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SweepSouth raises over R50m in new investment creating 15 000 job opportunities

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SweepSouth chief executive and founder, Aisha Pandor. Pictures: Supplied

DURBAN – SweepSouth, a South African startup, plans to grow its market share in the country and launch additional services following a successful funding round where the company raised more than R50 million in new investment. SweepSouth is an online platform providing on-demand and regular home cleaning services.

SweepSouth connects clients to pre-vetted cleaners across major cities in South Africa. SweepSouth cleaners, known as “SweepStars”, have full flexibility over their hours and availability, and benefit from pay rates significantly higher than the national minimum wage.

The final deal signed in the funding round was with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, which has invested $1 million (R14,5 million) into the company. This investment follows the June announcement of a R30 million investment by Naspers Foundry, a start-up fund aimed at boosting the South African technology sector.

In addition to Naspers Foundry and the Dell Foundation, who both came on board as new investors, existing investors Smollan, Vumela, CRE VC (previously Africa Angels Network), and musician and venture capitalist Black Coffee have also reinvested into SweepSouth bringing the total investment raised by SweepSouth in this round to more than R50 million.

Since its launch in 2014, SweepSouth recorded exceptional growth. Since the closure of the previous funding round in 2017, SweepSouth has expanded its operations and now operates in seven South African cities. The company has also grown 26 percent since the announcement in June 2019 of the investment by Naspers Foundry. Since their last funding round, SweepSouth has also seen its customer base, bookings and revenue triple.

SweepSouth is an online platform providing on-demand and regular home cleaning services.
Photo: File
SweepSouth plans to grow its market share in the country and launch additional services following a successful funding round where the company raised more than R50 million. Photo: File

The businesses growth has afforded SweepSouth the opportunity to create almost 15 000 employment opportunities for previously unemployed and underemployed domestic workers. The startup has operations in Cape Town, Durban, Joburg and Pretoria.

Aisha Pandor is chief executive and cofounder along with her husband Alen Ribic of SweepSouth. Pandor said, “The funding received during this round will be instrumental in achieving SweepSouth’s strategic goals going forward. In addition to expanding the markets we operate in, in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent, we are also looking forward to a formal announcement regarding our new platform, SweepSouth Connect, which offers services like handymen, plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, carpet cleaners, and nannies, as well as the growth of our online SweepSouth Shop which sells a range of home products”.

Also Read Cynthia M. Wright: On Becoming A Successful Speaker, Business Mentor And Organisational Strategist

Pandor also extends her thanks to Vinny Lingham and Llew Claasen’s Newtown Partners, which has exited SweepSouth in this round of funding with a more than 10x return on their original investment since coming on board.

“Newtown Partners was our very first investor and as a fund founded by entrepreneurs themselves, lent a lot of insight that helped us to achieve the growth we have and avoid a lot of mistakes common to first time founders,” concluded Pandor.

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Tony Elumelu Dedicates the AABLA Philanthropist of the Year Award to Young African Entrepreneurs

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Johannesburg, South Africa, December 5, 2019 – Tony O. Elumelu, CON, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Chairman, Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa Group, received the All Africa Business Leaders’ Awards (AABLA) yesterday in Johannesburg. In the acceptance speech delivered by Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Elumelu dedicated the award to young African entrepreneurs, commending their drive to succeed against all odds.

Organised by CNBC, the AABLA Awards “Philanthropy Award” category seeks to identify and recognise individuals for their exemplary and unique contributions towards the social and economic development of Africa. According to the organisers, the recognition was attributed to African entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Elumelu for his outstanding moral and financial investment in Africa, and his support of young African entrepreneurs.

Also Read: How this African Diaspora is keeping the tradition of African storytelling alive

Receiving the award on behalf of Mr. Elumelu, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu commended entrepreneurs for their spirit of achievement and excellence. In her acceptance speech, she said: “This award is dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of young African entrepreneurs who apply to the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme every year. They are the true heroes of our continent.”

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, an African private-sector-led philanthropy focused on empowering African entrepreneurs, has thus far empowered over 7500 entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries with seed capital, business training and capacity building skills needed to scale their businesses. The goal is to empower young African entrepreneurs to create millions of jobs and revenue on the continent, tackling poverty and extremism, and creating economic hope in underserved communities while contributing to the overall advancement of the African continent.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation recently announced that it will open its annual call for applications for the new cohort of entrepreneurs on January 1, 2020.

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Fostering jobs, entrepreneurship, and capacity development for African youth

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Dr. Hanan Morsy (Credit: AfDB)

“There is no greater asset to Africa than its youth,” a statement that has been repeatedly proclaimed, but the continent still has a long way to go. Despite robust economic growth over the past two decades, a 1 percent increase in growth between 2000–14 was associated with only 0.41 percent growth in employment. This figure suggests that employment stood at less than 1.8 percent a year, far below the nearly 3 percent annual growth in the labor force. If this trend continues, 100 million people will join the multitudes of the unemployed in Africa by 2030.

With this in mind, researchers, youth representatives, business leaders, and policymakers have joined over 350 stakeholders in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, to significantly move the needle on youth empowerment. 

The annual African Economic Conference (AEC), is jointly organized by the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Programme, to discuss pertinent issues affecting the continent.

The 2019 AEC is held in Egypt and hosted by the Bank on the theme; “Jobs, entrepreneurship and capacity development for African youth” and runs from 2-4 December.

Turning the youth bulge into opportunities has been the focus of the African Development Bank’s game-changing approach to job creation, entrepreneurship, and capacity development. In recognition of the crucial role that entrepreneurship plays in the creation of high-quality jobs, the Bank developed its Jobs for Youth in Africa (JfYA) Strategy (2016-2025). The Strategy aims to create 25 million jobs for African youth over the next decade as well as equipping 50 million youth with a mix of hard and soft skills to increase their employability and their entrepreneurial success rate.

The impact is already being felt. Since its launch in 2016, over $20 billion has been invested by the Bank across 318 projects. These investments are directly making a difference in the African youth skills, entrepreneurship, business development, and job creation.

In parallel and working closely with its partners, the Bank is helping strengthen entrepreneurship ecosystems in Africa.  The flagship Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund (YEI MDTF) program provides interventions that equip the African youth, women-led start-ups, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with skills and financial support to run bankable businesses.

The program also assists regional member countries (RMCs) in their implementation of economic and social reforms toward job creation.

In just one short year, the Trust Fund’s resources leapfrogged from USD4.4 million (in 2017) to almost USD40 million (in 2018). By providing technical assistance through enterprise support organizations and financial institutions, the Fund is anticipated to reach more than 480 youth-led startups in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Togo, and Zimbabwe.

The Bank has also been very active on the education front, supporting higher education institutions to deliver innovative training curricula that are adapted to the changing demand of the labor market and the private sector.  Academic incubators—also known as innovation centers of excellence, have been established.

One great example of success is the  African Institutions of Science and Technology (AIST) Program, whose mission is to deliver quality postgraduate education and build collaborative research capacity in various fields of Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI). With funding from the Bank, a total of 1,477 PhD and MSc students have graduated, out of which 676 are women. Additionally, a total of 35 partnerships have been brokered with the private sector to enhance the quality and relevance of research.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has also been acknowledged by the Bank as one of the main drivers of human capital development alongside enhanced basic education that generates knowledge and skills more broadly. As such, the Bank’s TVET project in Tanzania, has bolstered TVET and teacher education with an investment amounting to $52 million. The expected outputs include expanded infrastructure of 13 institutions targeting about 8,000 trainees, expanded and extensive use of ICT in instruction at 53 institutions, and increased capacity for teaching, policy formulation, planning, and quality assurance.

Also Read: How this African Diaspora is keeping the tradition of African storytelling alive

The insights and thoughts provided by other African stakeholders, youth representatives, and political leaders on the debate on youth jobs, skills, and entrepreneurship capacities during the AEC 2019 are immensely important in helping the continent move forward.

Now, more than ever, we must listen to the voices of the African youth. 

By: Dr. Hanan Morsy – Director, Macroeconomic Forecasting and Research at the African Development Bank Group

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Uber takes to streets of Ivory Coast in African expansion

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Uber launched in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan on Thursday, part of its expansion into African markets with low levels of car ownership and limited mass transport.

The ride-hailing firm is facing competition from Estonia-based Bolt, which takes a smaller cut from drivers and plans to double its service in South Africa. Although Uber, which is also facing regulatory clampdowns elsewhere, operates in 16 cities in sub-Saharan Africa, mostly in South Africa and east Africa, its presence has so far been limited in west Africa, aside from Nigeria and Ghana. 

Abidjan, a commercial hub of nearly 5 million people, was a “perfect fit”, Uber said in a statement, adding that more than 50,000 people had tried to use its app there in the past year.

“This means that for the thousands of taxi operators in Abidjan, there will be new clients for every single driver, in addition to the number they already have now,” Alon Lits, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa, said.

Also Read: Facebook hosts its first ‘Facebook iD8 Nairobi’ aimed at celebrating the tech ecosystem across Africa

Uber has experimented with new services in Africa, including ferries across the lagoon in Nigeria’s traffic-clogged megacity of Lagos, in a bid to woo the continent’s fast-growing population. An Uber executive told Reuters in June that it was also in talks with regulators in Senegal about launching services in the capital Dakar.  

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