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Joburg in top 50 cities for women entrepreneurs

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Dell Technologies has released its latest findings for its Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index, the only global, gender-specific study that looks at a city’s ability to foster the growth of women-owned businesses. Building on annual research since 2010, Dell ranks cities based on the impact of local policies, programs and characteristics in addition to national laws and customs to help improve support for women entrepreneurs and the overall economy. The study found an overall improvement for women looking to establish and build their own businesses but noted that there is still significant room for improvement.

“When we invest in women, we invest in the future. Communities prosper, economies thrive and the next generation leads with purpose,” said Karen Quintos, EVP and chief customer officer at Dell Technologies. “By arming city leaders and policymakers with actionable, data-driven research on the landscape for women entrepreneurs, we can collectively accelerate the success of women-owned businesses by removing financial, cultural and political barriers.”

Building on 10 years of research on women entrepreneurs, Dell Technologies partnered with IHS Markit to research and rank 50 cities on five important characteristics, including access to Capital, Technology, Talent, Culture and Markets. These pillars were organized into two groups: operating environment and enabling environment. The overall rating is based on 71 indicators, 45 of which have a gender-based component. Individual indicators were weighted based on four criteria: relevance, quality of underlying data, uniqueness in the index and gender component.

All 50 cities made progress since 2017, however, some cities made bigger strides than others and the race to the top inevitably left some cities behind.

Even though it dropped slightly in rankings, Johannesburg’s position at 36 is more indicative of the increasing competition to attract women entrepreneurs. It ranks ahead of numerous international hubs and overtakes Nairobi, the only other African city in the top 50. Talent is one of Johannesburg’s strongest pillars. While the city ranked No.29 overall in 2019 for Talent, it was within the top 10 for women’s skill & experience overall.

  • 78% of students at top universities are women in Johannesburg.
  • Women in Johannesburg also make up a considerable amount of the labour force employed in professional services (67%) and IT (65%)

In addition, more than a quarter of company boards in Johannesburg have women on them, a distinction shared with London, Sydney and Tel Aviv. Johannesburg also ranked 9th for the best market in terms of operating environment. From a city and national-level, policies for Culture, Technology and Markets have also been put in place to enable upward mobility for female entrepreneurs. These include: 

  • Government goals for women-owned business procurement
  • Policy for “equal remuneration for work of equal value”
  • Policy for “non-discrimination based on gender in hiring”
  • Presence of a paid maternity leave policy
  • Presence of open data initiatives

“Johannesburg is a business powerhouse, both in Africa and across the world,” said Doug Woolley, Dell EMC SA’s general manager. “It’s also a giant melting-pot and is known for its cosmopolitan and progressive attitudes. These are some of the reasons why it is more attractive and welcoming to all entrepreneurs, including women. Its inclusion in the 2019 Women Entrepreneur Cities findings shows that significance, but it’s also a reminder that much more can be done. AT Dell Technologies, we’ll keep being part of that movement until Jozi is number one!”

Globally, lack of funding, high cost of living, low representation of women in leadership roles, and the lack of government-led policies that support women entrepreneurs were among the barriers cited. Yet all the cities produced positive change among their major indicators. It reveals momentum in the right direction. As women rise to take up more roles as entrepreneurs and leaders, those cities that can attract such talent will have the brightest futures of all.

Advocating for Women Entrepreneurs

The 2017 to 2019 WE Cities Index results highlight the successes and challenges that each city faces, and where cities can learn best practices from one another. These key learnings, if supported by local governments, can add up to big changes for women-owned businesses, globally.

Based on the findings and comparison between the 2017-2019 indices, Dell Technologies has developed a set of WE Cities Policy Recommendations focused on three areas, including:

  • Access to and the development of financial and human capital.
  • Private and public sectors role in increasing access to local and global networks and markets.
  • How government and business leaders can help women entrepreneurs thrive in the changing-face of technology.

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Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?

It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.

Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.

When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.

That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.

In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.

The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.

Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.

“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.

“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”

Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.

In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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Robots coming to IFA

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Robotics is no longer about mechanical humanoids, but rather becoming an interface between man and machine. That is a key message being delivered at next month’s IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin. An entire hall will be devoted to IFA Next, which will not only offer a look into the future, but also show what form it will take.

The concepts are as varied as the exhibitors themselves. However, there are similarities in the various products, some more human than others, in the fascinating ways in which they establish a link between fun, learning and programming. In many cases, they are aimed at children and young people.

The following will be among the exhibitors making Hall 26 a must-visit:

Leju Robotics (Stand 115) from China is featuring what we all imagine a robot to be. The bipedal Aelos 1s can walk, dance and play football. And in carrying out all these actions it responds to spoken commands. But it also challenges young researchers to apply their creativity in programming it and teaching it new actions. And conversely, it also imparts scholastic knowledge.

Cubroid (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Korea starts off by promoting an independent approach to the way it deals with tasks. Multi-functional cubes, glowing as they play music, or equipped with a tiny rotating motor, join together like Lego pieces. Configuration and programming are thus combined, providing a basic idea of what constitutes artificial intelligence.

Spain is represented by Ebotics (Stand 218). This company is presenting an entire portfolio of building components, including the “Mint” educational program. The modular system explains about modern construction, programming and the entire field of robotics.

Elematec Corporation (Stand 208) from Japan is presenting the two-armed SCARA, which is not intended to deal with any tasks, but in particular to assist people with their work.

Everybot (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Japan approaches the concept of robotics by introducing an autonomous floor-cleaning machine, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner.

And Segway (Stand 222) is using a number of products to explain the modern approach to battery-powered locomotion.

IFA will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from 6 to 11 September 2019. For more information, visit www.ifa-berlin.com

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