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Redshift – Connecting South African small retailers with shoppers during lockdown

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Mmabatho Mokiti, Founding Director at Redshift

Have you ever wondered why all technologies seem to launch in the more centralized urban areas particularly in Johannesburg? Why, although the township economy keeps thriving and the technological advancements seem to ignore this economy. These were the questions Mmabatho Mokiti, John McDonald and Douglas Hoseck who founded Redshift had.

“I woke up and found myself in a lockdown, amidst a pandemic with soldiers on the streets and worry about just getting basic groceries. I worried about my neighbors and how they would protect themselves. The entrepreneurs in my neighborhood, who would have to shut down for safety reasons even though they formed part of essential services. It seemed to me, that there was a unique dilemma we faced and this insight was the reason we built the Redshift Store Connector.” Says Mokiti

According to a recent report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which measures the size of South Africa’s small business sector, of South Africa’s estimated 5.78 million MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), only 14% are formalised. Of the 817 000 formal MSMEs, 686 000 are classified as small, very small and micro. In contrast, there exists over 2 million informal MSMEs and 2,89 million survivalist businesses. Most micro and very small businesses exist to create self-employment.

Retail accounts for the majority of MSMEs with most of them operating in domestic trade (wholesale and retail). The current lockdown has seen a boom for large food retailers and established chain stores, which have benefited from panic buying. But presents a serious blow to the prospects of small independent retailers in township environments.

John McDonald, Founding Director at Redshift

“We decided to do something to help South Africa during her time of need. Given Redshift is an agile, easy to use website builder with phenomenal turnaround times, we built our Local Store Connector in a matter of hours with a solution oriented mentality in mind. Here’s the perfect tool to help connect consumers to small business owners while solving several problems at once. Social distancing, food security, safety and convenience are some of the immediate benefits that a customer will gain from using the Local Store Connector. The benefits for small business owners include getting a free online presence to help make an already under-pressure customer base aware that they are open for trade during lockdown and facilitating customer orders,” says McDonald.

While the lockdown regulations allow food retailers to continue trading, they must formally apply for a license to do so. There is lack of clarity as to whether independent retailers such as spaza shops are allowed to trade from their premises, and social distancing protocols have discouraged shoppers from utilising their services. This has resulted in most shoppers flocking to large chain stores as evidenced by the long lines seen at shopping malls and large outlets.

Also Read: These two Africans are helping businesses and individuals spend less time doing expenses with Xpensi

In support of small businesses in South Africa, Redshift supported by FinMark Trust will focus on using digital means to connect township food retailers to their customer base. The Redshift platform provides small businesses the opportunity to list themselves and accept orders from shoppers. These orders can then be pre-packed and readied for collection by the customer or for home delivery. As part of the on-boarding process, the platform facilitates MSME’s formally registering as essential businesses, which then allows them to continue to trade during the lockdown.

Subsequent phases will include introduction of digital payments and digital generation of management accounts that will assist in securing funding for working capital and expansion.

Redshift’s Online Store Connector functions in two ways:

  1. It allows retail MSMEs to register their stores in order to access the local marketat no cost; and
  2. It allows customers to shop from their local stores by simply submitting their grocery list and collecting their them after receiving confirmation, again at no cost. Thus, avoiding long queuesand the risk of getting infected and spreading the virus, while enabling food security for households.

The Local Shop Connector

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Press Release

Industry event co-location to boost science-based industry development

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Three industry trade shows across interconnected value chains for food, drink, water, waste and analytics

The future of South Africa’s key industry sectors – including food & drink, water, sewage and waste treatment – rest heavily on science, and never more so than now, as the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of testing and analytics in assuring a compliant work environment and safe products.

Messe Muenchen South Africa, organisers of several of Africa’s major industry trade shows, have co-located food & drink technology (fdt) Africa, IFAT Africa and analytica Lab Africa to bring science and innovation closer to food & drink, water, sewage and waste treatment, for one-stop access to the interconnected value chains in these sectors.

analytica Lab Africa, food & drink technology (fdt) Africa and IFAT Africa bring to Africa the full spectrum of the science and technology laboratory technology, analysis, biotechnology and diagnostics behind consumer products and pharmaceuticals, food and beverage production, and water, sewage, refuse and recycling, water and waste management as environmental concerns and food security become a top priority around the world.

The format of the trade shows and their peripheral events are designed to spark knowledge transfer, showcase global trends and solutions to Africa’s challenges, catalyse business and facilitate introductions that support collaboration and economic growth.

Also Read: Women in Tech: Interview With Ellen Fischat, Founder Story Room and Inspiring Fifty SA Ambassador

The industry response to co-locating analytica Lab Africa with fdt Africa and IFAT Africa has been resoundingly positive, with up to 10,000 visitors and nearly 400 exhibitors from across Africa and around the world converging at the events to network, share knowledge and explore multi-sectoral business opportunities. Suzette Scheepers, Chief Executive Officer of Messe Muenchen in South Africa, said the synergies between the three sectors were immediately apparent, and gave visitors an opportunity to learn about trends, innovations and opportunities across sectors.  Together, the events occupied 17,000 square meters in four halls of the Gallagher Convention Centre.

In 2021, IFAT Africa, food & drink technology (fdt) Africa and analytica Lab Africa will be staged at the Gallagher Convention Centre from July 13 – 15.

analytica Lab Africa is the only trade fair for laboratory technology, analysis, biotechnology and diagnostics in South Africa. The show features both local and international market leaders, addressing visitors in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. The first analytica Lab Africa, in 2019, featured solutions by 148 exhibitors from 15 countries, as well as a strong supporting programme including a forum and demo area with practical presentations on food safety, laboratory applications and topics such as laboratory safety.

food & drink technology (fdt) Africa  is a biennial trade fair held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The trade fair and its accompanying programme (including a high-quality exhibitor forum) is the third successful offset of Messe München’s drinktec, the world’s leading trade fair in the beverage and liquid food industry. In 2019, approximately 65 exhibitors from 13 countries presented custom solutions for the African market: from innovative developments for resource conservation to raw materials, through to processing, filling and packaging machines.

IFAT Africa is the leading trade fair for water, sewage, refuse and recycling in Southern Africa.

In 2019, the show welcomed 172 exhibitors and recorded an 83 percent increase in visitor numbers from 2017, with 3,302 visitors from across South African, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In 2021, the show will again feature a high-calibre forum programme addressing various trends, challenges and solutions from the water, sewage, refuse and recycling sectors, bringing together public and private sector, solution providers, academics, practitioners and decision-makers for three days of valuable knowledge sharing. Highlights of the event also include focused masterclasses hosted by the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) and Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) the 3rd edition of the University Challenge, product demonstrations and interactive corner.

Issued by ITP Communication

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Black Mamba- Changing the world one chilli at a time

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Black Mamba, the HOTTEST African brand is on a mission to bring sustainable, freshly made products to the world, that taste good, look good and do good. In this exclusive chat with Claudia Castellanos who is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at Black Mamba, Claudia shares her African story with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online. Excerpts.

Black Mamba is a fair trade producer of gourmet chilli products, based in the African Kingdom of Eswatini. Founded in 2010, and manufactures a range of chilli sauces, pestos, pickles, chutneys and jams, all made with natural, fresh ingredients, and no artificial flavours or preservatives.

Currently Black Mamba exports its products to South Africa, the U.K., Germany, Norway and the US, amongst other markets. And their premises posses a FSSC22000 food safety certification, one of the strictest in the world.

(Image credit: Claudia Castellanos)

This business was started by Claudia Castellanos and her husband Joe Roques who both share their love for chillies with the passion for development of communities and sustainable farming. From the beginning, while stirring a pot of chilli sauce from the back their house, they believed that it was possible to make a high quality, distinctively delicious product with a 100% sustainable value chain that would benefit those involved and the environment.

Black Mamba works in partnership with a local NGO called Guba, whose mission is to improve the livelihood of communities in Eswatini through the use of permaculture practices. Black Mamba and Guba have a symbiotic relationship where Guba develops the farmers and their farming skills, and Black Mamba provides the marketplace for the Guba-trained farmers to sell their organically grown products.

To date, Black Mamba provides a sustainable income to 60 farmers, mostly women, that are part of this initiative. Over 1000 individuals are directly impacted as each farmer has in average 6 dependents and shares their knowledge with 11 members of their community.

Chillies (Image credit: Claudia Castellanos)

Claudia said; “We have established ourselves as a cult brand locally, and envision growing this worldwide, connecting chilli heads and ethical foodies across the world to generation of growers, providing proof that planet and people matter.”

Social Impact

  • 14 full-time employees, 12 of which are women and the main breadwinners of their households in average 5 dependents.
  • 60 farmers, of which 50 are women- in average 6 dependents and sharing knowledge with 11 members of their communities.
  • Current impact over 1000 individuals Possibility to engage up to 180 farmers with a potential impact on 5000 individuals.
  • Access to work and sustainable income.
  • Welfare programmess: Peer education on health and gender topics, mobile clinics (general checkups, breast and cervix cancer, HIV) and savings programmes for employees
  • The farmers have also learnt how to grow herbs for medicinal use, other crops to sell to their communities, healthier food and firewood.

Growers (Image credit: Claudia Castellanos)

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Environmental Impact

  • Improved soil structure.
  • Diversity of ground cover crops.
  • Reduced erosion.
  • Improved use of water resources.
  • Improved biodiversity at homestead level.
  • Packaging material: glass and cardboard.
  • 90% of our waste gets recycled or composted.
(Image credit: Claudia Castellanos)

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CEO Corner

Biography: Remi Duyile- RemiSpeaks, Career and Impact

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Remi Duyile: Author | International Speaker | Empowerment Coach | Strategic Consultant

About Remi Duyile

Dr. Remi Duyile is a Nigerian-born and accomplished author, founder of Legacy premier foundation, a business leader with expertise and extensive experience in the financial sector, government and corporate strategy and communication , an eloquent International Keynote speaker who is intentionally  in the Diaspora and abroad impacting the next generation and being a business bridge to Global Investors. She is an insightful legislative advocate and trusted community leader. Remi Duyile wears many hats, the one that she wears very proudly is being a devoted wife, and mother to three awesome children.

Dr. Duyile is an example of how faith, hard work and diligence can lead to numerous exposure and growth, she is passionate about seeing others succeed, it’s no doubt she was honored by the Governor of Maryland in the United States of America for her matchless efforts to better humanity. She has made it her life’s purpose to empower others to recognize their own strength, skills and abilities.

Early Life and Education

Dr. Remi Duyile was born and raised in  Ondo City and Lagos State, Nigeria. where she learned the thesis of discipline, hard work, commitment and staying true to oneself. With this strong foundation, she relocated from Nigeria to the United States over 30 years ago with just one purpose: to shatter the glass ceilings which she fulfilled, is still fulfilling and will continue to fulfill.

As a fervid believer in the power of education as the key to unlocking opportunities, Dr. Duyile enrolled at the University of the District of Columbia between 1982 and 1987 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Masters’ of Business Administration in Finance and Business Economy.

Career

Dr. Duyile started her corporate career at one of the nation’s most revered banking institutions, Bank of America(one of the largest financial institutions in the United States). It was here that she shattered glass ceilings when she was promoted to  Vice President of Retail, Premier, and Mortgage Banking. Dr. Duyile served in these roles managing over 600 financial portfolios of high net-worth clients for several years, until she decided that it was time to step into her true calling as a serial entrepreneur and empowering others in her community.

Impact and Philanthropy

Dr. Duyile founded Premier Mortgage Solutions (a mortgage solutions business), Image Consulting Group (an international consulting firm), and Legacy Premier Foundation (a non-profit providing mentorship and financial literacy for women and girls. She’s also the founder of RemiSpeaks. RemiSpeaks is a Coaching, Speaking and Training Platform for Management, Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs in quest of sustainable growth with Global Relevance. Under the umbrella of her companies, she has become an empowerment mentor, community mobilizer, certified trainer, as well as an international key note speaker.

She has spoken throughout Africa, Europe, and extensively within North America (Canada and the US) teaching financial literacy, offering entrepreneurial development, and encouraging emerging leaders to engage in the Diaspora and beyond.

Also Read: Erica Tavares: Passionate About A Greener, Better Future

Professional Memberships, Affiliations and Boards

  • Member Continental Who’s Who
  • Member, World Trade Center Institute
  • Member, National Black MBA
  • Advisory Council Member, Leadership Initiatives
  • Member, Wambia Capital
  • Advisory Board Member, Mentoring International
  • Member, National Speakers Association-DC
  • Member, Les Brown Platinum Speaker Network
  • Member : NCBW 100 of Prince George’s
  • Member: LPGA Golf Female Executive Member
  • Board Chair: Pan African Diaspora Women Association
  • Board Member, Sisters 4 Sisters Network, Inc.
  • Member, Jesus House, DC
  • Chair, Census 2010 Complete Count Committee.  2009 – 2010
  • Member, Maryland Democratic Party, Continental African Leadership Council
  • Member of  the National Coalition of  100 Black women 

Nomination and Recognition

  • Top 100 MBE award winner 2009
  • 2010 Smart CEO Award
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, 2013

Connect with her on socials: Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Websites: Remi Speaks, Legacy Premier

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