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The Ideal Startup Employee

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Image source: world economic forum

In the 1950s, the average age of a company on the S&P 500 index was 60. Today, that number is less than 18. This just means that the most successful corporations are growing three times faster than they have in the past. To succeed at this rate of rapid change, employees and business leaders have had to adapt by adopting growth mindsets, learning new skills, and embracing flexibility.

Here are some valuable tips that make you stand out as an exceptional startup employee.

It takes a certain type of personality to want to work at a startup . So just before you submit that resume, take a moment to compare your assets to these must-have traits below:

1. Adopting the Idea Generator personality.

Most business owners value employees who are able to take it upon themselves to do some exploring on their own, generate, develop, and communicate new ideas while figuring out solutions to difficult challenges. This involves taking ownership, wearing the hat of a divergent thinker, coming up with as many ideas, selecting the best idea or ideas, working to create a plan to implement the idea, and then actually taking that idea and putting it into practice.

2. Thriving in organized chaos.

Thee best way to describe a startup is fragile as a newborn baby. Some days, you wake up and realize, “What we’re building isn’t actually scalable. The immediate reaction to this would be to change things immediately. The best startup employees not only understand this mentality, but are ready to adapt to new changes alongside helping you spot issues along the way  for the improvement of the whole.

3. Applying oneself in building processes.

As times change, processes change too. What that means is, you have to not expect things to always be set in stone in a startup. Obviously, the goal for these sort of organizations is to find the ideal standards and build processes and best practices that scale and age well. Most of all, the ideal employee just understands when things need to change at a moment’s notice and be willing to run and sprint with it.

4. Looking beyond the formal job responsibilities.

When you’re working in a startup environment, there is a never-ending list of things that can be done. On some days, my to do list ranges from “in the weeds” tasks like prospective candidate follow-ups, vendor follow-ups, training new employees etc. Fluctuating between multiple tasks can be extremely mentally taxing however, the great startup employees realize they are building their “future role” at the company and beyond so they take it upon themselves to not only get their own work done, and done exceptionally well, but find other ways to check things off the company’s to do list even if it means being a salesperson for a hour.

5. Not measuring your value between the hours of 9 and 5

In order to be a valuable addition to a fast growing startup, you have to be fine with the fact that your day won’t always start right at 9:00AM and end the moment the clock hits 5:00PM . Some days will start earlier than normal and other days will go late. Some weekends, you’ll even find that you want to get some work done yourself  so that you don’t have a crazy week ahead. In a startup, you typically have more freedom, but with that freedom comes with high expectations of  exponential value.

6. Replacing short-term rewards for the longer-term payoff

It is common knowledge that building something great takes time. It’s also amazing to hear people say, “I was one of the pioneer staff at Uber,” or, “I was part of the first 20 at Microsoft.” In society, these early employees are praised and idolized almost just as much as the founders. If you want to be part of that pioneer group though, you have to really come to terms with the fact that none of those early employees signed themselves up for a “job.” Most of them believed in the vision. They wanted to be part of the building process and bring the founder’s vision to life.

7. Willingness to learn and be Intellectually CuriousWorking in a startup can be hard because almost everything you do is the “first time.” You’re constantly in exploration mode, which means you’re probably going to be fumbling in the dark for a while. A great startup employee thrives in this sort of high learning environment. They take it upon themselves to do some learning on their own without management having to necessarily push you. Independently identify resources needed to improve on existing skills.

Also Read: Wahida Mohamed: Empowering Women And Championing Islamic Financing In Sub Saharan Africa

Every day is a fire-fighting day for a startup. I have come to realize that both large and small companies will invest in team members who are ready to adapt to change with an intense sense of ownership over their responsibilities, and often beyond them as well. You have to be ready to bring something new to the table on a daily basis to thrive in this startup environment.

Written by: Nneka Alfred

Press Release

World Food Day: Jumia Launches the Africa Food Index 2020

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Ahead of World Food Day on 16th October, Jumia has published its 1st Africa Food Index showing the impact of COVID-19 on food trends in Africa. Online food delivery is changing habits in unexpected ways for businesses and consumers due to the pandemic. The growing popularity of fast food, coupled with the growing trends for convenience and value for money, have opened up opportunities for the food market in Africa. 

According to the Africa Development Bank, the continent’s US$ 313 billion food and beverage market is projected to reach US$ 1 trillion by 2030. This projection offers the prospect of increased jobs, greater prosperity, reduced hunger and improved opportunities for African farmers and entrepreneurs to participate in the global economy. 

Over the last three years, Africa’s growing online audience has seen an increase in international brands setting up shop to tap into the growing middle-income segment. Direct investment from players such as KFC, McDonalds, Burger King have been achieved. Online food delivery players such as Jumia have also played a key role in shaping supply chains and opening up the markets to new entrants. Local producers and restaurants have embraced this evolution and reached new consumers as well as grown their businesses in spite of these challenging times.

“This pandemic crisis has shown the world that online food delivery is not just a commodity, but a necessity. The food business adapted quickly to the new normal, by availing contactless and cashless deliveries » said Shreenal Ruparelia Chief Commercial Officer, Jumia Food. « We also started to provide support to local food vendors to keep their businesses running during this difficult time.” With our food partners, we will continue to deploy capabilities across the food value chain to ensure consumers buy food online safely and at the right price, in line with the theme of this year’s World Food Day celebration of Grow, Nourish, Sustain Together” added Shreenal.

The report highlighted two major drivers of the growth observed in 2020: demography and the Covid19 lockdowns. With a growing population averaging 18 years old, a new generation of African middle class consumers are spending more money online on food and grocery services, while the lockdowns induced by the Covid19 pandemic also contributed to this evolution in habits.

Overall, grocery retailing continues to expand, as consumers seek comfort and convenience when shopping for food. The report shows that while Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) are popular, Lagos and Nairobi lead as the largest cities with the volume of online food orders. 

Also Read Derbora Nyarkoah: A Ghanian Agripreneur Championing Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes

International institutions like the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), International Quick Service Restaurants such as KFC and local brands like Tunisian Al Jazeera Olive Oils have contributed to the Africa Food Index, based on Jumia data and external data from different institutions.

Please find the report here

Source: Jumia Food

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Press Release

Egyptian FinTech Startup NowPay Scores $2.1 million Seed Investment

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NowPay Team (Image Source: NowPay)

Employee Empowerment To Fund Top Priority Financial Goals Augments Increased Productivity, Engagement and Loyalty

MENA: Cairo-based FinTech startup NowPay, a financial-wellness platform for employees in emerging markets, has announced today, 11 October 2020 that the company has raised US$ 2.1 million in seed investment. The new fund will be deployed to deepen the capabilities of the platform, expand its team and establish its footprint in the MENA region and beyond.

The round was led by Foundation Ventures and Endure Capital along with investors from the U.S., UAE, China, and Egypt. The cluster of investors include: BECO Capital, 500 Startups, Plug and Play, 4dx Ventures, MSA Capital, EFG-EV Fintech and Ebtikar. Prominent Angel investors such as Quirky Ventures, Gehan Fathi, and Rolaco also participated in the round.

“During the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns, we are proud to have well-known and eminent investors back us, signaling trust in our business concept and our team. Saving, spending, budgeting and borrowing, are our four pillars of financial wellness. Financial stress plays a major role as a top distraction for employees.

NowPay bridges that gap and provides several benefits for employers that choose to proactively address this area of employee wellness. Particularly in the recent months NowPay helped empower both the employees and employers alike. We want to improve every financial aspect for employees and make financial inclusion a reality,” said Mostafa Ashour, Cofounder and CEO of NowPay who previously led the innovation teams at Microsoft Research.

Founded in 2019, NowPay has a very enthusiastic and well-experienced team. Led by Mostafa Ashour, the team includes co-founder Ahmed Sabry, who worked for Amazon Lending, Gehan Fathi, previously worked as managing director at EFG, and Mahmoud ElHosseiny who managed Egypt sales for Fortune 500 Stanley-Black & Decker.

Also Read: How This EdTech CEO is Helping Africans Access Premium Tech Skills for the Future of Work

“There is an asymmetry between expenses and income, which puts a lot of stress on employee’s morale, and hampers productivity. We are thrilled to join NowPay’s incredible team on this journey of empowering employees with the happiness and wellness that financial stability provides,” said Ziyad Hamdy, Managing Partner at Foundation Ventures.

“Not every day you have both clear product market fit and founders market fit. This is the case in NowPay. Just attend any business meeting with the team and you will know it immediately!”, said Tarek Fahim, Managing Partner at Endure Capital.

“Within a very short period we are delighted to have managed salaries in excess of US$100 million with a 60% month-over-month growth rate. We have integrated our platorm with leading Egyptian and multinational names such as SODIC, Wadi Degla, Domty and AXA to name a few, a testament of our ability to help the financial wellness of employees for our clients. We have a very strong pipeline with many more big names waiting to onboard our platform and we look forward to forge ahead as pioneers in this space,” added Mr. Ashour.

Source: NowPay

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Press Release

SAVCA Appoints Natalie Kolbe And Sthembile NKabinde As Board Members

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Sthembile Nkabinde and Natalie Kolbe

The Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) – the industry body for private equity and venture capital in Southern Africa –welcomes two new directors to its board, following the virtual SAVCA Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on 7 October 2020.

SAVCA CEO, Tanya van Lill says that the new appointees – Natalie Kolbe, Partner at Actis and Sthembile Nkabinde, Founder and CEO of Khulasande Capital – are both leading industry professionals who have been elected by their peers to continue driving the association’s strategic objectives.

Natalie Kolbe, Partner at Actis
Sthembile Nkabinde, Founder and CEO of Khulasande Capital

“Natalie and Sthembile each bring with them a unique skill set that will complement those of our existing board members, while bringing new perspectives and ideas to the table. Notably, the new board composition of seven women and six men are representative of the advances being made by the broader industry within the area of transformation and diversity.”

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As noted by the recent SAVCA 2020 Private Equity Industry Survey, South African private equity exhibited a considerable increase in investment activity in 2019, with the private equity industry having R184.4 billion in funds under management (FUM) at 31 December 2019, up from R171 billion in 2018, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2% since 1999 when the survey first began.

Similarly, the SAVCA 2020 Venture Capital Industry Survey reported robust industry growth in 2019, with venture capital investment showing the highest activity recorded to date, both by value and by number of deals. A total of 38 exits were also reported for 2019 – more than double the previous record for annual exit activity, and just over triple the nine exits reported in 2018.

“This industry growth bodes well for the future economic growth of the region, especially considering the long-term effect that COVID-19 is having on economic activity,” says van Lill, who notes the important role that the industry plays in Southern Africa’s broader economic environment. “A thriving private equity and venture capital industry is crucial for Southern Africa to accelerate its economic recovery.”

Returning to the outcomes of the recent AGM, van Lill says that the SAVCA board is sadly bidding farewell to three distinguished directors: Lungile Mdluli, who served as Treasurer and Chairperson of the Fiscal Committee from 2017 and was asked to stay on for another year to hand over the role of Treasurer; Vusi Thembekwayo, who joined the SAVCA Board in 2017 and served on the Venture Capital Committee; and Craig Dreyer, who has served SAVCA since its inception in 1998 and notably chaired the association over the past three years.

“Through their varied and distinguished roles, Lungile, Vusi and Craig contributed significantly to the success of our organisation by dedicating an invaluable amount of time and expertise to the board activities. While Craig’s longstanding commitment to the industry and relentless contribution as Chairperson and member of the Regulatory Committee will be missed, we are fortunate for the legacy he leaves behind and want to thank all three members for the roles they’ve played in shaping the future of the industry,” van Lill concludes.

Source: SAVCA

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