Following weeks of adjudication, Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and The Da Vinci Institute announced winners of this year’s Innovation Index at the Accenture Innovation Conference held in Johannesburg today. The awards ceremony honoured businesses – regardless of their sizes – for spearheading innovation in their own industries.
“All respondents were evaluated according to areas of innovation maturity,” said Ntombi Mhangwani, the director of Integrated Marketing & Communications at Accenture.
This ranged from ability to innovate throughout the value chain, from concept through to commercialisation; commitment to the project across the organisation, including senior management; and ability to make use of ever evolving technology, in all its forms, as a way of improving customer value, operational procedures as well as creating new revenue streams.
The 2016 Accenture Innovation Index winners are:
Overall Innovation Master (turnover in excess of R35m): SSG Consulting
For their revolutionary cloud based Business and Project Management solution with exceptional capabilities to handle workflow, data, documents, dashboards, KPI’s, business and staff optimisation together with upskilling. SSG Consulting’s KEY360 solution is able to cater for over 100 processes via either mobile or multi-company access.
Overall Innovation Master (turnover less than R35m): Colony HQ
For their online aggregation and database platform that translates big data into little data, allowing clients to communicate with their customers making use of relevant messaging at the right time.
Top Innovative Concept (turnover in excess of R35 million): Purple Group – Easy Equities
For their Bundles that allows the investors to invest in a basket of shares. It provides access to a predetermined stock selection created by respected fund managers and CIO’s from some of South Africa’s top financial service providers.
Top Innovative Concept (emerging organisation): Standard Microgrid
For their mini-utility solution that utilises a combination of solar photovoltaic, energy storage, cloud based grid management and granular demand side management devices to transform a rural off-grid village into a hyper efficient group of networked smart homes.
The overall findings of the Accenture Innovation Index showed only marginal growth in innovation among South African companies, with 57 percent of respondents found to be laggards, 29 percent acting as leaders in innovation and 8 percent serving as innovation value champions seeing a return on innovation of over 40 percent.
“If South Africa hopes to continue in the 21st Century, the pace at which the nation is innovating needs to accelerate going forward,” said Mhangwani.
This year, three key themes – Engagement, Resources and Digital – have gained momentum and emerged as receiving stronger focus by innovation leaders and value champions in South Africa.
Engagement, defined as the workforce of a company who are invested in their daily work, grew by seven percent in 2016. About 70 percent of employees view innovation as a critical part of their job. The index also shows that 78 percent of companies encourage innovative thinking from employees.
Resources – defined as financial and human capital, as well as marking use of sources, relationships and the workforce to generate ideas and facilitate innovation – dimension significantly increased by 20 points to 55 percent in 2016. The index shows that 71 percent of leaders allow for innovative ideas to come from outside their organisations.
Digital – defined by the evolution of the business to use new combinations of technology, information and connectivity to create new sources of customer value, revenue as well as operational performance – remains a key driver of innovation with 85 percent of innovation leaders using analytics to drive innovation.
As part of the adjudication process, index partners – including The Da Vinci Institute, TransUnion and other innovation practitioners – met with and interviewed the top organisations to ultimately determine the finalists and winners. The top four winners were selected from a total of 20 finalists announced last month.
All winners will receive a customised innovation diagnostic that identifies innovation gaps and strengths, provides a benchmark by turnover and sector, and includes strategies that may help them to improve their businesses and gain competitive advantage.
The Accenture Innovation Index, launched two years ago, has as its goal to drive and grow innovation, in all its forms. It provides organisations with a customised innovative diagnostic report, allowing respondents to identify both its innovation strengths and gaps, together with potential strategies moving forward.
In addition to what it affords respondents, and largely because of it, The Accenture Innovation Index is also able to provide an invaluable objective benchmark of the state of innovation in South Africa.
“At Accenture, we remain committed to spearheading innovation,” continued Mhangwani.
“We believe that the annual Innovation Index enables this, allowing us to deliver a positive contribution not only to the various organisations involved but, similarly, to the broader subject of innovation in our country. Our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all participants over the last few months, and today’s winners.”
Registration for the Accenture Innovation Index 2017 is now open. For more information, please visit: www.theinnovationindex.com.
Inspiring A New Generation Of Learning – Education As A Basic Human Right
Access to education isn’t a privilege, it’s a basic human right – Mzwandile inspires a new generation of learners.
Raised by his aunt and uncle after his parents passed away at a young age, Mzwandile Harmans attended a poor school in Cala, the heart of the rural Eastern Cape. It was his matric year; but with limited resources at Masikhuthale Public Secondary school, the pass rate was low and the learning environment less than ideal for conscientious learners.
Then one day a teacher came round to talk about Engen’s Maths and Science Schools (EMSS) programme, and everything changed for this talented young man who was determined to realise his full potential.
“We were given a chance to take a test to qualify for the EMSS Cala programme. The programme offered supplementary classes in maths, science and English, which ran every Saturday morning, but was 25 kilometres away,” remembers Mzwandile. “Fortunately, I took it seriously and I got in.”
Making the long round trip every weekend to attend the programme saw a steady improvement in Mzwandile’s maths, chemistry, and physics marks, so much so that he was awarded a full Engen scholarship to study Chemical Engineering at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
Mzwandile later impressed with his tertiary studies and after two-years was offered a one-year internship at the Engen Refinery in Durban, which he passed with distinction. On graduating from CPUT, he landed a two-year employment contract with Engen, as part of the company’s graduate development programme.
Today, Mzwandile is permanently employed as an Environmental Technician at the Engen Refinery. “I am so grateful to Engen for all of this,” says Mzwandile. “I never thought it could happen to me.”
Engen’s Head of Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement, Unathi Magida says access to education is a fundamental human right. “This resonates particularly with Engen as a company, as we believe in the value of education and know how important it is to ensure that young people have the opportunity to realise their full potential.”
Chwayita Mareka, Engen’s Head of Human Resources, says the company’s investment in young talent has focused on the Maths and Science Saturday Schools because they understand the bigger country agenda.
“As Engen, we try and play our part in helping to develop South African’s talent pool, as there is a scarcity of Science, Maths and Engineering skills. We offer bursaries for students to go to universities in these fields and we look after them, especially if they are from disadvantaged communities,” says Mareka.
“Later, they come into Engen as graduate trainees as part of our graduate development programme wherein we assign them a mentor that exposes them to the real business,” she adds.
Mzwandile’s journey is just one of many inspirational Engen stories that will be shared as part of a new TV series that aims to create a positive narrative around South Africa’s success stories. The SA INC. TV series which launches on 7 April is a partnership between Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA), Brand South Africa and producers, Regency Global.
“At Engen, we strongly believe that a country which is educated is a country that will prosper. We are pleased to play a part in helping to develop South Africa talent, especially our young learners based in rural areas,” says Magida
To watch Mzwandile’s story please visit the website: https://regency.global/engen/ and the following hashtags: #JourneyWithEngen #BusinessBelieves #SAINC #humanrightsday #awesomesouthafrica #sustainability #livesouthafrica #weheartsa.
How SMEs Can Stand Out From The Crowd
A recently released SME Landscape Report: An Assessment of South Africa’s SME Landscape: Challenges, Opportunities, Risks & Next Steps’ 2018/2019, revealed that 40 percent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) find that the industry that they operate in is extremely competitive. It also states that considering the low growth environment, this is likely to continue further into the future.
To assist struggling entrepreneurs, Byron Jeacocks, Regional General Manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), says that it is imperative for SME owners who find themselves in this predicament to determine and implement tactics to remain competitive in saturated industries. “A good example of how to do this, is Business Partners Limited’s client, Prashun Sharma, owner-manager of glass and aluminium company, Aluminium Doctor, who was faced with an overtraded industry teeming with informal operators when he started his business seven years ago.”
“This was because the glass and aluminium industry suffered a contraction following the Soccer World Cup construction boom in 2010, and as a result, many tradespeople were retrenched and subsequently started up their own informal glass and aluminium installation operations to make ends meet,” Jeacocks adds.
Explaining how he ensured a competitive edge in his business, Sharma, who was also retrenched from his senior management position at a large aluminium company, says that when he started his company he decided to make it formal, compliant and professional. “I wanted to incorporate my corporate and managerial experience to differentiate my business, and to elevate this, I enrolled in a business management degree.”
“My degree covered everything from strategic management, supply management, first-line management to directorship and it touched on everything from listing on the stock exchange down to conflict management and change management. This really prepared me for business and I believe it was a key ingredient to my business’s success,” he points out.
However, Sharma says that when starting their businesses in a saturated industry, entrepreneurs should not feel despondent if the process is slow at the beginning. “At first in my journey, there seemed to be no difference between Aluminium Doctor and the rest of the informal businesses in the industry, but I continued to lay a formal foundation, whilst consulting with my lawyer and accountant to make sure these foundations were sound. I also started to develop professionally made marketing material, a website, formal email addresses and a fixed phone line.”
Aluminium Doctor’s breakthrough came a year and a half into the business, when it won a substantial contract with the building of the Durban ice rink, says Sharma. “This is when I knew that it was time to formalise my business premises and I found a 1000 square metre factory in Brairdene, Durban.”
However, in order to purchase the building, I needed to obtain funding and I believed that it was clear from the financials that the company could afford to buy the building, but the banks were not sure whether our fast growth was sustainable. “I was then introduced to Business Partners Limited which considers finance applications based on the potential of the business, and also on the capabilities of the entrepreneur rather than just on the balance sheet and age of the business.”
Commenting on this, Jeacocks says that Sharma’s management style and his commitment to furthering himself as an entrepreneur by studying business management was also a contributing factor to the approval of his business’s property finance loan,” comments Jeacocks.
“Today, seven years since he started, Sharma’s careful attention to his business’s formal foundations is still paying off. Just in the last twelve months, in an extremely challenging economy, Aluminium Doctor grew by 35 percent, and the business now has a presence in KwaZulu Natal, the Eastern Cape and Gauteng where it will soon establish a permanent sales office in an expansion that is only possible for a formal, well run organisation,” Jeacocks concludes.
Celebrating The Best Of The Best In Black Business
The 2019 Black Business Quarterly (BBQ) Awards, held at Emperor’s Palace on Friday, 15 March 2019, celebrated the champions of transformation of the South African economy.
Established in 2002, the BBQ Awards 2019 honoured the best of the best in black business. South Africa’s top black business owners and rising stars arrived to the red carpet for a night full of glitz and glamour. Celebrity TV presenter, socialite, radio personality and Idols SA judge Somizi Mhlongo led the festivities as the evening’s programme director. He was joined on stage by A-list celebrities and prominent politicians.
Jeff Radebe, Minister of the Department of Energy, celebrated 25 years of South Africa’s democracy in his opening keynote address and emphasised the importance of transformation.
“Transformation is well recognised as a change management strategy, which aligns people, which aligns processes and technology initiatives, irrespective of the industry you come from, in order to survive and evolve in this business environment. Changing the structure of the South African economy will result in it being more inclusive, more sustainable… with opportunities for all, integrated value chains, and less barriers to entry. In South Africa, the transformation agenda is very critical in all our endeavours and all our decisions.”
Radebe congratulated the winners of the 15 transformation categories on this recognition of their inspiring dedication:
- Platinum Award: Dr Nobuhle Judy Dlamini, founding chairman of Mbekani Group, is an entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist. Her passion for creating and adding value to society and humanity provided her with the overall platinum award for the evening, as well as the Comair Outstanding Woman of the Year Award.
- Hennessy XO Businessman of the Year Award: Sthembiso Elton Nkomo, CEO of Abalandi Risk Management, was recognised as a professionally qualified, dedicated, and respected professional in the forensic investigation and security services environment.
- The Innovation Hub New and Innovative Business Award: AET Africa, a manufacturer and supplier of energy efficient and clean technology products, developed various products targeting the commercial and residential sectors.
- Emperors Palace Community Builder of the Year Award: Emmanel Bonoko, Founder of EBonoko Holdings and a social entrepreneur. He founded EBonoko at the age of 21 with the aim of serving others and fostering leadership, youth empowerment, and entrepreneurship.
- Dormehl Phalane Property Group Transformation Champion of the Year Award: ICT-Works, an organisation that provides innovative technology solutions. At its core it also enhances the lives of millions of people.
- Best Employer of the Year Award: Maredi Technologies CC, an 100% black owned ICT infrastructure solutions provider for the private and public sector.
- Trade & Investment KZN Young Business Achiever Award: Pravashen Naidoo, Founder and CEO of e-Waste Africa, established Africa’s first light bulb recycling business at the age of 30.
- Bentley South Africa Public Sector Visionary Award: Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CEO of Lama Marketing and Advertising (Pty) Ltd. He published numerous articles on how to improve services and operations in South Africa. As a seasoned Executive he has expertise in corporate governance, financial management and budgeting, enterprise risk management and strategic development.
- BET New Entrepreneur Award: Ms Thobile Nyawo, Director of Nyawo Civil construction. The 19-year-old construction entrepreneur founded her company in 2015 with no start-up capital.
- CSI Ubuntu Award: Vukani-Ubuntu Community Development Projects, a non-profit organisation that is the largest mineral-beneficiation organisation in the jewellery sector in South Africa and a network off grassroots development projects across the country.
- NHBRC Iqhawe Mentorship Award: Musa Zulu, Creative Director of Valhalla Arts, as well as published author, international artist, celebrated motivational speaker, and prominent disability activist in South Africa.
- NYDA Outstanding Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Muhammad Simjee, Founder and CEO of A2D24 with a passion for building gadgets and writing software.
- Nedbank Group Individual Transformation in Leadership Award: Karen Rademeyer, Fundraiser and Communications Manager at Go for Gold, having worked in the non-profit sector for 17 years She is passionate about education: Go for Gold as a dynamic Education-to-Employment programme that recruits school students from some of South Africa’s poorest communities and transforms them into technically qualified graduates.
- LTE Holdings Best Established Black Business Award: Thata uBeke Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd, which offers turnkey solutions by designing, developing, manufacturing and assembling electronic and electro mechanical components for a variety of applications including aerospace, telecommunications, mining, commercial, and military specifications.
The BBQ Awards continue to be South Africa’s most prestigious transformation awards. For more information on the 2019 BBQ Awards, visit http://www.bbqawards.co.za/ or follow them on Facebook (@BBQAwards) and Twitter (@BBQ_Awards).
Snapshots1 week ago
How Pepe Marais Went From Bankruptcy To Founding Joe Public And Becoming An Entrepreneurial Success
Snapshots1 week ago
Ian Fuhr Explains Why He Likes To Launch Businesses In Unfamiliar Industries And How He Made Sorbet A Success
Company Posts2 days ago
Changing The Shape Of What’s Possible
Company Posts6 days ago
Designing Her Destiny
Entrepreneur Today1 week ago
Digital Transformation Should Be A Priority For Small Businesses In South Africa
Entrepreneur Today5 days ago
Why Just Having A Great Idea Won’t Make You The Next Richard Maponya
Marketing Tactics6 days ago
Useful Marketing Tactics For Growing Businesses
Cash Flow2 weeks ago
Financial Literacy Key To Business Success – Especially In A Tough Economy