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Affordable Leave Management for SMEs

Locally developed online leave management system launched in SA.

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Employers in South Africa can manage the leave records of their staff members more efficiently by adopting the web-based Leave Management System, introduced to the local market by Cost Concepts, a business consultancy that specialises in uncovering cost saving opportunities with organisational overheads.

Cost Concepts managing director Rozlyn Stanton points out that the locally-developed Leave Management System is targeted at SMEs, which are still predominantly reliant on various paper-based HR systems that are inherently prone to inaccuracies.

“The Leave Management System eliminates physical movements and paper trails associated with traditional leave processes, thereby reducing errors that can negatively affect the business and its employees,” she explains.

“Failing to record all leave applications has a direct cost implication as too much leave pay gets paid out when employees leave. Due to the fact that the system is entirely automated, all employee records are recorded and stored permanently, and can be viewed at any time to swiftly resolve any disputes related to leave.”

Designed for local use

Stanton highlights the fact that the Leave Management System is designed specifically around South Africa’s unique public holiday structure. “Many other automated leave systems are created overseas, and do not take local public holidays into account. Our system is fully compliant with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and also recognises each public holiday while accounting for the country’s unique ‘Monday’ holidays, which occur when the actual public holiday falls on a Sunday.”

According toStanton, the Leave Management System is also able to swiftly identify any patterns related to sick leave, and alerts managers via email of the exact date that an employee is due back at work. “Many paper-based systems are prone to human error, and employees often return to work a day later than the agreed date without the knowledge of management, which can prove to be costly in the long-term.”

Stanton adds that the system provides managers with all the necessary information to make informed decisions based on an individual employee’s leave requests, while significantly reducing the time and overhead costs involved with traditional administration. “The Leave Management System also benefits employees, who are provided with instant access to application forms, leave records and audit logs, thereby ensuring complete transparency.”

No upfront costs

Each company that adopts the Leave Management System is provided with its own dedicated URL. Stanton adds: “Employees and managers simply have to provide their log-in details on the domain page to gain access to the system, where they can upload various documents such as sick notes, which can be written into reports before being exported to Excel or PDF documents.”

The Leave Management System officially went live in January 2012 following two years of development and pilot testing. “The Leave Management System involves no upfront costs, and clients pay for the service on a monthly basis, and are not bound by any contracts. What’s more, we offer a free 30 day trial period, where prospective clients have the opportunity to experience the benefits of the system first-hand, without any obligation of payment,” Stanton concludes.

The monthly administration fee of the Leave Management System is just R250, excluding VAT, for up to 50 users. For larger companies, an additional R3 per employee is charged. Companies with less than five users qualify to receive the system free-of-charge. For more information visit www.webleave.co.za

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Opportunity For All Digital Entrepreneurs To Take Start-up To The Next Level

Entrepreneurs developing digital solutions on the African continent are invited to apply to the next Venture Incubation Programme – a partnership between telecommunications giant, MTN and the Solution Space based at the UCT Graduate School of Business.

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The Solution Space, at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) is looking for 10 digital ventures to participate in the upcoming Winter School Venture Incubation Programme (VIP), which begins in September.

“This is an opportunity for innovation-driven entrepreneurs who are working on digital solutions to take their business to the next level,” says Sarah-Anne Alman, Manager at the Solution Space.

“The early-stages of a start-up are so critical and often the least supported time in the life-cycle of a start-up. We aim for maximum impact at this stage and for start-ups to leave our incubator with a thorough understanding of the fundamentals required for a viable solution.”

Run over 3 months with sponsorship and mentorship support from MTN, the Venture Incubation Programme provides participants with R300 000 worth of support. This consists of mentorship, advisory services, access to investor and corporate networks and workshops on business fundamentals such as marketing strategy and business model development. The programme has helped over 30 start-ups over the past two years.

Related: Entrepreneurship Is All About Overcoming Obstacles

MTN has shown significant investment in the start-up ecosystem on the continent and this incubation programme is a key platform for the company to engage with the latest emerging startups working on digital solutions that address broad-based needs across Africa. Stephen van Coller, MTN Group VP: Digital services, Data analytics & Business Development says.

“At MTN we are committed to driving the development of a bold new digital world. MTN’s dedicated teams are highly active in this Venture Incubation Programme to provide a strong connection between the startups developing the latest digital solutions and the expertise and resources existing within MTN”.

According to Kamogelo Kekana, co-founder of Akiba Digital, a mobile application for financial services and a current participant of the VIP Summer School, the programme really helps set up entrepreneurs for success.

“One big benefit is how the programme integrates you into the Cape Town start-up ecosystem.”

For fellow participant Rufaro Masiiwa, who is with Mkwereti, a data analytics platform for the agricultural sector, a highlight has been being challenged to test risky assumptions about business models early on during the 5 day design sprint. “There is so much access to a wealth of support and business acumen, as well as legal, financial and marketing help on the programme,” she says.

The programme also offers entrepreneurs an invaluable opportunity to connect with other start-ups on the same journey says Dhanyal Davidson, from the Digest, a financial media start-up for millennials as well as Prospa, a savings solution for low-income earning South Africans. “It keeps your energy high and gives you a sounding board when faced with both mental blocks and tough decisions.”

These and other start-ups who are participating in the VIP Summer School will showcase their business models at a Demo Day on 26 June 2018. “The event is designed to give them an opportunity to present to investors and corporate partners. It is also a chance for potential participants to come and have a look at what the programme is all about,” says Shiela Yabo, Co-ordinator at the Solution Space.

Related: Going It Alone In Business? 5 Reasons That’s A Really Bad Idea

Yabo adds that since the inception of the VIP programme two years ago, the standard of the programme continues to go up, with the level of entrepreneurs joining being also very impressive. To qualify, start-ups must be working towards building a sustainable Africa through digital solutions, be committed to their business full-time, and be a team of at least two members.

“We focus on the early stage of the development process. Our aim is to get a business model validated and to see what is needed to turn it into a startup that is sustainable and scalable,” says Yabo. The programme is aiming to reach innovators in Fintech, IoT, Edtech, Agtech, e-commerce, entertainment and gaming as well as Healthtech.

Yabo adds, “One of the strongest aspects of the programme is connecting people within the right industry to networks for mutually beneficial relationships and collaborations. In many instances, that in itself, has been a major stepping stone to success for these participants.”

For more information or to apply to the VIP Winter School Programme visit http://gsbsolutionspace.uct.ac.za. Applications close on 1 July 2018.

To RSVP for the Demo Day: http://bit.ly/VIPSS18DemoDay

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Digital Learning Game Breaks Entrepreneurial Barriers Among SA Youth

Schools around the country invited to enlist pupils to join the exciting 2018 Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge.

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Fostering a culture of entrepreneurship among the country’s youth is the key to reducing high levels of unemployment. This insight prompted the development of the Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge (AGEC), which aims to directly address unemployment using entrepreneurship as a vehicle for change, by cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship among high school learners and nurturing an entrepreneurial mind-set using gamification.

“To help grow the economy and move the country forward, South Africa needs more entrepreneurs. Yet, being a successful entrepreneur is not as easy as it seems. This Challenge exposes learners to the skills and outlook they will need to start their entrepreneurial journey and ultimately make a positive contribution to the country and the economy,” says Anthony Selley, Head of Gameplay at AGEC.

Currently in its second year, AGEC was established by long-term investment company Allan Gray and the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation – a foundation committed to investing in the education and development of individuals with entrepreneurial potential in Southern Africa for the past ten years.

Related: 10 Young Entrepreneurs Under 30 Share Their Start-Up Secrets

According to Selley, the six-week Challenge, available on mobile and web app will run from 1 August – 12 September.

“The Challenge uses digital learning to instil a culture of entrepreneurship in the minds of grades 8-12 learners. Furthermore, it educates learners on how best to act and think like entrepreneurs, while delivering a series of micro-challenges, which allows learners to apply new knowledge or concepts in real-world situations.”

Though entrepreneurship education has been on the rise, our understanding of entrepreneurship is limited and is not broadly defined. As such, the Challenge seeks to broaden the understanding of entrepreneurship amongst youth and highlight opportunities that youth can exploit.

New themes are introduced as part of the micro-challenges each week and learner performance is measured using a points system. Selley says more complex challenges are worth more points, but to reach the difficult phases, candidates need to pass the easy ones first. This year’s Challenges will be assessed using rubric-driven peer reviews conducted by participating students, moderated by teachers and fed into the scoring system. The accumulated points place the learner, their class and their school on a series of live leader boards.

The 2018 Challenge themes

  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Transport
  • Health
  • Sustainability
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Blockchain

Selley adds that AGEC was developed in-line with the demands of the 21st century and the Fourth Industrial Revolution – an era marked by emerging technology breakthroughs in a number of fields including robotics, artificial intelligence and blockchain.

During each challenge, participants will be exposed to a range of mind-sets, habits and concepts for entrepreneurs, as well to some of the latest tech developments. This process allows learners to re-imagine themselves and the world around them through experiential problem-solving learning.

Related: Funding And Resources For Young SA Entrepreneurs

“We believe that entrepreneurs are created and nurtured and the Challenge provides an opportunity to use new methods of encouraging as well as cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset in youth regardless of their chosen path.  We see AGEC as a platform to nurture and inspire young entrepreneurs from various socio-economic backgrounds. It’s an opportunity for these youngsters to experience what entrepreneurship is about, and the great value that lies in it as a powerful vehicle for change in our country,” he notes.

One hundred schools, 4 500 pupils and 300 teachers participated in the 2017 Challenge. To-date, 200 schools have confirmed entry for the upcoming Challenge and more than 15 000 learner participants are expected.

Learner registration opens on 1 July 2018. For more information on how to enter visit www.entrepreneurshipchallenge.co.za. Entry is free and open to any and all learners and schools across the country.

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South Africa Matters: In Good Company 2018 Conference

Hosted by Nation Builder.

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The In Good Company conference, hosted by Nation Builder, is taking place on 21 August 2018 at the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria. The theme for this year is: South Africa matters.  

The fourth annual In Good Company conference will show how South African business is helping fix social problems with innovative social investment solutions.

The conference conversations will explore home-grown ideas that solve local challenges in creative and sustainable ways. The speakers will highlight local social innovation solutions to fuel new, creative ways of doing business. The day will bring together businesses of varying sizes that are committed to lead social change in South Africa.

A wealth of inspiring, local, talented people who tackle complex social challenges, and succeed, will share practical lessons, useful insights, and new ideas. Together, companies and communities are rewriting South Africa’s narrative, for good.

Please visit the conference website for more information on the programme, which includes speakers like Dr Graeme Codrington (founding director of TomorrowToday), Mark Sham (founder and CEO of Suits & Sneakers, and of the Impello Incubation Hub), Carolin Gomulia (Senior Programme Head: Strategy, Fundraising, Communications and Advocacy – Institute for Justice and Reconciliation), Brent Lindeque (Good Things Guy), and many more coming soon. Dr Michael Mol will again be the MC.

Related: Watch List: 20 SA Tech Entrepreneurs Making It Big In The Industry

In Good Company 2018 is sponsored by Mergon, King Price Insurance, BrandSA and Stone Communication & Consulting.

WHAT TO EXPECT:

  • Top local speakers sharing knowledge and practical expertise from their fields
  • Real world examples of innovative business solutions to local challenges
  • Networking with a community of like-minded business leaders
  • Ideas on how to best help improve the well-being of South Africans through social investment

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: 

  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Board Members
  • Senior Management
  • Corporate Social Investors
  • Enterprise Development Experts
  • Scenario Planners
  • Transformation Officers
  • Social and Ethics Committee Members
  • Company Secretaries
  • Anyone wanting to use their business to mobilise social upliftment in South Africa.

Delegates can register now online. The cost of early bird tickets is R1 300 per person (until 15 June), whereafter the tickets will be R1 800.

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