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Corporates Support Local Schools

16 companies have joined Cyril Ramaphosa in going ‘back to school’.





Chairman of the Adopt-a-School Foundation, Cyril Ramaphosa walked the talk when he took time out of his schedule to go back to school today in support of the Foundation’s pilot Back to School For a Day initiative.

Ramaphosa first issued the call for a national Back to School For a Day at an Adopt-a-School fundraiser in November last year, where he encouraged corporate South Africa and individuals to play a positive role in the basic education of our youth.

On Friday, 4 May, some 16 companies and hundreds of volunteers heeded that call and descended on 51 selected schools around the country to touch the lives of over 25 000 pupils in what is a pilot of the Back to School For a Day initiative.

Foundation roots

Ramaphosa elected to visit Tshilidzi Primary, the school he attended as a young boy in Soweto. He addressed Tshilidzi’s Grade 7 learners on the importance of learning and getting an education.  Besides being his alma mater, it was a simple request from the Tshilidzi Primary principal many years ago for assistance with a fax machine that ultimately lead Ramaphosa to establish the Adopt-a-School Foundation in 2001.

Run as a project of the Shanduka Foundation, the Adopt-a-School Foundation aims to bring about effective change in education through its Whole School Development model, which involves infrastructure, skills and social development interventions and partnerships between adopters, sponsors, community, government and disadvantaged schools.

Stephen Lebere, executive director of the Adopt-a-School Foundation, was set to visit a number of schools around Gauteng with some of the Foundation’s corporate supporters.

“There is an urgent need for a combined effort from the private sector, NGOs and the public sector to address some of the crippling shortfalls in our education system. This need was recently reiterated by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, at a conference for Mandela Day 2012,” Lebere noted.

Promoting literacy

Ramaphosa confirmed that the theme for the inaugural Back to School day was the Promotion of Literacy and corporates had committed to covering a broad range of elements in their programmes such as health and nutrition, social skills, career guidance, reading and story-telling.

“The companies and their staff joining us across the country today are truly vested in the education of our children. You can see it and feel it in the way they have embraced this day.

“And when an adult walks into a school to offer their time and resources, the students feel recognised. Going back is about giving back and that is what is important about today,” Ramaphosa commented.

“We hope that in future many South Africans will make the first Friday in May the day that they go back to school to transform the lives of young people through the sharing of time, compassion, skills, knowledge and different resources. This is an opportunity to make a lasting impact on learners, particularly at disadvantaged school,” he added.

Who went back to school?

  • Barberton Mines executives and staff are visiting Sibongiseni Primary, the all new school they are currently building in Barberton. The local community, parents, school governing body and learners from surrounding schools will come together to plant trees, clean up the newly built Grade R Facility and enjoy a day of developmental activities.
  • Coca-Cola Shanduka Beverages staff volunteers are joining Thabo Tona Primary in Katlehong informal settlement, where they will engage in a host of literacy programmes for all grades.
  • The Deutsche Bank team are visiting Observatory Girls Primary in Johannesburg, to engage with educators and learners in activities designed to add value to the literacy programmes held at the school. Volunteers are donating puzzles, games and books to the school’s library.
  • Digistics, a national multi-temperature warehousing and distribution company, have partnered with the Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD), of the University  of Johannesburg to visit Emadwaleni Secondary School in Orlando,Soweto to offer support and guidance around subject and career choices and tertiary education options.
  • FeverTreeConsulting is donating new books and educational games to Boschkop Primary, a farm school east of Pretoria. Staff volunteers have adopted the theme “If you want to be smart, put reading in your heart” and through carefully structured activities are looking forward to an outcome that celebrates the power of reading and literacy.
  • Grindrod staff will be visiting their adopted school, King Shaka High, in Umlazi, KZN, where they will engage in HIV/Aids discussions, career guidance and a talk on the importance of maths, science and accounting.
  • The IDC team are donating a furnished Grade R container to Emfundisweni Junior Primary in Alexandra and will spend time practicing reading and writing skills with the learners.
  • Kangra Coal’s staff and executive team will be visiting their adopted School, Vukubone High School in Mpumalanga to share career guidance for the mining industry, engage in motivational and leadership activities for the learners and donate clothing and jersy’s to keep the learner’s warm this coming winter.
  • Lafarge Education Trust has engaged board members, trustees, directors and staff to go back to a number of their adopted schools inNorth West and KZN. In the Bodibe community in North West they are visiting four schools to engage in environmental literacy activities, literacy games, career guidance and life orientation workshops.  Following the morning’s activities, Lafarge are hosting a community awards ceremony, honouring those who have achieved and shown strong commitment to improving education in their community. In their adopted schools in Mzimela, KZN staff and trustees have committed to improving literacy through reading and educator support.
  • Lonmin, in the spirit of supporting critical focus areas in basic education, will be providing workshops and donating technology kits to 28 schools.  Local students from the Technical Preparedness Programme, will join Lonmin in going Back to School to do technology experiments with each school.  Reading books will be supplied to foundation phase educators and all Technology and English educators will be trained on materials supplied.
  • MacSteel’s team of professionals have joined Moses MorenTechnicalSchool in Eikenhof, to share their valuable knowledge and skills of the steel industry and to provide essential advice on how to pursue careers in the technical sector.
  • Merrill Lynch is celebrating their commitment to improving literacy at Elethu Themba Combined School in Eikenhof, through planned activities to engage learners in a fun and meaningful way.  Educational games will delight the younger learners, while high school learners will benefit from career guidance and CV writing skills. LifeLine will provide talks on drug abuse and depression.
  • OMD staff volunteers are visiting Fairsands Primary, in Sandringham,Johannesburg to engage with learners and educators on literacy upskilling across all levels.
  • Sasria staff and partners are giving of their time to motivate, guide and assist learners in making essential career choices at Lodirile High School in Swaneville.
  • Shanduka Coal staff are going back to school at Mkhathini Intermediate to get their hands dirty as they get stuck into improving basic conditions at the school.
  • Shanduka Group and Shanduka Foundation Staff will be assisting the various companies in this pilot programme, sharing their experiences and volunteering their time and resources where it is needed.
  • Werksmans Attorneys are dedicating their time and resources to Igugu Primary School in Soweto, where staff will give the library a mini makeover and assist in improving conditions in and around the school where required.
  • Xstrata volunteers are visiting Mochochonono Primary in Pimville,Soweto, to engage in stimulating games and activities with the youngest learners and creative arts and gardening activities with the older learners to decorate their school’s exterior.

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Entrepreneur Today

5 Things SME’s Need To Be Thinking About In 2018

In 2018, small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) will be looking for a glimpse of inspiration to chart a new growth path and scale their businesses. This is off the back of a tough 2017 and previous years which have inhibited the growth of local SMEs.





In 2018, small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) will be looking for a glimpse of inspiration to chart a new growth path and scale their businesses. This is off the back of a tough 2017 and previous years which have inhibited the growth of local SMEs.

Jesse Weinberg, Head of the SME Customer Segment at FNB Business says “Small business success becomes a monumental task when there’s arguably very little to no real economic growth overall. However every challenge presents an opportunity, and in South Africa, not only are we fortunate to consistently have SME development as a key objective on the national government agenda, but most corporates are also  hungry to shift spend to smaller businesses as part of the procurement policies.”

Weinberg says as 2018 begins in earnest, there are some important insights that business owners should consider in order to grow their businesses.

The digital economy is in full swing

SME’s that are comfortably operating without adopting digital technology in their business will likely be outperformed by their competitors unless they adapt to the current reality. Across the globe, consumers and businesses are rapidly migrating services to digital channels for its sheer efficiency, convenience and scalability. This includes basic elements like digitising accounting processes with software, through to using social media to campaign to customers.

If you’re ever unsure where to start, start by observing your customers and listening carefully to how they expect to be dealing with a business like yours – you can’t go wrong by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and then reflecting on your business through their eyes.

Related: 4 Unique Marketing Ideas For SMEs On A Budget

Expect little to no help from the economy

The Word Bank recently predicted that SA will grow at roughly 1.1% in 2018 and while this is not cast in stone, it’s a relatively firm indicator that SME’s will have to do the hard yards to engineer any form of business growth. The focus should thus mainly be on differentiating your business, products or services from your competitors through marketing or even innovation if possible.

Maximise your banking relationship

Banks are investing a lot of time to understand the needs of businesses and have some of the tools to help SME’s run efficiently. The relationship should not be only be limited to just banking. With the multitude of rewards and value-add services offering by most banks, with just a bit of time spent understanding the offerings, great value can be derived for you and your business. Examples of these offered by FNB include eBucks rewards, free Instant Accounting software and CIPC registration services.

‘Think Local, Act Global’

Your business may be based in South Africa but its potential to scale shouldn’t be hampered by your location. In other words, be open to the opportunity of growing your business beyond South African shores, especially if your service or product has universal appeal and relevance. With global marketplaces such as Alibaba and AirBnB, the world market has never been more accessible and easier to do business with.

Related: SchoemanLaw Shakes Up The Legal Industry To The Benefits Of SMEs

Avoid the race to the bottom

Market forces continue to show that consumers aren’t only focused on the cheapest product or service despite the tough economic conditions. These days offering great service will build trust and loyalty with customers and keep them coming back. If you combine this with good quality, accessible products and services you will generally have an edge over your competitors offering the same or similar products and services.

“Even though 2018 is unlikely to come with an SME development boom, a solid homegrown business can still grow sustainably. More than ever, business owners need to arm themselves with as much information and insights as they can to grow their businesses or even reduce the risk of total business failure. With South Africa’s level of unemployment showing little to no signs of reduction, we need to sustain the spotlight on growing our SME sector and offering as much support to it as possible. SME’s represent one of the most effective ways to create employment in local communities, especially if these businesses find ways to trade with customers beyond their normal operating territories.” says Weinberg.

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Entrepreneur Today

Surge In South Africans Swopping Their Cars For Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.





The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.

As South Africans are itching to get their hands on the digital currency, there’s been an increase in swops and bitcoin-only sales on, says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Core at Gumtree. “This is particularly true for high-value items like cars, bikes and boats. Many sellers are willing to take a gamble with their assets in hopes of a large pay-out.”

This is on trend with other marketplaces. In the United States a McLaren 720S was put up for sale in exchange for 25 bitcoin, a theoretical value of $425,000.

Related: 11 Things You Need To Know About Bitcoin

While Gumtree does not allow for the sale of bitcoin miners or services, Cobbledick says that customers can exchange goods for bitcoin on the site, but should be fully aware of the risks. “Bitcoin is a volatile currency, so while you could easily see a 50% increase in your investment, you could just as easily end up with nothing. It’s up to the seller to decide if they are willing and able to take a gamble.”

Some cars currently up for sale in exchange for bitcoin includes a Land Rover Defender, BMW X5 and a rare 1970 Mercury Cougar V8.

“There are also a few other sellers accepting bitcoin in exchange for Kruger Rands,” says Cobbledick. “Perhaps proving that gold as a store of value is falling out of vogue.”

But the most unusual swop would have to go to an entrepreneurial seller who is offering carnivorous plants in exchange for the cryptocurrency.

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Entrepreneur Today

Zando Sold 80 Items A Minute During Black Friday – By Doing This

Black Friday has brought immense success for numerous local online retailers – reflecting the potential of e-commerce in South Africa. Why not learn from Zando’s success in 2017 to ensure your success during the 2018 Black Friday sales season?





For South African e-retailers, Black Friday is a big sales event. But you need to ensure you’re prepared for the web traffic and that your e-commerce store can handle the logistics of thousands of orders.

zando-sascha-breussAccording to Zando, they experience 100% up-time during Black Friday and less than a week after the season sales event, 95% of customer orders have already been shipped.

To help fellow e-tailers perform better next year, Zando’s CEO, Sascha Breuss answers some key questions about the company’s preparations and learnings around Black Friday:

1. How did you encourage greater sales on Black Friday?

Over the last few years Black Friday has developed a following in South Africa, so we benefitted from the existing hype around it. We didn’t focus too much on upfront marketing, but put our energy into flawless execution and of course great deals for the customers.

Related: The Evolution Of Retail: From Corner Store To Artificial Intelligence

2. How much planning went into ensuring your store platform ran at optimum?

The real ‘hot phase’ started with the first day of November when our IT department went into a ‘feature freeze’ and we focused 100% on site-stability and scalability.

We went through some intense testing of our site with loads up to 15 times the average daily amount of visitors. So, when the actual day came, we were confident in our systems.

3. How were you able to successfully co-ordinate logistics during Black Friday?

Early preparation and experience from past years have been the key to success. We increased our head count in both Warehouse and Customer Service well in advance so that we could rely on well-trained and experienced colleagues come Black Friday.

4. How did you ensure a seamless experience between your website and your app?

We know that our customers are browsing Zando on all platforms, desktop, mobile and app so we implemented some handy features to make the transition between each platform easier. For example, shared baskets and wish lists are now a feature. Some of the deals however have been app-only and sometimes we reward our app users with early access to shop the best deals. So it is definitely worth it to download our app.

Related: How SA’s Online Retailers Can Cash In On Black Friday Fever

5. How did you scale your entire operation for a single event?

This is easy to summarise in one word – TEAMWORK. The Zando staff did an amazing job and were the backbone of our success. Not only did they put the required extra hours in and worked hard until the job was done, but they also showed real team-spirit. When you called our Customer Service during Black Friday it’s very possible that you spoke to someone in our HR, Social Media or Legal team who helped out answering calls.

6. How did your marketing campaign affect traffic on your platforms?

The most surprising element was probably the high volume of traffic that we saw during the night. Visits started to increase every minute before midnight and during the first two hours of the day we saw peaks that were higher than on our strongest week day. This traffic never dropped with a lot of orders being placed between 2am and 3am on Black Friday.

7. How did your technology systems handle the influx of shopper traffic?

In the build up to Black Friday we added additional server capacity and changed the way we handled the flow of traffic. This made us very flexible to switch on additional capacity wherever required. So it was a combination of intensive preparation, close monitoring and ultimately very little sleep for a couple of days to ensure we monitored our system health 24 hours a day.

8. What was your sales strategy?

For us everything that had a discount of 40%-80%, and was still a relevant and recent look, qualified for Black Friday 2017. Once these criteria were fulfilled we made sure that we had sufficient stock available – in some cases the demand was so high that we brought on additional stock from our suppliers during the Black Friday weekend.

Related: 5 Last-Minute Tips For Small Retailers To Boost Black Friday Sales

9. What were your biggest learnings?

We have been very successful in our approach to remain true to the idea of Black Friday – offering great deals on relevant product and not outdated clearance ranges. The customer is very educated and will identify a good deal, and we have seen consumers’ negative comments on stores who used Black Friday solely as a warehouse clearance opportunity.

10. What surprised you about Zando’s success during Black Friday?

Thanks to extensive preparation we have been able to achieve an uptime of 100% for the full month of November. We also kept the deliveries and returns 100% free regardless of discount or basket size. It seems like our customers appreciated this approach and we have actually seen very positive sales numbers after Black Friday while we expected a drop. I believe the full focus and investment on the Customer Experience has worked for us.

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