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Reagola: Fareed Regal

IT services company develops its own skills pool to ensure success

Juliet Pitman



Fareed Regal of Reagola

The IT skills shortage in South Africa ishere to stay and is a major inhibitor. Despite this, global market intelligencecompany IDC predicts that the local IT sector will grow at an average annual rate of 11,3% to nearly $5 670 millionby 2011.

Fareed Regal, MD of infrastructure support company Reagola, is someone who is facingthe skills shortage head-on by outsourcing the company’s staffing needs to anHR partner.“At any point in time we have at least 12qualified yet inexperienced IT people in the pipeline,” says Regal. “We trainthem to our standards and pay them a wage during the process. As a result, wealways have access to skills. This has been fundamental to the growth of thebusiness. Those whom we cannot employ permanently we use on a contract basisfor work that is done after hours.” Regal says Reagola is about people as thatis how the business makes its money. “As a BEE company, we wanted to ensurethat our contribution to skills development is real and meaningful. Trainingunemployed people is a key contributor to that. In addition, every employee whois certified represents additional income for the business, thus boosting thebottom line.” Once employed, these new recruits areprovided with mentors who are themselves incentivised to upskill the staff. Theyoung people who are brought into the company know that their salaries will bedoubled on certification, an inducement that has them meeting on the premisesevery weekend where they form study groups that enable them to complete atwo-year qualification in six months. Regal is serious about his commitment toempowerment. The company has been accredited with a BEE level two rating out ofnine possible levels, with level one being the highest. Reagola passes on itsown good fortune – 72% of its spend is with small BEE companies. The company was started in 2005 by BrandonAbrahams and Julian Mulder when they merged their businesses which wereseparately providing IT services for Woolworths at a time when Regal headed upthe retail giant’s BEE IT policy. Regal had 19 years of business experience soit was not surprising that the two should turn to him when their business grewby a whopping 200% in three months.

“They brought me on board as CEO to givethem a hard time,” Regal says. “I had always wanted to run my own business andI was attracted to Reagola because it already had a three-year contract withWoolworths under its belt and when you are older, you are less inclined to takerisks.” Regal recalls that there were certainaspects of the corporate world that did not appeal to him. He was adamant thathe would keep Reagola free of the acrimony that can arise with increases,promotions and hierarchies. He cautions, however, that building a strongcompany requires purpose and action. “Put your focus on supporting and growingpeople and you run the risk of being perceived as too nice. We are alsobusiness people and we stress that a great bottom line is what enables us to dogood things for our staff. People who do not perform are quickly shown thedoor.” He attributes the business’s success to itsfocus on more than the service level agreement (SLA), that Holy Grail of IT.“Customer service is everything in this industry. Other companies measure theirpeople on SLA. Everyone does that. We measure ours on whether they haveactually prevented incidents in the first place.” The more you add value to a customer’s business,Regal maintains, the more sustainable your own becomes. “It may not be asprofitable in the beginning, but the payoff is long-term.” Regal’s policy is to reinvest profits. “Weare debt-free and are working to ensure there is no fat in the business,” hesays. That’s what has paved the way for growth,with the company set to open offices in Johannesburg and Durban within the nextfew months. “Going national is the next logical step,” he concludes.

Contact: +27 21 469 1800;

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.


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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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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