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VentureWeb: Matthew Jankelow

An entrepreneur with a different take on the skills shortage wows global clients with what South Africa has to offer.

Juliet Pitman

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Matthew Jankelow

Matthew Jankelow sees the world a little differently. At a time when most of South Africa is bemoaning a critical lack of skills, his company has secured success by outsourcing local skills to multinational organisations across the globe.

VentureWeb provides outsourced strategic and tactical business-to-business marketing services to more than 400 marketers in 49 countries – but the skills stay in South Africa. “We source the very best marketing talent South Africa has to offer, employ those people on a full-time or contract basis, and outsource their skills to our clients,” explains Jankelow. The model is not a new one – offshoring skills to more cost-effective geographical locations is common practice in the contact centre industry, for example.

Seeing Potential

But although offshoring has traditionally been about outsourcing back-office, non-essential operations to emerging economies where skills are cheaper, Jankelow believes there is potential for it to be so much more. “While cost saving is a key consideration for companies considering offshoring, it is becoming more than simply finding skills at a cheaper price, and includes engaging great talent at a reasonable rate,” he says.

A study conducted in the US by the Duke University Centre for International Business Education and
Research shows that outsourcing companies are increasingly getting involved in mission-critical functions like new product development, research and developing, engineering and knowledge-intensive analytical services. “When you think about it, the skills crisis is not just confined to South Africa – it’s a global business challenge. And in a global short-skills market, it makes sense for companies to source skills from every available talent pool around the world,” says Jankelow.

Overcoming Perceptions

The challenge for any outsourcing company is to prove to prospective clients that they have the goods. “The nature of this business is that it is done remotely, largely via digital communications such as teleconferencing, skype, email and the Internet.

Companies sometimes have very real fears about service delivery, cultural fit and work ethic,” Jankelow explains. There are of course also the First World perceptions of doing business in Africa to overcome. For Jankelow, this means proving that VentureWeb is a legitimate organisation, with the necessary technological capacity, service delivery credentials and, of course, skills.

Adding the Human Touch

“Because of these perceptions and concerns, the sales cycle is complex and ultimately any outsourcing company needs to acknowledge that personal relationships need some level of personal contact. A great deal of contact can be managed via video conferencing but it’s critical that we conduct some face-to-face visits.

“It’s ideal if clients can reciprocate, so they can see where and how we work, and that we are a professionally run organisation,” he says. All of this costs money, but Jankelow is nothing if not resourceful. He recently entered a competition and won business class tickets to anywhere in the world for a period of a year. This will go a long way to helping VentureWeb expand its client base.

Attracting Top Talent

Having best of breed talent is a key success indicator for VentureWeb, and the company has devised a compelling value proposition to make sure it attracts the best skills in the industry.

“The nature of the business makes it less material where staff work so our full-time staff have the option of working at home on certain days of the week,” says Jankelow. The company also has a significant pool of contract employees. “The flexibility on offer means we can attract top players in the industry who still want to work but who don’t necessarily want to be tied down by a full-time job, or inflexible working hours,” he continues.

This allows VentureWeb to attract and retain the kind of talent it would not necessarily be able to afford otherwise. “We can’t compete with large corporates on benefits, but many of our contractors earn really well, and we can offer people valuable flexibility, which is attractive and makes them think twice before moving to another company,” he says.

Looking Ahead

In the past four years, VentureWeb has opened operations in Canada, more than tripled its revenue and secured its position as market leader in the marketing skills outsourcing sector.

And while Jankelow is excited about the future of his company, he’s equally enthusiastic about the growth of the outsoucing industry: “South Africa has some fantastic skills and the opportunity exists to establish the country as a global skills hub. Doing so not only brings in great revenue, but it means that the country is able to retain its top talent. Sure there are challenges relating to infrastructure and the like, but if we get these right, the possibilities are endless.”

VentureWeb

Player: Matthew Jankelow
Est: 1998
Contact: +27 11 300 2700; www.ventureweb.com

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton

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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton

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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton

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Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
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