The announcement by Capitec that advances in its credit affordability checking model will allow it to offer unsecured loans at better rates, with some cases at the same rates as secured loans, is a giant leap in the lending model of South African banks.

Capitec explains that it will use big data, multiple regression models and new machine learning techniques to accurately assess applicants’ creditworthiness via a rigorous review of their unique financial behaviour.

In an emerging economy that has become somewhat stagnated due to macroeconomic factors unsecured lending is essential. South Africa’s high unemployment rate can only sustainably be countered if there are more entrants into the market. More entrepreneurs with access to loans will not only increase employment but the country’s skill levels improve dramatically.

It has shown that emerging economies globally that have focused on improving entrepreneurs access to the market automatically translates into improve quality on products and improved service levels due to increased competition.

What’s interesting is that Dr Ilse Botha from the University of Johannesburg and Dr Roelof Botha from the Gordon Institute of Business Science conducted a study that explores the relationship between unsecured credit and GDP.

The study showed that unsecured credit plays a crucial role in revitalising a flat economy. The model displayed a positive relationship between the growth in unsecured credit and the rate at which SA’s economy recovered from the 2008/9 recession.

Ruben T Miller


Are we seeing the end or beginning of increased language barriers?

The desire to improve linguistic skills and acquire a new language has been a skill many have hoped to master. We know that language academies, schools and universities alike all offer courses to learn a new language.

Pocket book dual language dictionaries have since their inception been the must have item when travelling abroad. The quintessential image of a tourist standing with a small yellow book in their hands.

This has been the case for a large portion of the twentieth century.

Cue the dawn of language learning apps. As applications on mobile phones became more popular language App pioneers like Mesmerize and Babbel who assist in learning languages over short periods of time, gained prominence. Case in point Babbel, uses an advanced language learning method, claiming they can have you proficient in a language you had no prior knowledge of within a few short weeks

The results have been incredible, as we know, modern society’s attention span has been reduced and fast pace services are thriving. Therefore making a process that usually took months of frustration and money possible in no time.

However, an added juggernaut has been added to the race. Google translate. Everybody has a Google account, right? Well, download the Google Translate app and there is no need to learn the language but rather just speak your sentences into your phone and it will audibly translate it to the person across from you with a question mark on their forehead?

Imagine the possibilities for cross border business operations. Sequenced with Google Hangouts, and its Skype type video, you have a full-service translator and communicator.

Many pundits are saying that this might be the demise of language learning, however I believe that this technology will indeed counteract the naysayers and spark new interest. It is one thing fumbling your way through Rome, it is something completely different seeing an Italian excitedly respond, in Italian, to your request for directions.

Language is love, and as the robots race closer there is no doubt some industries might fail, but if you are able to identify the trends and evolve simultaneously, your sustainability will be ensured.

Race Against The Robots: Series
By Ruben T Miller – Business Strategist, Trends and Speaker


How do Uber and carpool apps impact the insurance and motor industry?

With economic pressures weighing down on consumers, we’re forced to find ways to cut expenses and free up disposable income. In certain areas throughout South Africa - investment, second homes, are being sold at a high rate and now with the advent of apps like Uber, the purchasing of a second vehicle is in the spotlight too.

The recent trend for the workforce to become more home based has reduced the necessity to travel long distances and consumers are becoming more aware about why they need a second car.

Then steps in Uber. Solving your affordability second car conundrum.

There are without a doubt many variables to consider, distance travelled, how often you make use of your vehicle etc. The financial company MyTreasury did a very interesting astudy on this very point.

They based their calculations on a Toyota Corolla, the most common car used by UberX drivers – the 1.8 Exclusive sells new for R300,900.
The car’s depreciation and financing costs - R61,000 a year.

Parking – R1,560 a year.

Insurance – R1,500 per month (R18,000 per year) for comprehensive insurance with a minimal excess.

Cleaning – If you wash your car once a month. R1,800 a year.

Licences, fines, tolls – these typically amount to R2,000 per year.

Petrol – Petrol costs depend on your driving patterns. R27,000 a year for the average South African driver.

The annual cost of car ownership for the average South African driver works out to R111,000.


The cost of taking an UberX is R7.50/km + 75c/minute. At average urban traffic conditions, we calculate an average cost per km of R9. also consider what you spend but also takes into account what you gain. They estimate that the benefits of taking an Uber include freeing up time to organise your life: make calls, send WhatsApps and clear your inbox. Worth about R2.50 a kilometre.

If you drive less than 50 km per day selling your car and using Uber will save you money, that the average South African, driving 40 km per day (14,575 km per year), would save as much as R14,000.


In addition there is a lot of talk about the impact apps like these will have on the motoring industry as well as short term vehicle insurance. I don't see any significant impact over the short term, however both of these industries will have to monitor the evolution of technology closely and without a doubt emerging markets and affordability are going to play a major part.

Statement by
Ruben T Miller
Mobile: 082 783 0182
Achievers Holdings//  Block 1, Somerset Links//  Somerset West//  7130

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