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Vuleka App puts bulk buying power into township enterprises’ hands

Spaza shops are the backbone of township economies but they face a relentless daily battle for survival. Typically, they lack access to credit, are vulnerable to crime and cannot compete on price with the big retailers unless they cut their margins to the limit. As for the discounts that bigger businesses routinely negotiate with suppliers, spaza shops simply don’t have the bargaining power. Well, individually they don’t. Collectively, they are a force to be reckoned with, says Brian Makwaiba, managing director of I Am Emerge, mass marketing specialists with a talent for bringing emerging enterprises and big businesses together.

Its award-winning Vuleka app taps into the collective buying power of township spaza shop owners, enabling them to order goods directly from the manufacturers and benefit from the discounts that go with bulk buying.

I Am Emerge does the legwork, including negotiating with the manufacturers, warehousing the goods that spaza shops order and delivering their purchases to their doorsteps.

“The goods are cheaper than they would be from wholesalers, so we save them time and money,” says Brian. “Where there are spaza shops that don’t have technology, we have youth marketers to take their orders manually.”

“Where there are spaza shops that don’t have technology, we have youth marketers to take their orders manually.”

At this stage, I am Emerge’s network of spaza shops with bulk buying power spans three of Gauteng’s biggest townships: Alexandra, with around 500 members, Soweto with more than 4 500 and Tembisa with around 2 000. For more information visit:

Sell, manage, report and grow your retail business with Vend

Vend is retail management software aimed at helping retailers better manage their business and compete with big stores. Vend’s cloud-based software lets retailers sell in-store, online, and on-the-go on iPad, so they can provide a modern, unique and connected customer experience. Its sophisticated inventory management allows retailers to track and manage their stock across all stores and online, and its real-time insights and reporting mean retailers can make faster, smarter business decisions from anywhere. Vend saves retailers hours of time in manual and admin tasks at a fraction of the cost of a traditional, offline system.

Vend is simple to set up and seamlessly integrates with other business tools, including Xero for accounting, Shopify for ecommerce, and payment providers such as Yoco and PayPal. This means retailers can manage their entire business from one central system, connected to the world’s best business tools and apps. For more information visit:

Peace of mind and control of beverage dispensing with Cloud Bar

Provargo, a Danish IoT (Internet of Things) company for the hospitality industry based in Copenhagen, has entered into a partnership with Cloud Bar, a South African IoT company, whose main business is to assist the African hospitality industry to improve its bottom line by using state-of-the-art technologies.

“All bars experience wastage through overpouring, spills and theft, which in the industry averages 20%. The traditional response has been a host of rigid controls, which are operationally invasive, time-consuming and limit turnover,” explains Themba Khumalo, a digital consultant at Cloud Bar.

The Provargo Bar Management System eliminates wastage while increasing turnover and providing stock data in real time, so there's no need to spend all that time doing inventory and control. The system offers bar owners a clear and actionable overview of their bar operation, while growing revenue and profits by fully integrating stock tracking and dispensing.

The latest development in the product range is a cloud-based beverage control and dispensing system for liquor and beer, which gives an easy and unique overview to any bar group, hotel, restaurant or single venue. This allows owners and managers real-time access to data on dispensing from anywhere in the world, checking everything from how much stock they have left (including each bottle of liquor in the bar), to what sold best last night and what was earned.

Dispensing data is displayed in an application, accessible on multiple platforms behind SSL-secured access for easy benchmarking, and can be incorporated into leading POS and other accounting systems. The system includes both draft beer flow monitors and a new Wall-Rack system, which sends dispensing and bottle change data with timestamps to the customer's personal cloud platform.

To provide real-time information to relevant persons, ProCloud App sends out push messages to smartphones, tablets and other devices, if any chosen event occurs, such as low stock, dispensing made without typing the POS, bottle change made before the bottle is empty etc.

“This system and solution will help bar owners save a lot of money in their bar operation and will offer our customers the best solutions to the benefit of their guests, employees, general operation and their profit,” says Themba. “This is cutting-edge all over the world and unique in both design and customer satisfaction. We take the best design tradition from Denmark and mix it with IoT and Industry 4.0, while still keeping prices extremely competitive. Our customer generally experiences a return on investment within two to four months." For more information visit:

The iHarvey – A “use anytime” power-generating appliance

The iHarvey, winner of the best invention of 2018 at the recent South African Innovations Summit, is the world's most usable thermoelectric generator. It burns its fuel extremely efficiently in a patented designed burner, produces minimal black carbon emissions and converts the heat directly into electricity. The iHarvey changes the way fuels are used in informal and rural homes. It can provide 330 lumens of clean white LED light, while simultaneously providing power for cellular device charging.

This increase in the usability of mobile devices opens a door that has been hard to push open in terms of increasing sales of prepaid airtime, data and streaming packages such as Cell C's "Black" Streaming service. It also opens the door for banks to offer online banking services for those living in remote rural areas, or in general, reducing the time bank transactions take, whether it be through the mobile device apps on offer or through the small POS machines on offer.

The iHarvey can provide a home or small business the ability to charge devices, whether they be cellphones, tablets, POS machines, radios, and so on, all at the running cost of 40c an hour. The unit on average pays itself off in seven to 10 months on the reduction in paraffin usage alone. Add in the fact that consumers no longer need to pay R5/hour to charge their devices at the nearest spaza shop, or travel distances to queue in bank lines, and the savings start adding up. Recommended retail price at time of going to print: R1499. For more information visit: