising capital and investing in local companies is more accessible and easier for South Africans – and soon all of Africa – to encourage SME growth. CEO Tabassum Qadir explains how they’re bringing Africa into the future. 

Uprise.Africa is one company out of many that you have been involved in. What made this one worth starting?

I experienced the lack of alternative funding solutions within the South African SME landscape in my last venture. My personal experience and research on the role that equity crowdfunding has played in other parts of the world was the motivation behind launching the platform. I have a passion for entrepreneurship in Africa and Uprise.Africa will play a big role in enabling SME growth in South Africa and Africa as a whole. In a time of tight resources, entrepreneurs often face a funding gap between their startup “seed” funds and “go to market” capital. Crowdfunding is a great way to fill that gap by scaling what works to the next level. Crowdfunding enables entrepreneurs to test, learn and grow their business models rapidly in the early days of their development.

What is Uprise.Africa’s business philosophy? 

Our philosophy is ‘Fall to fly’. The willingness to embrace failure as a stepping stone toward success is our ethos. While it’s important to be strategic about all business goals and to aim for success on the first attempt, utilising mistakes to better inform future decisions will keep companies sustainable and flexible as consumer needs change over time.

Why is innovation important ?

Innovation inspires entrepreneurial thinking. Innovation is the cornerstone of sustained economic growth and prosperity. It is vital as new ideas lead to the making of new products, services and processes.

Read more in our March/April 2019 issue of Fast Company South Africa.

5 Reasons BigFive Summit Drives Growth Opportunities for SMEs

BY Hannah Adler 2 MINUTE READ

BigFive Digital is the company SMEs wish they knew. Dedicated to the growth of SMEs, BigFive Digital supports them through their five cornerstone pillars: Search, Social, Mobile, Location and Payments. But what are the five big reasons this company should be behind every SME?

1. They’re up to date: BigFive is mindful of modern trends and the latest advancements – excelling where others might lack the speed to catch up. “In recent years, as a direct consequence of the explosive growth in smartphone adoption, literally millions of African and Middle Eastern consumers are experiencing the online world for the first time,” states Thabo Seopa, Co-founder and Chairman of BigFive Digital. “We created BigFive Digital to serve and support the growing community of media, mobile, technology and software companies who are providing the infrastructure that allows local SMEs to participate in this digital revolution.”

2. They’re generous with what they know: BigFive Summit is an event of BigFive Digital that hopes to contribute for sustainability across local commerce ecosystems by sharing insights. BigFive Summit is a bid to improve the business development of all those who attend. The opportunities and challenges that arise when marketing digital media and cloud-based business efficiency solutions will be discussed and pointed out.

3. They promote collaboration: “It is very much our intention to provide a platform for market-leading African & Middle Eastern media, marketing and technology vendors to learn, share and collaborate with their regional and global peers,” says Paul Plant, BigFive Digital’s Director of Operations. “We seek to build a multi-national community of like-minded companies who share our passion and objectives for helping local business owners to benefit from the digital economy.”

4. They’re open to all: BigFive Summit is an access-for-all event. Everyone who wishes to see the growth of SMEs via digital marketing, productivity improvement, transactional ecommerce, and back-office efficiency are encouraged to attend.

5. They put on events which actually help: In Cape Town, from 13-15 May 2019, BigFive Summit will bring together SMEs from all industries. BigFive Summit will share knowledge, provide a space for networking and help companies across Africa and The Middle East find digital marketing and technology solutions.

BigFive Summit will take place at Workshop 17 at the V&A Waterfront, in Cape Town from 13-15 May 2019. For more information and to register as a delegate, visit www.bigfivedigital.org/summit

For speaking opportunities or to exhibit or sponsor at BigFive Summit, please contact [email protected]

03.12.19

For Accelerating App Development

BY Hannah Adler 1 MINUTE READ

With an MBA from UCT under his belt, Accenture’s Liquid Studio Director and Innovation Lead Rory Moore is a master in advising on innovation, forward-thinking and entrepreneurship strategies. 

Rory is heavily involved in expanding the community of startups, incubators and accelerators through Accenture. He models the architecture of the innovators to suit the existing capabilities of the company.

Rapid change through digitisation doesn’t scare Rory however. Rather, he views advancements in exponential technologies – such as AI, IoT, extended reality and blockchain – as crucial cogs in the wheel of success. It aligns with one of Accenture’s main goals: To use technology and innovation as a mechanism to improve how the world operates. With this in mind, Accenture founded Liquid Studio in Johannesburg — one of several new incentives in South Africa to promote the implementation of IT trends. Liquid Studio gives clients direct access to Accenture experts who can relay key strategies. 

Due to the alliance ecosystem, clients are welcome to pursue innovative and disruptive technologies and integrate AI with their products. Accenture ensures the possibility of innovation and a speedy route towards it. Open access to workshops and hands-on advice – at a time when, according to Rory, business-cycle times are shrinking – are critical to coming to market faster.

Read more in the March/April 2019 issue of Fast Company South Africa.

South Africa Gets a Top Up On Its eCommerce Knowledge

BY Hannah Adler 1 MINUTE READ

On 19 and 20 March, eCommerce Africa will provide schooling for those who wish to know, on how to compete with giants – Amazon included.

eCommerce Africa has curated the best speakers to guide the 2019 event, including Google, Naspers, DHL and Jumia. Those who attend can expect to learn how to leverage the rapid growth of cross-border payments and how to ensure customer security.

More than 300 companies will come together to share their insights on using technology to improve retail experiences. One of the most highly anticipated discussions will be given by Brands Eye, the social insights organisation that famously predicted the 2016 US election results through social media sentiment analytics. This South African insights company will touch on how people talk and engage on traditional vs eCommerce platforms, with a cross-market comparison between the UK and South Africa.

Terry Southam, Kinetic Managing Director, explains “the collection of thought leaders and the topics under discussion this year are aimed at creating an immediate impact for African ecommerce companies. From marketing to fulfilment, the world’s best will be on stage sharing best practice and innovative hacks to drive online growth”

“It is quite remarkable to have all of these industry leaders on the same stage, not only willing to share but actively working to grow the industry and ensure African customers receive a world class online shopping experience,” says Southam.

Organised by Kinetic, an events company whose mission is to ‘inspire change by leaving delegates with fresh insights, new perspectives and real business opportunities’, eCommerce Africa should directly help inspire growth in the African sector.