Follow the African SMME Transformation Journey

I am Charles Laughlin, an American journalist, business analyst, event producer, and podcaster. I am also an avid traveler and restless nomad. I’m the editor and principal writer of this Substack publication.

I am a co-founder of BigFive Digital, an organization founded in 2018 to deliver events and content for those driving the digital transformation of the Africa-Middle East region’s small, micro, and midsize businesses

I was introduced to Africa by my friend and BigFive co-founder Paul Plant and I was instantly committed. Now we’re bringing you this publication designed for those who closely follow the space we cover at BigFive Digital.

Why Subscribe?

The Africa SMME Tech Report focuses on the pillars of small business digital transformation in Africa and the Middle East. And this region is the future, with a talented young population on the cusp of massive social, economic, and technological transformation.

The Report is the only one-stop resource for news and developments in this space.

Fintech will be a key coverage area of the report. That includes everything from digital wallets to BNPL to SMME lending to the growing impact of decentralized finance (DeFi) on small businesses.

We will also address the rapid transition of the region’s small and informal businesses from modest local merchants into online businesses with the potential to sell across borders and around the globe.

And we will cover the emerging gig economy and its impact on the region’s small businesses, for good or ill.

Finally, we will track the evolution of digital marketing and advertising opportunities for SMMEs. And we will keep tabs on emerging technologies that might impact the trajectory of the region’s SMME digital transformation.

Who Should Subscribe?

  • If you work in the Africa-Middle East SMME tech industry (fintech, banking, telecom, media, SaaS, digital agencies).

  • If you are an investor who needs a quick resource for tracking industry trends and developments

  • If you are a student or a job seeker trying to understand which companies are raising funds, scaling through partnerships, etc.

  • If you are an international player in SMME tech exploring market entry opportunities.

  • If you are just someone who thinks this space is cool and you want to keep an eye on it.

What Will You Get?

The Report is a free weekly digest of the major news and developments in the Africa-Middle East small business tech space, as defined above.

Paid subscribers will receive bonus features. These will include longer-form articles analyzing industry trends, bonus podcast features including transcripts, fact books, as well as access to preferred rates and special features for BigFive Digital events — both in-person and online.

The benefits of a paid subscription will evolve. So in the early days of The Report, we are keeping the price at the minimum of US$5/month. And we are offering anyone who is interested a free 30-day trial of The Report.

About BigFive Digital

BigFive Digital is an events, content, and consulting firm that champions and promotes digital enablement for small and local businesses throughout Africa & The Middle East. We do so by supporting the diverse network of media, financial, technology, and software companies engaged in the supply of digital solutions to SMMEs. 

BigFive Digital provides thought-leadership, industry news, insight-based research, decision-support information, consulting, and curated business development opportunities. BigFive conducts bespoke consulting engagements, publishes newsletters and a blog, and we host a podcast and a YouTube channel.

And of course, BigFive Digital produces events throughout the region, both in-person and online. Our flagship event is The BigFive Summit, which takes place annually in the beautiful city of Cape Town. After a long pandemic-imposed hiatus, The Summit will return in 2022.

Please visit our Membership Page to learn more about joining the BigFive Digital Community.

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