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Foot Print SA: Jules Newton

An innovative financial model allows a company to deliver large scale training at greatly reduced costs while tapping into alternative income streams.

Juliet Pitman



Jules Newton of FootPrint SA

During tough economic times, the pressure is on businesses to come up with creative financial models that will ensure they remain within reach of clients who are feeling the pinch. Nowhere is this more relevant than in sectors, like training, which are the first to feel the effect of corporate cost cutting measures.

Fortunately, Jules Newton knows a thing or two about how economies of scale can bring down the per head cost of training. It’s something she learned as one of the founders of Ngikwazi Field Marketing, which recruits, trains and supports the 8 600-strong nationwide retail network for national lottery operator, Gidani. “On a contract of that size you learn how much price per head can come down if your numbers are big enough,” she says.

It’s a lesson she’s now applying to the field of training with Footprint, a company that delivers basic life skills training to people at the bottom of the pyramid. What’s innovative about Footprint is not only that it delivers training on a scale beyond what’s been done before by most training companies, but that it does so at prices which significantly undercut traditional training models. Furthermore, the type of training it offers allows prospective clients to tap into their corporate social investment (CSI) and enterprise development (ED) budgets – an alternative and often untapped revenue stream.

A new training model

Newton explains how it all works: “Footprint focuses on large corporates and government institutions that need to deliver life skills, non-brand specific training that has a benefit to the lives of people in the mass market. This might be things like basic financial literacy, wellness programmes, how to save electricity or HIV/Aids awareness.

“We produce picture-based training material that’s langauge-agnostic and easily accessible, so the trainers themselves don’t need to be highly skilled. We source them from the target communities and up-skill them to deliver the training.” Because the trainers come from within the communities themselves, the company saves significantly on travel costs. The model allows training to be delivered at R100 a head, which includes a cooked lunch for delegates. Compared to blue-chip corporate training of between R1 250 and R2 500 per person per day, or even community training of between R350 and R900, the savings are considerable.

Igniting small enterprises

The trainers run their operations as micro-enterprises, with Footprint providing support in the form of basic business training and mentors. “They get paid to organise a suitable venue and catering, and are also paid a per head incentive for any learners they manage to source.

“They speak the language of the community and have an established relationship with the people there,” says Newton. The model offers an ideal way for corporates to invest their enterprise development funding and earn broad-based black economic empowerment points, or to channel CSI funding to community education projects on issues such as HIV/Aids. Own Two Feet is an NGO that’s been established specifically to manage and channel such ED funding. “Financial institutions need to invest in financial literacy programmes for the community in compliance with the requirements of the Financial Services Charter, and this is something Footprint can do at a fraction of the cost and with far greater reach than if they were doing it themselves,” Newton explains.

Securing success

Hollard, Edcon, Pep, the Financial Education Fund and the Financial Services Board are just some of organisations that have seen the benefits Footprint can deliver. The scale of what the company can achieve is considerable. In its first year, it started 25 predominantly women-owned micro-enterprises, through which it trained over 17 000 South Africans in basic financial literacy skills.

And that’s just the beginning. “We now have an ambitious plan to expand our South African operations to include over 100 micro-enterprises training hundreds of thousands of South Africans annually, in various programmes that empower people. And soon, we intend to expand our model and operations into Africa and beyond,” says Newton. The model only works at scale so the challenge now will be to secure contracts that are large enough to make the company’s vision possible. But Newton has a solid value proposition: “This is the way to educate people at the bottom of the pyramid, and we all know how desperately South Africa and Africa need that. Our company provides a way for corporates and governments to meet this need.”

Player: Jules Newton
Est. 2008
Contact: +27 11 614 0206


25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Company Posts

Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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