Durant update: Warriors not expecting to begin NBA Finals with him on floor

first_img[vemba-video id=”van/sc/2019/05/24/bang_f0007ae7-8a09-4047-a750-6468801bb63a”] OAKLAND — Will either Kevin Durant or DeMarcus Cousins play in the NBA Finals? The Warriors do not have definitive answers. They sound optimistic, though.The Warriors said in a statement that it is “anticipated that he will play at some point during the 2019 NBA Finals.” But with Cousins practicing on Thursday for the first time since tearing his left quadricep muscle in Game 2 of the Warriors’ first-round series …last_img read more

Boost for black-owned firms in South Africa

first_imgMaponya Mall in Soweto is owned by RichardMaponya, a Black South African. DTI’s deputy minister Bongi Ntuli believesthe scheme will empower black-ownedbusinesses. World Bank’s Francisco Campos is workingwith DTI in the programme.(Images: Bongani Nkosi)MEDIA CONTACTS• Sidwell Moloantoa MedupeDirector: Media Relations, DTI+27 12 394 1650 or +27 73 522 6801Bongani NkosiBlack-owned emerging businesses are set to receive a welcome boost from a revised empowerment scheme recently introduced by government.The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) relaunched its Black Business Suppliers Development Programme in Pretoria on 28 July. It will offer financial support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a grant-application process.The programme was initially launched in 2002 and has already given grants to more than 9 600 local companies. The revised one will focus more on funding machinery and other equipment required by black-owned firms. It is partially funded by the European Union Job Creation Fund.Operating on a cost-sharing agreement, the DTI will cover 35% of machinery and equipment expenses. It is also offering up to R800 000 (US$110 000) for tools and an additional R200 000 ($27 000) for corporate development.As part of the country’s Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment policy, the programme is targeted at businesses that are more than 50% black-owned and all-women teams. The term “black people”, according to the policy, refers to coloured, African and Indian South Africans – all of whom were excluded from meaningful participation in the country’s economy during apartheid.Companies from all sectors with a current annual turnover of between R500 000 ($69 000) and R35-million ($4.8-million) qualify for funding.The programme will ensure that “small black businesses with potential are given the necessary assistance to grow their enterprises and become more competitive”, said the DTI’s deputy minister, Bongi NtuliThe success of the programme will be measured by the growth of the funded companies in terms of winning major government and private-sector tenders, jobs created and annual profits.“The launch represents a milestone in our efforts to support sustainable black businesses and small businesses in general,” said Tsepiso Makgothi of the DTI’s enterprise organisation division.Role played by World Bank The revised programme will have a trial run from 1 September 2010, with applications open until 15 November. During this period the DTI will be targeting 2 500 enterprises across the country.“The idea is to get as many applications as possible during these two months so that the process starts from there,” said Francisco Campos, a World Bank official who’s helping the DTI implement the programme. The World Bank’s role is purely to provide assistance – there is no financial involvement.If the target is reached, “applications will be closed for the time being”, Campos said.The programme will be piloted for 18 months until government launches the final version, which will allow time for improvements to be made, he added.“I am confident that that whatever teething problems we find will be addressed in this pilot phase,” said Ntuli.Since the initial launch in 2002, the DTI has set up a well-staffed unit to manage the programme. This, together with the new focus on funding equipment, will help the department better meet grant-applicants’ needs.“The new one is far bigger, far better. We believe it will benefit the SMEs,” said Dr Meshack Khoza, CEO of Fresh Thinking Capital, a company that conducted a study on the scheme progress since 2002.Nation-wide focusThe DTI is hoping to reach companies from all over the country, even those in rural areas. It will embark on a massive drive to get the word out.“There will be workshops throughout the country to create awareness,” said Campos.The department has contracted facilitators in all nine provinces to run the workshops. “We’re relying on our facilitators to spread the message,” said Makgothi. “We’ll go throughout the country to inform people so that when we launch it by 1 September, they know about it.”Although the World Bank is not funding the programme, it will monitor how the scheme is being implemented and conduct a study on it. Part of World Bank’s role is to ensure fairness and transparency in the roll-out process.Campos said they aim to guarantee that “no one is excluded on the basis of not knowing anyone” and that “everyone has an equal chance” to get funding.More beneficiaries since 2002The programme began with just four beneficiaries in 2002, but over the years has provided financial support for 9 663 businesses. With about 52% of these being majority-women-owned, the scheme is ensuring that “more and more people have an opportunity to participate in the economy,” said Makgothi.last_img read more

The Small Business Handbook gives guidance to aspiring entrepreneurs

first_imgAn international businesswoman, consultant and mentor, Nokwazi Mzobe is playing her part and sharing her deep experience with current and aspiring South African entrepreneurs in her new book, The Small Business Handbook.Already established in the world of global entrepreneurship, consultant and business mentor Nokwazi Mzobe is sharing her knowledge and expertise with South Africa’s new generation of aspiring businesspeople. (Image supplied)Mathiba MolefeBusinesswoman Nokwazi Mzobe is sharing her wealth of international experience with the new crop of ambitious South African entrepreneurs in her new book, The Small Business Handbook.The guide was launched earlier this month at Nu Metro Cinemas in Hyde Park, drawing a range of high-profile guests. Minister of Home Affairs Hlengiwe Mkhize gave the keynote address, with the backing of MCs Anele Mkuzo-Magape and Gugu Nkabinde.“Looking back on my adventure as an entrepreneur, I always wished there was a single, accessible source in which to find the answers to my questions or solve problems, or at least point me in the right direction,” Mzobe says.“That’s the inspiration behind The Small Business Handbook.”Before Mzobe started Matoyana, her consulting agency, she spent eight years at two Fortune 500 multinational companies operating throughout Africa and the Middle East, where she developed and honed her business skills.Mzobe then decided to take a year off to do her MBA, focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation.This inspired her to establish Matoyana, which allows her to follow her passion for consulting and mentorship services. Her consultancy work enables other entrepreneurs to run successful, sustainable businesses, helping promote a culture of entrepreneurship and innovative thinking in the South African business community.Mzobe says her book is far from being a typical business publication. It is more of a guide, covering 17 critical business-related topics. These include the role of social media in business as well as finance and best practices. She says the book is easy to understand and can be referenced on a daily basis to provide inspiration and practical advice.Beyond just businessMzobe’s willingness to improve people’s lives goes further than just the world of business.Among a number of other endeavours, she has set in motions plans to partner with a local NGO to develop and maintain urban gardens.She says her biggest wish is to improve education in South Africa. Mzobe’s mantra is a quote from media mogul Ellis Watson: “Just be obsessed about being brilliant and the money will come by default rather than by design.”The Small Business HandbookMzobe says her book is far from being a typical business publication. It is more of a guide, covering 17 critical business-related topics.The Small Business Handbook is a tool business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can refer to for ideas on how to address issues in their businesses. Other topics covered include how to create an ethical business environment, and understanding different revenue strategies.The book is available online through the Matoyana website. Visit their Facebook and Instagram pages for more information.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

USDA launches $41 million initiative to improve water quality for Western Lake Erie Basin

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest $41 million in a three-year initiative to support the work of farmers in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana to improve water quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB). The initiative helps farmers and ranchers implement science-based conservation measures to reduce runoff from farms entering the region’s waterways.NRCS Chief Jason Weller unveiled the initiative at an event with partners and stakeholders from the region at Maumee Bay State Park in Toledo. This initiative will expand conservation and financial assistance opportunities available to WLEB farmers and ranchers who want to take additional steps to improve the quality of the water feeding the Lake. This funding is in addition to the $36 million the Agency has already planned to make available in the basin through the 2014 Farm Bill, for a combined three-year investment of $77 million to improve water quality and support sustainable production in the Basin.“The challenges that face Lake Erie require science-based solutions and a commitment from all partners to address the factors that impact water quality. The area’s farmers and ranchers have already made great strides in helping to reduce runoff, and with this new investment they will be able to do even more,” Vilsack said. “Farmers and landowners will be able to add conservation measures to about 870,000 acres in this critical watershed, effectively doubling the acres of conservation treatment that can be accomplished in the three years.”Since 2009, NRCS has invested about $73 million in technical and financial assistance to farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin through Farm Bill Programs. The conservation improvements they have made through more than 2,000 conservation contracts now cover more than 580,000 acres. Farmers and landowners in the region have stepped up, and with their help the conservation practices these funds supported reduced annual nutrient and sediment losses by an estimated 7 million pounds of nitrogen, 1.2 million pounds of phosphorous, and 488,000 tons of sediment between 2009 and 2014. These savings have resulted in cleaner water leaving farmlands in the Basin.NRCS also today released a new report through its Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) that evaluates the impacts of voluntary conservation in the WLEB and conservation treatment needs. The report, based on farmer survey data in the WLEB, shows voluntary conservation is making significant headway in reducing nutrient and sediment loss from farms, but there is opportunity to improve conservation management across the basin and no single conservation solution will meet the needs of each field and farm.According to the report, this initiative will help landowners reduce phosphorus runoff from farms by more than 640,000 pounds each year and reduce sediment loss by over 260,000 tons over the course of the three-year investment.“Throughout the basin, comprehensive field-scale conservation planning and conservation systems are needed to accommodate different treatment needs while maintaining productivity,” said Chief Weller. “While voluntary conservation is making a difference in the basin, the CEAP evaluation tells us that there are still gains that can be made through an emphasis on practices like precision agriculture.”The WLEB Initiative is one of the key results of a series of partner workshops NRCS held in fall 2015 to develop recommendations for accelerating conservation in the Basin. The initiative further sharpens the focus of NRCS investments and helps increase the impact of ongoing work by conservation groups and state and local governments. This partnership will work with data from the CEAP Report and other sources along with the recommendations of farmers and other conservation partners to match the right conservation solution to the unique qualities of each field to maximize the impact of each dollar invested.Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $29 billion to help producers make conservation improvements, working with as many as 500,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect over 400 million acres nationwide, boosting soil and air quality, cleaning and conserving water and enhancing wildlife habitat. For an interactive look at USDA’s work in conservation and forestry over the course of this Administration, visit https://medium.com/usda-resultslast_img read more

CAG questions CWG contracts

first_imgThe Comptroller and Auditor General of India, in its interim report, has said dubious procedures were followed in awarding the sponsorship deal for the Commonwealth Games to Melbourne-based Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM).Headlines Today has accessed a copy of this confidential report, which nails the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games.In the sponsorship contract awarded to SMAM, the audit watchdog noticed some serious lapses in procedure. It has raised serious questions about the involvement of Commonwealth Games CEO Mike Hooper in the entire negotiation process.The CAG report reveals that it was the CEO, CGF who insisted on the appointment of SMAM, putting question marks over the entire process. It raises serious doubts over the process of inviting tenders saying that the OC did not provide adequate publicity inviting tenders for the sponsorship contract as per its own guidelines.The OC also did not follow the guidelines of the CVC in relating to appointment of consultants. The time prescribed for submission of  tender was also not adequate and was not in keeping with CVC guidelines, it says.The OC is also accused of not carrying out enough research to survey other firms giving sports marketing services.The OC also agreed to bear tax liability of SMAM over and above its liability of 10.54 per cent. It did not question the commission paid to PSUs as per SMAM contract even though other firms were offering less, says the report.The OC set an annual performance review bracket as opposed to the half-year term as set for Fast Track, the consultant for international broadcast rights. No penalty clause in case of failure in delivery was set in the contract, the report adds.advertisementlast_img read more