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Integr8 Group: Robert Sussman & Lance Fanaroff

It’s been a good year for the guys at Integr8 Group. In spite of the global recession and the subsequent need for corporates who make up their client base to cut back on costs, the company has experienced compound year-on-year growth of between 35% to 40%.

Juliet Pitman

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It’s also been a year of awards.Co-founders and joint CEOs Robert Sussman and Lance Fanaroff each walked offwith Entrepreneur of the Year awards (Sussman for the Absa Johnnie WalkerEntrepreneur of the Year Award, and Fanaroff for the Business TopcoEntrepreneur of the Year). The company was named the “Innovation throughTechnology” winner at the annual Business Topco National Awards and is afinalist in the Emerging Entrepreneur category of the South African Ernst &Young World Entrepreneur Awards*.

In 2001 Sussman and Fanaroff investedR300 000 of their own capital to start the business, which designs, implementsand manages ICT infrastructure for clients. “Our goal when we started was tobuild an annuity-based IT business, and while the company has grown and openeddifferent divisions along the way, the core of that model remains the same. Sothe fundamentals of Integr8 have allowed the business to endure the tremendouspressure that transactionally-based IT businesses have felt during this toughtime,” says Sussman.  This is undoubtedly true, butinnovation has also played an important role in giving the company the kind ofcompetitive edge that puts it head and shoulders above its competitors, in goodtimes and bad. One of its key assets is the Integr8 Nerve Centre which allowsthe company to connect to all of its clients across the world. 

Through it Integr8 staff can providecall centre and support services, and monitor multiple clients from onelocation – all of which results in significant cost-saving and massivelyincreased efficiency. It’s allowed the company to reach beyond South Africa’sborders without having to set up operations in other countries. Fanaroff says that the companycontinually assesses global trends and products to see how they might beadapted for local market needs. “Because we understand business, notjust IT, we’re able to pre-empt the needs of clients and build new products ordesign new offerings that meet these,” he says, citing the company’srecently-formed Integr8 Rental as an example. “Companies currently find themselves in theposition where they can’t afford the capital outlay required to own their ownIT equipment, but they can now rent these assets from Integr8 Rental,” explainsSussman. Today, Integr8 is the largest BEE privately owned ICT infrastructuremanagement company on the African continent. “Looking back, it’s been aphenomenal year,” says Sussman, “Looking forward we are perfectly geared toconsider strategic acquisitions that will enable us to compound our growth evenfurther.”

*Winners announcement still pending at time of going to press. 

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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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.

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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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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

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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.

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“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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