PRESS RELEASE DATED 3rd Aug 2020 :
SAX Employees engages Uprise.Africa to save the Airline through “Alternative” Funding option
Johannesburg, 3rd Aug 2020 – In a novel, De-risked funding strategy, a group of South African Express employees have engaged an equity funding platform, Uprise.Africa, to assist in raising the capital needed to save SA Express.
The group strongly believes that SA Express (SAX) is a national asset that should be salvaged and definitely not liquidated. They further believe that the company is a viable business and if rescued with the correct strategy, could be a very profitable one.
“Liquidating SAX translates into slicing through the very artery that feeds the minor towns and cities in SA, and closing the gateway to our more rural areas,” said SAX spokesperson Michael Hlatshwayo in a statement.
“One of the major factors in improving our economy, would be to stimulate internal travel by South Africans taking ‘sho’t lefts’ through the country. Without a skilled carrier such as SAX, this becomes difficult for many everyday South Africans.”
In addition to the loss of access to cities and towns, liquidating SAX will have a massive detrimental effect on the staff. SAX directly employs skilled and moderately skilled South Africans. 60% of these citizens are in the minor cities, providing jobs, livelihoods and a vital economic lifeline to thousands of people in the cities. 30% of the staff complement come from the rural areas where skills are severely underdeveloped, but with the assistance from companies such as SAX, skills could be recognized and developed.
“The airlines internal financial troubles stem from political interference in its operations, nepotism, poor controls and poor management, exacerbated by external challenges – we can change this! “added Michael Hlatshwayo
“SAX’s fundamental business models are sound with small, cost-efficient aircraft, under-serviced destinations and exclusive, high-value routes. The execution of a revised business model and right-sized operation, by competent management, free of political interference, will return the airline to profitability.”
Another imperative on the agenda for SAX employees is for the Department of Enterprise to give the employees their well-deserved retrenchment packages.
A ‘survival mode’,” is important for them to emerge with stronger mindset to shape their future vision with a new perspective and lay the foundation for implementing this new approach. It takes a lot of hard work to publicize your offering and attract potential investors,” says Tabassum Qadir, the CEO of Uprise.Africa,
An initial review of the proposed Business Plan was conducted by Uprise.Africa’s Legal and Compliance team, and consequently an Expression of Interest was submitted to the Provisional Liquidator through its appointed Agents – GoIndustry DoveBid SA (PTY) LTD. The proposal will need to be approved by the liquidators, shareholders and relevant authorities.
Uprise.Africa will appoint Lufthansa Consulting to conduct further Due Diligence of the project before it goes live on the platform to its registered, accredited national and international investors.
“This is great news for SAX, the Employees and the greater South Africa as it brings a spark of hope to many businesses facing the same prospects,” says SAX spokesperson in closing.
Uprise.Africa is an equity funding platform that works with entrepreneurs, to raise capital for their businesses and provides investors with a new, alternative investment option.
Uprise.Africa is proud to be acknowledged as the “only one true equity crowdfunding platform in South Africa” by the Fin-tech Scoping report conducted by Genesis Analytics in collaboration with The World Bank and Intergovernmental Fin-Tech Working Group (IFWG) in South Africa.
Through equity crowdfunding, Uprise.Africa empowers entrepreneurs to raise between R3 million and R250 million in exchange for equity shares. Within the rapidly expanding alternative finance industry, Equity crowdfunding is emerging as a popular method for business rescue.
Equity Crowdfunding is a mechanism by which a broad group of investors can fund the project in return of Equity. The Non-Monetary motivations of Equity Crowdfunding investors, such as being part of an exciting project, or receiving non-tangible rewards can explain, why they may be willing to accept more risk or less return than traditional risk capital investors.
Since the Equity crowdfunding platform was launched, the need for a secondary market to trade the shares was recognised as an essential means of providing liquidity to the Crowd investors and this was achieved by a Joint Venture with a Stock Exchange in South Africa. Should the SA Express crowdfunding project be successful the investors will have options to trade their shares on Zarx.
The platform has been recognized both globally and locally and among many other accolades, have been awarded with the following:
• Winner of GovTech ICT Public service award for best SMME – 2019
• Winner of Fast Company – Most Innovative companies 2019
• Winner of Most innovative Online platform for Investment in South Africa – Global Business Outlook Award UK
Quote by ACfA
“The African Crowdfunding Association (ACfA) is an industry association for crowdfunding on the continent.
ACfA believes that the sustainable growth of crowdfunding in Africa is dependent on the appropriate regulation of the sector, and works with several regulators on the continent to implement the same.
In South Africa, the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA), authorised Uprise Africa as a Financial Services Provider under the FAIS (Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services) Act in order to be able to conduct equity crowdfunding. ACfA members’ compliance with the requirements under the FAIS Act takes precedence over any compliance requirements under ACfA’s Charter of Good Conduct (COGC). As such, ACfA’s scope is limited to initiating and undertaking actions in respect of members’ compliance with the COGC.
Uprise Africa is a member of ACfA. ACfA conducted a review of Uprise Africa’s compliance with our COGC on 13 May, following an article by Ventureburn on 8 May regarding the equity crowdfunding campaign of Intergreatme (IGM). The process included members of the board, executive management, and compliance teams of Uprise Africa. The review resulted in recommendations for Uprise Africa in the areas of risk management and communication. In all other respects, ACfA is satisfied that Uprise Africa remains compliant with our COGC.”
Uprise.Africa is an online marketing tool that creates a platform for business owners and entrepreneurs to market-test business plans and sells equity to potential investors. Uprise.Africa prides itself on its secure online platform adhering to all required regulations and compliance parameters during the investment process and the roles and responsibilities between the investors are strictly governed by contractual agreements.
In the financial world, the use of online platforms to raise funds is a relatively new and unchartered territory, which can result in potential financial risks for investors. Uprise.Africa is aware of these risks and consistently updates its processes in order to effectively report and address any potential fraudulent behaviour in the network, as well as working with partners on best practices around authentication and fraud monitoring.
The R25million that was pledged to Intergreatme, through its own acquired potential investor, is an example of how certain parties try and exploit these inherent risks within the Crowdfunding arena.
Uprise.Africa strictly adheres to the regulated steps to be followed during crowdfunding investment campaigns, which includes: (1) a pledge being received, (2) the pledgor and the funds must clear due diligence and compliance checks, which in this case was conducted by Uprise.Africa and (3) if cleared the pledgor signs a subscription agreement and only then becomes an investor, which did not take place in the case of the R25mill pledge.
The South African Government should recognize that Fintech companies can play a central
role in distributing capital to small businesses and early-stage companies.
The two sectors have the potential to reduce unemployment numbers, therefore, the greatest
need for financial access. However, a general lack of collateral among small businesses
doesn’t attract traditional banks.
In the era of online lending and equity crowdfunding platforms, we have seen an upsurge in
investment to build the software for onboarding, screening, approval, distributing, and
servicing of loans and equity investments to small businesses. Now, it’s far more secure to
use technology when interacting with audiences that need protection against fraudsters.
The regulators and policymakers need to work with fintech entrepreneurs who have the
digital infrastructure to help the Government achieve its goal of saving small businesses and
getting the economy to get back on track faster.
While South Africans applaud the Government’s work to help SMMEs cope with the
liquidity and demand crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, more financial support and
incentives are needed to help startup companies.
The Innovators and tech CEOs are planning layoffs in the coming weeks. They are ineligible
to receive government support under the current programs.
COVID-19 is a momentum and capacity building killer. It’s especially disheartening to the
startup community which has been scaling-up and capturing global attention, attracting
capital and talent, investing in new resources and infrastructure, and building national
confidence and pride.
For some startups, the pandemic may expedite the growth of their business but for most, it
will be a disaster. As it stands, in a few short months we are at risk of losing an entire
generation of early-stage companies who are too small to attract institutional venture capital
and whose survival cannot only depend on the pocketbooks of friends, families, and angel
The risk of losing this collective private and public investment and the cost of rebuilding (if
at all possible) would be more expensive than providing the required support to bridge
companies and the economy to better times.
From an investor perspective, the sharp falls and volatility in equity markets have resulted in
greater investor conservatism with less appetite for riskier, early-stage companies that are
best positioned to create the jobs of tomorrow. While a lot of work would have to be done to
get back to normalcy, the smoothest and cost-effective way to assist small economic players
would be through Fintechs! The same experts who have worked in bigger financial
institutions provide consultative advice to Fintechs, resulting in market confidence.
The sheer magnitude of the economic and financial crisis requires a comprehensive and
complementary suite of measures to enable smaller, earlier-stage companies not only to
survive the present situation but also to be fully equipped to move into high gear as soon as
the current global lockdown subsides.
Fintechs have frontline insights on the pain COVID-19 is inflicting on small businesses and
entrepreneurs. These Fintechs can help to distribute financial support more quickly and cost-
effectively, complementing the bigger financial intermediary players.
Inclusion of Fintechs in the distribution of financial assistance to small companies and
startups would mean more players in the finance distribution sector or the sharing of the
finance industry cake. Power control in the financial sector will cease to be in the hands of a
few established players.
Our Fintechs have digital infrastructure to identify demand, verify identity and financial
suitability, approve investments, and make efficient and secure digital payments. Fintechs can
provide a range of financial options (equity, loans, and other forms of credit) to support
consumers, startups, entrepreneurs, and SMEs.
The government should support and recognize Fintechs as a key part of the financial solution.
The sooner we understand that our regulation and policy frameworks need to holistically
include the value that new fintech models and digital infrastructure brings, the faster the
economy will get back on track. The government should lead in demonstrating the fair
distribution of wealth between established finance houses and Fintechs.
There is an immediate opportunity for the Government to partner with fintech to solve the
funding crisis that COVID-19 has forced upon all of us.
Working together, Fintechs can deliver the government’s financial resources using a resilient
and efficient electronic platform. It's time for the Government to work with Fintech
entrepreneurs and seize this opportunity to work together to protect the South African
It is strongly suggested that the government implement the following recommendations
1. Work with Fintechs to distribute and manage small business loans quickly and cost-
effectively. Online lenders can process loan applications quickly, onboarding, and evaluating
borrowers electronically, while proactively identifying risks and monitoring borrowers.
2. Establish a Capital Raise Funding Program to improve access to capital for SMME through a
Matching investment program where the Government should match investments into early-
stage and smaller companies raising capital through equity crowdfunding platforms. These
companies would not generally qualify for Bank loans due to their Financial Standing. The
rescue of these entrepreneurs and innovators is critical as we emerge from the Covid 19
3.Tax Relief for Equity crowdfunding investors similar to the EIS/SEIS programs in the UK.
Johannesburg, South Africa: Tuesday, 05 May 2020
Uprise.Africa would like to state that we are at all times a responsible and legally compliant FSC license holder in a highly regulated market sector, Uprise.Africa complied with the law and regulations governing the IGM campaign, including completing its due diligence and FICA requirements for each investor who proposed to invest in the offering.
The effectiveness of this process ensured that an investment pledge of R25 million was not accepted, due to failure to pass the due diligence process. Henceforth, the investor’s source of funds did not pass the strict compliance protocols. The investment was thus never materialised.
Uprise.Africa is strictly governed by the FSCA and POPI, it is unable to disclose any more information, except to make clear that:
Neither Uprise.Africa nor any of its officers or directors had any pre-existing relationship with the investor that signed a pledge to invest R25 million.
The investor was introduced to Uprise.Africa by IGM, as the investor had approached IGM directly.
The investor signed the investment pledge for R25 million, effectively filling the entire 20% of IGM shares on offer, in IGM’s offices, then communicated this to Uprise.Africa
On May 17, 2019, after signing the pledge, the investor provided Uprise.Africa with a proof of payment to the Uprise investment account, for R25 million. However, the funds were never received despite repeated inquiries by Uprise.Africa between the dates of May 17th to May 22nd.
During this five day period, Uprise.Africa also conducted due diligence on the investor and then proceeded to reject the investment due to it being fraudulent. At no stage did either Uprise.Africa or IGM receive any money from the investor. Neither did Uprise.Africa nor IGM benefit in any way whatsoever.
Due to the media coverage and hype created by the large sum pledged in a short time, Uprise.Africa informed all of the other potential investors who had also pledged to invest, that they were free to withdraw their pledges, just in case the other investors had invested on the basis of media coverage generated by the R25 million pledge.
• A pledge is the first step in the crowd-funding investment process.
• Thereafter the investor and the funds must clear due diligence and compliance.
• Once cleared the individual who pledged signs a subscription agreement and only then becomes an investor.
• This process takes 60 to 90 working days.
For more information contact:
When it comes to uplifting the country’s “PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN” brand, Uprise Africa stands high on the list of notable businesses that are working tirelessly to uphold this legacy.
So as we celebrate this year’s Heritage Month, let us take some time to understand the history of one of the first companies that has brought one of the most globally acclaimed, pre-eminent ways of promoting empowerment, equity crowd funding to Africa.
Since we are talking history, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and remember why Heritage Day is even celebrated. Traditionally, the 24th of September was known as Shaka Day, a date set to commemorate Shaka, the Zulu King, who has become somewhat of a folk legend in Mzansi.
So, he was celebrated on this day for his arguable contribution towards keeping peace between feuding Zulu clans.
Then, of course, in 1994, upon South Africa’s independence, the Public Holidays Bill was presented in parliament, although the 24th of September was not yet a proposed holiday. After a bit of back and forth on the political arena, which we won’t go into detail, a compromise was reached and this day was made official and re-named Heritage day.
The new identity of Heritage Day was to celebrate the people of diverse cultural backgrounds that form part of South Africa’s rainbow nation status. It also played an important role in nation-building and empowerment of South Africans, which is the core founding principle behind Uprise Africa.
As Africa’s first authorised equity crowd funding enabler, the innovative platform facilitates access to alternative funding solutions for South African entrepreneurs and links everyday South Africans to early stage investment opportunities.
In the last year, Uprise Africa has run successful equity crowd funding campaigns for businesses that are now well on their way to becoming house hold names. Case in point is Drifter Brewing Company, one of South Africa’s top craft beer manufacturers and a favourite among the locals.
Located in Woodstock Cape Town, Drifter Brewing Company holds a full force manufacturing facility as well as a tasting room and event space with stunning Table Mountain views.
Drifter now distributes to over 360 stores in South Africa and exports to Zimbabwe and Namibia. They have also obtained partnerships in the US to begin exporting to Texas, Florida and Washington DC and have formed relationships for future exports into Europe and Asia.
Without a doubt our most successful venture has been one of the nominees for startup business of the year, Intergreatme.
Intergreatme is a global digital identity platform that can be integrated into your business in less than one day to bring identity verification and secure multi-factor authentication in seconds.
One can also start verifying customer information without doing any technical development by simply setting up an Intergreatme Account.
Earlier this year, via Uprise Africa, the regtech identity platform shook the investment industry in South Africa, breaking all industry records by raising 24 million rand in just 7 days!
This is the sort of empowerment equity crowdfunding affords small businesses in a way traditional financial capital raising platforms could not.
Remember, the key difference between traditional crowdfunding – that is the act of sourcing venture capital from a pool of people across the web – and its equity variation, is that the latter gives backers equity in the business.
Which means ordinary citizens in South Africa are also equally empowered by getting the chance to invest in cash cow businesses, where they previously could not.
Since its establishment, Uprise Africa has continued to help bridge the gap between upcoming, homegrown startup businesses and the investing South African public.
Surely, there is no greater heritage one can give the future South Africa than this! Celebrate Heritage Month by empowering a fellow South African and also empower yourself with Uprise Africa.