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An Evolving Business: How Consol Glass Is Going Global

Seventy-four years ago Consol was just manufacturing glass in a single plant. Today it has firmly established itself in three other African territories and continues to spread the word: The best things come in glass.

Parity

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Consol Glass

 What started as a single glass plant supplying the beer and beverage industries has evolved into the company that supplies 80% of South Africa’s glass containers.

“We’re using South Africa as a springboard to get into the rest of Africa, starting with acquiring a glass-making business in Kenya, and another in Nigeria,” says Johan du Plessis, Senior Executive: Information Systems and Technology at Consol Glass. “We’re also in the process of building a new factory in Ethiopia.”

What is Consol’s business ethos?

The Consol Vision is to be the supplier and pack of choice across Africa — while continuing to retain its status as the industry leader in the South African market. To achieve this requires a particular approach and as a business Consol is clear and unyielding on its operational parameters, and excellence is at the heart of this position.

A spirit of innovation and collaboration and working side by side with customers to create a product that adds quality to life, underpins the Consol approach to doing business.

Determined to always exceed customer expectations in beauty, function and quality is an attitude that’s engrained in the company and ensures Consol retains its leadership position.

How have you developed a product that the market responds to?

We’ve tapped into an existing market with an established product. Our client base ranges from bigger home industry and craft beer and craft gin, to collaborations with brand owners.

Related: How Construction Company Tubular Holdings Grew To A Leading Industry Player

We work closely with major partners during the concept and design process to accomplish distinctive features like embossing or debossing and colour, to differentiate their product. Our customers use glass to premiumise their product.

Known as trailblazers, in 2017 alone, Consol launched 56 new product innovations. This progress and innovation is also why every year, Consol products are recognised in the IPSA Gold Pack Awards.

Consol is also committed to responding to the needs of niche markets and smaller clients, such as the microbreweries industry, for whom the company regularly creates turn-key glass packaging solutions.

We also co-brand with other companies, like we recently did with Crosse & Blackwell mayonnaise.

What inspired the Consol Shop?

Consol is often perceived as a ‘vessel brand’, when in fact it’s a versatile, recognisable part of the consumer’s everyday lifestyle — providing solutions for storage, serving, décor and more. Consol responded to the call for greater access to its products and opened its first shop in 2004.

Today Consol has three retail outlets: Woodmead (JHB), Stellenbosch (CT) and Cornubia (KZN) — all modern, industrial chic stores. The Consol Shops give consumers and small businesses access to glass packaging in any quantity — single items or bulk purchases.

Related: What To Know About Franchising Your Business

The shops are also the perfect setting in which to illustrate how best to put glass to good use and the concepts are plentiful and creative.

What role has Sage and Parity played in your business success?

Sage X3’s cost-effective and standard format not only helps us with mining, but using it for our retail section made us realise we could create more of these stores without reinventing the wheel. It’s a new-age type of software where the user interface can be operated from anywhere using its state-of-the-art browser.

Sage X3 is flexible and easily configurable, so our retail-specific backend could be built. It’s not as lengthy as your typical ERP process, the cost of training is lower and owning and operating it is simpler. We converted our Cornubia store to Sage X3 after its amazing success at our Woodmead and Stellenbosch locations.

Why choose Sage X3 powered by Parity?

  • Time is money in Consol’s world and Parity enabled Consol to deploy a full retail solution in three months, accommodating Consol’s functional requirements and a customised user interface to Consol’s corporate image.
  • Real-time tracking of business processes and key business KPIs, with the system accessible from anywhere.
  • The Sage X3 and NextPOS system has brought agility to our retail business, we can cost- effectively deploy more branches in a short space of time.
  • Customer service levels were improved with a system that can work seamlessly off-line when required.
  • Staff efficiencies improved through system processes, for example, the ease of use of price updates in the shop environment.

Parity is a modern Business Management solutions provider catering for clients from across industries ranging from manufacturing, warehousing, logistics and mining. We pride ourselves in our ability to offer our clients something that no one else in the ICT industry can, which is our experience as we have been in the industry for over three decades. Since the inception of our business we have had, and continue to have a strong focus on people, technology and process in order to create customer experiences and develop a value chain. We are catalysts for success! When you partner with Parity, you will never have to worry about managing infrastructure again and success is sure to follow.

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XPRS Capital Africa Bridges Funding Gap Faced By South African SMEs

XPRS Capital Africa answers local SMEs call for funding.

XPRS Capital Africa

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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are a vital component of the South African economy. However, there is a substantial portion of the country’s estimated 650,000 SMEs that have no access to funding to assist in their continued growth

In response to an increase in demand for reliable and easily accessible capital for businesses like these, XPRS Capital Africa opened its doors in South Africa. The specialist business funding provider is geared towards rapidly vetting and approving short-term business funding ranging from R50,000 to R500,000. In addition, XPRS Capital Africa specialises in extending funding to SMEs that may not qualify for funding from traditional lenders.

Simon Leps, CEO of XPRS Capital Africa explains that XPRS Capital has its roots in the US, having been founded in 2013. “The company is a renowned and established alternative online business-to-business lender. Together with a team of data scientists and using thousands of data points, XPRS Capital has developed a proprietary credit vetting algorithm and packaged product set.”

Related: Angels & Demons: What To Know When Negotiating Equity Funding For Your Start-up

“The technology and approval processes developed by XPRS Capital has a massively successful track record overseas and the experience that our company has gained over the years will help many more SMEs in South Africa to reach their potential,” says Leps.

“The XPRS Capital platform has processed over $1b worth of loans and has a proven track record of funding thousands of businesses across hundreds of industries,” he continues.

Leps adds that the company’s sophisticated algorithm allows XPRS Capital Africa to provide funding to many South African SMEs that are usually denied loans on the basis that their owners have less than ideal credit records. “Traditional lenders are often reluctant to lend capital to SME owners whose credit histories place them in higher risk categories. This has created a massive challenge for many promising SMEs. At XPRS Capital Africa, we focus on the health of the SME, and use state-of-the-art technology to provide businesses the cash flow they need to grow and flourish.”

Using the unique algorithm that we have optimised for the South African market, we are able to accurately assess any SME that has been in business for over a year, to rapidly provide a 3 to 12-month funding solution, notes Leps. “The online application takes less than 10 minutes, allowing SME owners to spend less time filling in forms for funding, and more time on their business.”

XPRS Capital Africa provides funding directly, working closely with SMEs to offer the fastest approvals, best possible repayment terms and most accurate risk profiles for any business.

“Cash flow is the lifeblood of every single business. Our mission is to provide this quickly, affordably and reliably,” Leps adds.

He notes that, given the high number of businesses that have trouble accessing financing, SME owners should also know how to maintain their own positive credit records. Thereby they can ensure that their businesses have access to as many options as possible.

“Ensure that all areas of your company are looked after to the same degree as most funding providers want to see that all aspects of a business are well managed. Up to date, audited financial statements and management accounts, well managed bank accounts, and good budgeting and forecasting show that the owners are attentive. Owners also need to know their businesses inside and out and be able to answer questions about their cash flow and deal pipeline.”

Related: The Investor Sourcing Guide

In addition to this, Leps says that the customer’s experience when dealing with the business could also have a measurable impact. “Any touchpoints that are available to your customers will be looked at by potential funders, so all customer facing assets should look professional and be kept up to date. This goes for websites, online portals and social media accounts.”

“The ability to access additional funds when your company needs it is the key to long-term survival. That’s why it is paramount to maintain the best possible credit record. However, it is also important to remember that, whatever the financial state of your business, business owners are never completely out of options,” Leps concludes.

For more information or to apply for funding, please visit https://www.xprscapital.co.za/ or contact XPRS Capital Africa on (087) 625-0665  or info@xprscapital.co.za.

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4 Black-Owned Businesses Participating in This Enterprise Development Programme That Are Growing – Fast

The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) and Property Point have joined forces to take 16 small to medium-sized, black-owned, businesses, through a life-changing enterprise development programme.

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The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) and Property Point have joined forces to take 16 small to medium-sized, black-owned, businesses, through a life-changing enterprise development programme.

In its first three months of operation, this programme has already seen incredible results with an average growth rate of 27% per business,  R17,8million in contract secured and 21 direct jobs created. This is a unique collaboration in that it is set up specifically to encourage access to markets for the beneficiary businesses and is the first of its kind in the industry.

But who are the people behind the numbers?  Meet four out of the 16 business owners , Thabiso, Falvia, Malusi and Mandla taking full advantage of this opportunity.

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Calling All Social Entrepreneurs: Be SA’S Next Changemaker With The Nation Builder Social Innovation Challenge

In partnership with LaunchLab and the Mergon Group.

Mergon Group

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Nation Builder, together with the Stellenbosch University LaunchLab and the Mergon Group, is inviting business pitches for their inaugural Social Innovation Challenge. The competition aims to identify and support South Africa’s social entrepreneurs, with an opportunity to win a share of R150 000 seed capital.

Entrepreneurs with a self-sustainable business idea – no matter how simple or small – that addresses particular social issues, positively impacts communities, empowers the disadvantaged, or has the potential to solve local problems in innovative ways, are invited to enter the Social Innovation Challenge.

Ten finalists will receive exposure to a broader network of business investors at the final pitching event, which will be hosted by LaunchLab in Stellenbosch on 13 June 2018. Three final winners will receive their portion of R150 000 funding capital, as well as business support from LaunchLab.

Related: How To Be A Social Entrepreneur

In addition to social innovation specialists, media and social development experts, the judging panel will consist of astute business leaders who have successfully walked the entrepreneurship journey.

“Social entrepreneurs are those who see social challenges as opportunities, devise sustainable business solutions to meet those needs, and positively impact many South Africans in the process,” says Keri-Leigh Mac Donald, Executive Director of Nation Builder, an organisation that supports businesses in leading social change in South Africa.

“Social entrepreneurs are the next wave of change makers and social reformers. Nation Builder wants to support and showcase some of these great and emerging home-grown social businesses as a means to challenge us all to think differently when addressing our local social challenges,” she adds.

According to Brandon Paschal, Head of Incubation at LaunchLab, most of the start-ups that the LaunchLab currently work with already have a strong social conscience. “We have worked with many great small businesses in sectors such as mental health, financial inclusion, job creation, empowerment, and sustainability.  We’re excited for them to have this platform with Nation Builder and the broader network of great socially-responsible companies. It is a wonderful way for them to gain more exposure, but also to work with like-minded partners that can help take their businesses forward, without compromising on their social conscience and the greater purpose of their business.”

The winning entrepreneur and their business idea will also be showcased at Nation Builder’s In Good Company conference in Gauteng in August 2018. In addition, they will receive exposure through the various Nation Builder, Mergon and LaunchLab media channels.

“The societal benefits from these enterprises can bring about increased economic activity and opportunities for many more South Africans, while playing a pivotal role in breaking the cycles of social ills that many people are facing daily. The Nation Builder Social Innovation Challenge is a first step in fuelling and highlighting local social innovation solutions,” says Pieter Faure, CEO of Mergon.

Related: 3 Ways For Social Entrepreneurs To Access Fundraising

Submission requirements: Submit a 3-minute video (cell phone footage can be submitted too) of yourself explaining your business idea with your entry form which can be found on the LaunchLab website: http://www.launchlab.co.za/nationbuilder2018

Pitches (video entries) need to focus on providing the following information:

  1. Provide a brief summary of the business/social innovation idea and its history.
  2. What is the particular social issue that the business idea aims to address?
  3. How does the business idea solve or address the social issue?
  4. Explain how the business intends to make money and be sustainable, while clearly describing the target market or customer profile.
  5. What key milestones have been achieved within the venture already?
  6. What is the strategy to grow the business and scale the social impact?
  7. Anything else that the panel needs to know?

Submissions opened on 14 March, and the deadline for online submission entries is 11 May 2018. The top ten finalists will be notified by the end of May. Finalists’ transport to and accommodation in Stellenbosch for two nights will be provided.

LaunchLab’s terms and conditions apply, and are available to download here:  https://launchlab.co.za/innovationchallenges/competition-terms-conditions/

The three winning pitches will be announced at the pitching event on Wednesday 13 June 2018. The panellists’ decision is final.

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