Saturday, August 19, 2017
Friday, August 18, 2017
Africa is big, diverse, rapidly digitising and has huge promise as well as many dangers for export oriented Australian tech outfits.
Grame Barty (ex Austrade) has identified the potential around digital services delivered over mobile phones in Africa is massive.
“The African continent delivers one of the world's top three mobile phone – and increasingly smart phone – connected regional populations and will reach 725 million unique subscribers by 2020,” says Mr Barty
“The entire African population – regardless of location, nationality, tribe, age or gender will shortly be able to access mobile and smart phone delivered services."
“This means that high volume, mass market, low cost cloud based universal new service delivery will be possible,” he writes.
Add in burgeoning electronic payment infrastructure, a growing tech development ecosystem with 173 tech hubs and incubators in Africa and venture capital funding in African tech startups increasing by a factor of 10, from $41 million in 2012 to $414 million in 2014 with $600 million expected by 2018.
But beware - African countries are not for the faint hearted, with bribery and corruption prevalent as well as a lack of infrastructure and security and health concerns.
Africa lacks sufficient skilled, local blue collar and white collar talent, efficient infrastructure (power, transport, logistics, and urban utilities in particular), enforceable rule of law and are often beset by opaque business practices, bribery, corruption, facilitation payments and lack of adherence to contractual agreements, and African leaders can get very populist when it comes to foreign interests (Zimbabwe's President Mugabe looking to nationalise anything white or Tanzanian President John Magufuli who has got tough with foreign mining interests and has threatened to close every mine in the country if they don’t cough up the required taxes and royalties.
There is an opportunity for Australian business to play a part in the upskilling of Africa - maybe with the use of microlearning elearning and the extensive skills Australia has amassed in the VET (vocational education and training space )
There is a massive lower class - aspiring to become middle class - and when this wave happens - massive growth occurs!!!
“Australia has the best vocational training system in the world. Africa will have the world's largest unskilled population. We know that new jobs will need to be created in new industries which creates additional strains for Africa’s economies. Australia’s training system is highly capable of supporting Africa’s countries define this requirement/opportunity and deliver on it,” says Barty
This courseware would not necessarily need to offer accreditation, instead it could be offering simple skill development.
“I may or may not get accreditation for that skill – but before I start in a mine I have to complete an occupational health and safety course or learn the basics of operating a piece of equipment,” Mr Barty said.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Arthur Sinodinos: Announced a plan to make it easier to understand R&D Tax Incentive eligibility
It continues to make headway in improving the accessibility to a scheme, which many small businesses and start-ups have not understood, or were unaware they were entitled to.
The Department of Industry has announced plans to simplify the language and develop better processes to help tech companies better understand how to access the R&D tax scheme.
The department will work with a range of IT companies to pilot a system over the next several months to help businesses more easily work out whether the work they are doing qualifies for a concession or not.
These recommendations are to be implemented as a result of the‘Three F’ review panel into the R&D tax credit scheme chaired by Bill Ferris, Alan Finkel and John Fraser concluded in April 2016, was release for public comment in September 2016.
A spokesperson for Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos reiterated that it is still considering the recommendations made in the review and will provide a response once those considerations are completed.
Friday, August 11, 2017
Wednesday, August 09, 2017
Written on behalf of the New York Times for
- Every decade since, the global markets have relived this party. In the late 1960s the mania was for the “nifty 50” American companies like Disney and McDonald’s, which had been the “go-go” stocks of that decade.
- In the late 1970s it was for natural resources, from gold to oil.
- In the late 1980s it was stocks in Japan,
- and in the late 1990s it was the dot-com boom.
- Last decade, investors flocked to mortgage-backed securities and big emerging markets from Brazil to Russia. In every case, many partygoers were still in the market when the crash came.
- Today, tech mania is resurgent. Investors are again glancing at a clock with no hands — and dismissing the risk. The profitless start-ups that were wiped out in the dot-com crash have consolidated into an oligopoly composed of leading survivors such as Google and Apple.
- Last decade they bundled Brazil, Russia, India and China to sell as the BRICs.
- More recently they packaged Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google as FANG,
- then, as names and prospects shifted, subbed in Alphabet, Apple and Microsoft to make Faama.
- Others are hyping the hottest tech companies in China as BAT, for Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.
If there is a single thread, it is the expanding capacity to harness data, which the Alibaba founder, Jack Ma, calls the “electricity of the 21st century.”
Saturday, July 22, 2017
I am not known for being a great supporter of government programs, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank the SBIC program for taking a chance on me way back when when I was 26 years years old and starting out in the venture capital business. I was able to take a $2 million SBIC and use SBA's 3:1 leverage to have a fund where I could use their $6 million to start investing in tech startups.
I remember Marvin Klapp telling me I needed to have 10 years of investment experience, and I replied, "I have been investing since I was 10." He looked right down at his hands and said, "check!"
From that borrowed $6 million, I was able to build a record and a career that allowed me to finance over 1000 companies that have employed hundreds of thousands of employees, creating hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth for hardworking, driven creative people with dreams of a better future.
As of today, I have finally paid off all of my debt to SBA, so I wanted to show my appreciation for a group that was willing to stick their necks out for a green, unproven investor with a three page handwritten business plan.
So thank you Small Business Investment Company division of the Small Business Administration. Thank you Marvin Klapp, wherever you are.