Bella Vida Centre: Ilze van der Merwe-Alberts

Bella Vida Centre: Ilze van der Merwe-Alberts


1. A winning formula

Live event technology company Stage Audio Works, founded by entrepreneur Will Deysel in 2000, won the recent Xerox Business Boost in a Box competition thanks to what he calls an amazing story about success against all odds.

2. Small town start-up

Using his own savings and a small R30 000 overdraft, Deysel launched the business from a garage in Port Elizabeth in 2000. Today, it’s headquartered in Johannesburg and clients include large commercial and industrial organisations as well as houses of worship.

“Despite people saying that we could never make it work, we did,” says Deysel. “There was a perception in the industry that South Africans couldn’t manufacture to the same standard as Europe and the US. We’ve proved the market wrong by producing world-class products in our Johannesburg factories.”

3. Technical skills

He says he identified a need in the event technology market for a company that could combine business acumen with sound technical knowledge. “As an established business, we still remain passionate technicians at heart. We found that there were many opportunities for us to grow and share that technical expertise in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.”

4. Ethical approach

Deysel says the business has set itself apart in a competitive arena by taking a value-adding approach. “When we started our business we discovered that many of the values we sought as customers were not evident in the market. To us, offering a turnkey product range has to be accompanied by the right mix of attitude, quality, passion and people.”

5. Sharing experiences

Deysel says he entered the Business Boost in a Box competition because it was a great opportunity to share and discuss the unique problems that South African businesses face, and to network with other business owners and advisors.

He adds that the company’s in-house manufacturing and R&D capabilities, diverse product and skills offering, turnkey supply solutions, large sales partner network across Africa, and its ability to service a wide range of vertical markets, have contributed to its excellent year-on-year growth, and ensured that Stage Audio Works came out tops in the competition.

Business boost

The Business Boost in a Box prize includes a total of R250 000 worth of Xerox products and services, as well as the opportunity to join the Aurik Business Incubator Acceleration Programme. Qualifying entrants were able to ask for help with challenging questions, and receive insightful, practical and real-world advice on growing their businesses.

Vital stats

Player: Ilze van der Merwe-Alberts

Company: Bella Vida Centre

Launched: 2000

Contact: +27 (0)11 463 4438

Monique Verduyn
Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.