In the technology disrupted world, the next wave of growth and competitiveness will come from continuous innovation. Businesses across various industries are looking for innovation to grow, compete and transform in the fast-growing digital economy. It is against this backdrop that Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and partners, Transunion and The Da Vinci Institute, today launched the annual Innovation Index 2017, themed “Ignite Ingenuity”.
The Accenture Innovation Index measures, recognises and rewards innovation and systems of innovation in organisations of all sizes in the South African public and private sectors every year. The Index is designed to provide a national benchmark for innovation, providing businesses and policymakers with an authoritative and objective snapshot of the state of innovation within their organisations and in South Africa.
To participate in this year’s Index, organisations are encouraged to complete the registration form on the Accenture Innovation website before 30 April.
Last year’s Innovation Index highlighted that the pace at which South Africa is innovating needs to accelerate if the country hopes to continue to compete in the 21st century. The survey painted a worrying picture of 57 percent of companies scoring less than 52 points out of a possible 100 – they fall into the “innovation laggard” category. Only 29 percent could be categorised as innovation leaders.
“We need to see levels of innovation improving radically. This year, we hope to see some remarkable companies signing up to showcase what have been achieved. Those companies that may be laggards also have every opportunity to learn the lessons needed to begin their all-important journey to becoming true innovation leaders,” says Rory Moore, Innovation Lead at Accenture.
On average, South African companies invest 13.7 percent of their annual revenues in innovation and realising a 14.5 percent return. Innovation value champions invest 17.8 percent of revenues and their average return is 42.6 percent – almost three times higher than the market average.
“The Accenture Innovation Index showcases some of the great things happening on the African continent; entrepreneurs and established companies developing innovative responses to some of the biggest challenges faced by society. The fit with TU’s ‘Information for Good’ mission is both exciting and inspirational,” says Lee Naik, CEO of TransUnion.
“The Accenture innovation index plays an important role in facilitating the development of an innovation management system, which should make a meaningful contribution to the socio economic development of South Africa and Africa at large in the future. The alignment of the program with Da Vinci’s “development of sustainable societies” goal is essential to the continued progress of our society,” says Prof Bennie Anderson, CEO The Da Vinci Institute.
“Today’s launch means we are all systems go to begin vetting and short-listing. As always successful participants will receive awards at the Innovation Conference later in the year. This is becoming one of the highlights of the business calendar, where extremely useful insights on the levels of innovation in the country are highlighted – including areas of improvement – but also where the best companies can be rewarded for being true innovation champions. It’s time for companies to embrace innovation on a far broader scale or else they will be left behind by the increasingly complex, demanding and competitive market,” says Moore.
Why Just Having A Great Idea Won’t Make You The Next Richard Maponya
Tilldan Bunagni – Brand Manager for Firstwatch Whisky shares some insights into what will help you on the road to business success.
All entrepreneurs have hurdles to overcome on their path to success, and it takes guts and fortitude to survive the journey. As self-made publisher, William Feather said, “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”
Richard Maponya has been described as a living legend, and while his first business idea to retail directly to consumers in Soweto proved successful, it was his incredible determination and work ethic that saw him overcome an extremely hostile business environment for black business under the Apartheid Government.
Today’s up and coming entrepreneurs face different challenges and while there is support for SMEs from Government to Corporates, the reality is that starting a business and seeing it develop into a highly successful entity creating wealth for the owner, employees and other stakeholders, is the exception rather than the rule.
So, what are some ideas that will help you pave the way for a successful business providing for yourself, your family, your community
Ensure you don’t neglect the business while chasing the money
One of the worst mistakes a small business can make is not having a good admin system in place. Without booking keeping records, SARS compliance and financial records for example, you will at some point hit a brick wall.
Whether it’s because you are growing and need to access funding – which will prove very difficult without business documentation – or you have neglected your SARS payments and compliance, the wall be there. From the start, learn how to manage your admin yourself, or employ the part time expertise of a professional. It will be well worth the initial spend.
Don’t be scared to ask for money
Many successful businesses have become so because they sought funding when they needed it. Whether this is at the start-up phase or when the business is already established but ready to be fast tracked to the next level. While there seems to be a lack of understanding of how many and what options are available to SMEs in SA, the truth is there are literally hundreds of funding products available. Search Google with keywords such as: Access to finance in South Africa and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the what is actually available.
Don’t be scared to look for support
Success often comes with support. Being an entrepreneur or small business owner can be a very lonely existence. Whether you seek the backing of a Mentor or join a support programme, improving your business skills and having a cheering squad behind you is empowering.
Another form of support can be found in initiatives and competitions geared towards developing and rewarding entrepreneurs. Look out for ones that talk to the genuine needs of an entrepreneurial business – such as financial support backed by business training and support.
The journey for entrepreneurs is really tough, but certainly well worth the effort in the long run.
How Firstwatch can help you!
Firstwatch is currently running the ‘Firstwatch Entrepreneurs Challenge’. This serves as a platform to move business ideas and concepts to the next stage of growth for the 100 applicants selected to join the two-day workshop. The training programme is chock-full with robust, hands-on experiential learning with some of the country’s leading business experts.
At the culmination of the programme, entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to pitch their business or business idea to a panel of judges – where the top 10 will be selected. All entrepreneurs will be invited to attend the closing ceremony on the 19th May, where the top 10 will pitch to the entire audience and a final panel of celebrity judges and successful entrepreneurs.
The overall winner will walk away with R50 000 support for their existing or start-up business.
The entry closing date is the 31st of March with workshop dates on 27 and 28 April 2019.
For information on the initiative simply call or send a Whatsapp, SMS or “please call me” to 072 391 9937 or e-mail email@example.com.
Digital Transformation Should Be A Priority For Small Businesses In South Africa
With numbers like that, digital transformation is critical for any small business that wishes to find more customers and grow.
When a water pipe bursts in your home one morning, your initial reaction will probably be to grab your smartphone and search Google for a plumber nearby. Perhaps there is one just around the corner, but you wouldn’t know about them if they don’t show up in your search results. This scenario sums up why a good digital presence has become a must for small businesses in South Africa. The internet – and almost any business opportunity – is where the customers are.
According to the 2019 Global Digital Report prepared by We Are Social and Hootsuite, 54% of the South African population are internet users. This means there are 31 million people in South Africa who are searching for products and services online; 29 million of them are active mobile internet users. With numbers like that, digital transformation is critical for any small business that wishes to find more customers and grow.
First step on the road
We believe the journey of digital transformation starts with creating your own online identity. This is creating a place of your own online, starting with a website, and letting people know who you are, what you do, and what you offer. Think of it as your mobile storefront or your online business card. Start small and grow over time: no need to over-engineer or over spend.
Website builders like GoDaddy Website Builder can help you get a professional-looking website up and running in a short amount of time, even if you don’t have a big budget or any technical skills. And it will look amazing on a smartphone, not just yours! Once you’ve created your website, you can start looking at using tools like social media, search engine optimisation, and e-mail marketing to help reach new customers and stay in touch with existing ones.
Thanks to the internet and the digital tools available today, it’s not as hard or as expensive to create and promote your brand as it once was. First, a solid strategy is important, and it should include ways of showing your target audience what makes your brand and products unique.
Here are some other tips about how you can get value from your digital presence:
- Mobile continues to rise: As we’ve mentioned before, more than 90% of internet users in South Africa are mobile. You should focus on improving site speed, navigation structures and readability on mobile devices, and look to optimise your website from the start for the mobile experience.
- Simple design: This is an extension of creating mobile-first experiences, and it’s important that your website looks and works great on all screen sizes. This year, web design will focus on relevant and catchy content as well as design to help ensure you catch your users’ attention.
- Feature “platforms”. What do I mean by platforms? This includes maps, payment solutions, food delivery services, and shared rides fall into this definition. Our friend the plumber might not need these for his website, but a restaurant could truly benefit from adding maps, partnering with a booking or reservation service and even a customer rating solution.
With an increased number of data breaches occurring, protecting your new website and your customers’ data has become even more important for companies of all sizes. Whether or not a website has an SSL Certificate, it can affect your search rankings, so you should ensure your site has the added SSL Certificate protections.
Voice search and chat – are they in your business’s future?
Looking to the future, we can expect to see the digital world evolve at breakneck speed. Two trends to be on the look-out for in the not-too-distant future are voice search and chatbots. Currently, one out of every five internet searches come from voice queries, which means people are speaking their searches into their smart devices.
Therefore, while optimising your website and content for search engines, it will be important to do it for voice searches, keeping in mind the growing use of virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana. We can also expect to see more businesses using chatbots powered by AI on their websites, as well as social media profiles and applications, to provide instant assistance for their customers.
Perhaps your small business is planning to start implementing these tools during the year. Or it could be several years before these features are on your radar. Either way, they highlight some potential ways your evolving digital presence can allow you to find and interact with customers in new powerful ways.
Call For Application From Entrepreneurs In The Media Industry
Closing date for applications is 22 March 2019.
Investec CSI’s Global Exposure Trips provide South African entrepreneurs from various sectors with global exposure. Applications are now open for entrepreneurs in the South African media industry.
Are you an entrepreneur between the ages of 21 and 40 who has been in the industry for more than two years? Do you want to get global exposure and best practice for your business?
You could be chosen to go on the next media industry themed trip to Bangalore, India from the 17-24th May 2019.
Closing date for applications is 22 March 2019.
Every year Investec, in partnership with En-novate, sends a group of young entrepreneurs from various sectors to specifically selected countries in order to gain global exposure. Each itinerary provides them with opportunities to network and engage with venture capitalists, funders and captains of their specific industry. The aim is for them to gain learning and exposure to innovation, technology and process advancements. The programme also offers networking with subject and sector experts.
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