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Curro Entrepreneurship Competition Winners Burn Brightly

Teams from across South Africa competed in Curro’s annual national inter-school Entrepreneurship Competition, with the winning team announced at an event held yesterday at Curro Mount Richmore in KwaZulu-Natal.





A good education must not only provide students with the fundamentals, but also nurture the youth’s entrepreneurial spirit. And for a number of learners at Curro schools, the entrepreneurial flame seems to be burning brightly.

Teams from across South Africa competed in Curro’s annual national inter-school Entrepreneurship Competition, with the winning team announced at an event held yesterday at Curro Mount Richmore in KwaZulu-Natal.

After a tough day of business presentations and workshops, the Wax House team from St Dominics Newcastle were crowned champions. Their innovative candle-making kit, which allows one to reuse the wax from burnt candles, garnered much praise from the judges. The product is seen as being especially useful in rural and low-income households, with the company headed by Minette Janse van Vuuren and supported by Omera Ramdharee and Natasha Friend, who are all currently grade nine learners.

Related: Debunking The 5 Biggest Myths Of Entrepreneurship

Not only does each member of the team walk away with a R1 000 cash prize and a power bank, but also marketing and branding expertise and assistance from the Curro Design Lab. The lab will assist in perfecting the team’s corporate identity, marketing material and social media presence. All five teams received a 45 minute mentorship session with the judges to discuss their business plans and glean insight from the panel’s astute knowledge.

Competition participants had to conceptualise a new venture and then submit a full business plan for evaluation, complete with information such as start-up costs, competition analysis and future growth opportunities. With 38 business plans submitted by more than 120 learners from 18 Curro schools, 11 teams made it through to the semi-finals, with only five teams eventually reaching the finals.


The Wax House team members, Minette Janse Van Vuuren (left) and Natasha Friend (right), present their business plan to the panel of finely selected judges at Curro’s national inter-school Entrepreneurship Competition.

Minette Janse van Vuuren, leader of the Wax House team, relates that a power outage at home led to the idea of recycling candles.

“We were burning candles at home and a thought popped up, ‘What if we can use a candle twice?’” From there the idea for a candle-making kit grew, with the team burning the midnight oil working on their business plan.

The judges for the event were specially selected, consisting of Dr Ria du Plessis, MD of Jika Communications & Training; Adv Erin Richards, also a social entrepreneur; and seasoned entrepreneur Jamie Wyngaard, Director and Founder of The Agency.

Alta Greeff, Head of Research, Development and Innovation at Curro Holdings, was also on the panel. She believes the competition is crucial in establishing entrepreneurial fundamentals in learners. “It’s a brilliant opportunity for learners, whether they do business science or not, to have a platform where they can present a business idea to a panel of experts and get relevant input on what they can do to make it happen,” she notes.

Dr Du Plessis states South African learners are more risk averse than their international counterparts, but that competitions such as this enable them to understand the principles behind entrepreneurship. “Our goal is to push the learners a bit to take risks, to be a bit more daring. The Entrepreneurship Competition is vital in engaging learners’ critical thinking, problem solving skills and resilience,” she says.

One of the members of last year’s winning team is Richard Parry, now in grade 12, whose Grassroots iKhusi Project aimed to distribute sleeping bags made from recycled material to the homeless and poor. He believes the Curro Entrepreneurial competition proved to be immensely valuable, setting the course for the majority of his team to venture into business studies at university next year. After a number of television and newspaper appearances, the team is in discussions to take the project further next year, after finishing matric.

Greeff is adamant that entrepreneurial skills are what is necessary to thrive in the future. “With the threat of automation and certain jobs simply disappearing, learning what it takes to actually create jobs is essential. Curro’s Entrepreneurship Competition encourages learners to think differently and prepares them for what is lying ahead.” she concludes.

Related: 4 Hacks To Overcome The Struggles Of A Running A Small Biz

The other four finalists of the 2017 Curro Entrepreneurial Competition were:

1MOM – Curro Klerksdorp

For high school learners trying to juggle a busy schedule of homework, tests and extracurricular activities, time management should be top of mind. It is for this reason that the MOM app was developed, helping learners plan their day in order to achieve higher marks and still benefit from an eight-hour night of rest. The MOM team consists of Shaina Gossayn, Uzair Adam, Daniel Chedrawi and Tiago Silva.

2Melanin Sun Care – St Dominics Newcastle

Melanin Sun Care is an organic sunscreen made from natural ingredients. Unlike other sunscreens, Melanin Sun Care maintains your original skin tone when basking in the sun. Members of the team are Virna Makhudu, Zifiso Khumalo and Andile Kunene.

3Waiter Buzzer – St Dominics Newcastle

Ever tried to get the attention of a busy (or indolent) waiter? The Restaurant Accessories team solved this problem with the Waiter Buzzer, that directly notifies your waiter that you need his/her attention. Push the button at your table and your waiter is notified via a special wrist watch. The team consists of Sibongakonke Mbhele, Deah Oriee and Tally Lou.

4Hydro Wave – Curro Hazeldean College

Imagine being able to generate energy while drinking water from a bottle. Hydro Wave places a little hydroelectric turbine in your water bottle, which generates power that is saved to a battery. Afterwards it can be used to recharge your smartphone or other devices. The team behind the idea comprises Alysha Gurnell, Michela Graham, Phathu Matshidza and Tshego Bashele.

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Entrepreneur Today

3 Stealthy Tax Hikes Payroll Managers And Employees Need To Take Note Of

By Rob Cooper, tax expert at Sage, and chairman of the Payroll Authors Group of South Africa





“Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.” 

The adage summarises the difficult decisions government and the Finance Minister faced when balancing the country’s books, rescuing state-owned enterprises, and reviving the growth of our economy. Given the economic pressure that most taxpayers are facing, government ideally needed to achieve all of that without direct increases to personal income tax in the most recent Budget Speech.

Personal income tax has comprised at least a third of South Africa’s total tax revenue in recent tax years, despite growing unemployment. The 2019 Budget, presented in February, forecasts that personal income tax will account for nearly 39% of tax collected during the upcoming (2019/20) tax year. Given that we are in an election year and that the tax base is fragile, it’s not surprising that the Finance Minister and the National Treasury avoided direct increases to the statutory tax tables used to calculate PAYE for employees in the budget.

Nonetheless, government has made inflation work in its favour to impose some tax increases by stealth. Here are three ways government is raising more revenue without direct tax increases:

1. Bracket creep

The statutory tax tables used by payrolls and employers have not been changed for 2019/20, nor have the brackets been adjusted for inflation. This effectively amounts to an indirect tax increase that will yield a revenue saving of approximately R12.8 billion for government’s coffers.

It is not unusual for government to use ‘bracket creep’ to effectively raise more revenue. But unlike previous tax years, even low- and middle-income earners are not getting much relief. Rebates and the tax threshold are being increased by small amounts to allow some relief, but many people this year will feel the pain as inflationary salary increases push them into a higher tax bracket.

2. Medical aid credit not adjusted for inflation 

As proposed in the 2018 Budget, the Finance Minister did not apply an inflationary increase to the Medical Tax Credit, which allowed him to raise an extra R1 billion in revenue for the year. Surprisingly, these funds will be allocated to general tax revenue rather than ring-fenced for healthcare. In previous tax years, revenue generated from below-inflation increases on medical scheme credits was used to fund National Health Insurance (NHI) pilot projects.

There is still no clarity on how the NHI is going to be funded except for a general statement that the funding model is a problem for the National Treasury to solve, and that the principles of cross-subsidisation will apply. One wonders if any real progress will be made soon, given the fiscal constraints government faces.

3. Business travel deduction left untouched

The Budget leaves the per-kilometre cost rates used to determine tax deductions for business travel untouched. By not increasing travel rates to account for inflation, government effectively increases income tax collection at the cost of the taxpayer. This will be a blow for people who need to claim from their employers for business travel in their personal vehicles. This change has slipped through largely unnoticed and the budget does not provide numbers for the expected increase in tax revenue.

Closing words

Amid political turmoil and uncertainty, the Finance Minister presented a balanced budget for 2019/20 that offers hope for the future along with some tough love. With government taking steps to accelerate economic growth and improve revenue collection, we should hopefully see a steady improvement in government finances, which will translate into less pressure on the taxpayer in future years.

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Entrepreneur Today

SMEs: Staying On The Right Side Of The Taxman

Remaining SARS compliant can be a constant challenge for small- to medium-enterprises (SMEs), especially when they are trying to focus on growing their businesses and streamlining their operations.





EasyBiz Managing Director, Gary Epstein, says submitting taxes can be a seamless process that does not have to take up more time than is necessary. “If business owners understand what is required of them and they put a few processes into place to deal with their tax submissions properly, their lives will be so much easier.”

What are the top three considerations for SMEs when submitting tax returns?

“Firstly,” says Epstein, “SARS returns must be accurate and submitted in terms of the relevant Act. Secondly, returns should be submitted and paid on time to avoid unnecessary penalties and interest, and thirdly, business owners must follow up on queries issued by SARS. “Do not ignore these queries, act on them as soon as possible”.

What are the major SARS submission deadlines for SMEs?

Epstein points out that small business owners need to adhere to various tax deadlines, each with their own particular dates for submission. “It is important that business owners diarise the dates (and set advance reminders for themselves) and/or enlist the services of an accountant or financial adviser to help them keep abreast of requirements.”

Value-added tax (VAT)

VAT payments need to be submitted in the VAT period allocated to the business, according to various categories and ending on the last day of a calendar month. This may mean making payments once a month, once every two months, once every six months or annually, depending on the category.

Provisional taxes

Provisional tax should be submitted at the end of August (first provisional) and at the end of February (second provisional) – for February year-end companies.

Employee taxes

In addition to submitting an annual reconciliation (EMP501) for the period 1 March to end of February for Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), Skills Development Levy (SDL) and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), employee tax, in the form of an EMP201 return, needs to be submitted by the seventh of every month.

When can SMEs get extensions and is it worth it?

Epstein says SMEs can apply for various extensions, but these are subject to the Income Tax Act and Tax Administration Act.

“It is best for SMEs to consult their tax professionals to get advice regarding extensions for their businesses.”

What is SARS not flexible about?

SARS is not flexible when it comes to late returns and late payments.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for SME owners to ensure their tax returns are submitted on time. In this way, they will avoid the inconvenience and expense of additional fines and interest,” notes Epstein.

What skills do SMEs need in their organisations to be able to submit to SARS efficiently?

Business owners often don’t have the time or expertise to deal with tax submissions throughout the year. If the business cannot afford to employ a full-time accountant or financial services expert, it would do well to outsource its tax requirements to a registered tax practitioner.

“I would recommend that even if they are not submitting the tax returns themselves, business owners should have a broad understanding of the tax regulations and what is expected of them. There is a lot of helpful information on the various Acts and tax requirements on SARS’ website,” says Epstein.

How does the right software help SMEs remain SARS compliant?

SME’s (and their accountants’) jobs can be made easier by using reliable accounting software to calculate accurate VAT reports. These reports are only as accurate as the data entered into them, which means care needs to be taken when inputting data into the accounting programme. Epstein says a good accounting software package must be reliable, easy to use and functional.

“SMEs need to check that the software has thorough reporting capabilities and can interface with other software solutions. Of course, it is also important to find out whether the software is locally supported by the vendor or not.”

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Entrepreneur Today

4 Dangers Of Business Under-insurance

A common short-term insurance peril that many SMEs face when submitting a claim following an insured event is the risk of being underinsured.





Malesela Maupa, Head of Products and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers says, many small business owners mistakenly believe that by merely having a short-term insurance policy in place they are adequately protected against unforeseen events.

“This is technically correct provided that the business is covered for the full replacement value of the items insured. However, in circumstances where the sum insured does not cover the full replacement value or material loss of the item insured, the business is underinsured,” explains Maupa, as he unpacks the dangers of business underinsurance:

1. Financial loss

The most common risk is financial loss on the part of the business. If the business is underinsured or the indemnity period understated, the short-term insurance policy will only pay out the sum insured for the stated indemnity period as stated in the schedule, with the business owner having to provide for the shortfall. This often leads to cash flow challenges, impacting profit margins or rendering it difficult for the business to recover following the financial loss.

2. Reputational damage

Should an underinsured business not have sufficient funds to replace a key business activity or critical component following a loss, this may impact its ability to fulfil its contractual obligations, leading to a loss of business or market share, and irreparable reputational damage in the worst-case scenario.

3. Legal action

A small business also faces the risk of customers or clients taking legal action against it, should it fail to deliver on goods and services following a loss or be unable to honour its financial commitments that they committed to prior to the loss.

4. Survival of the business

A catastrophic event such as fire, which could result in the loss of stock or company equipment and documentation, could threaten the survival of a small business that is not yet fully established, if the business assets are not adequately insured.

Working with an experienced short-term insurance broker or insurer is essential when taking up short-term insurance to ensure that business contents are covered for their full replacement value.

Furthermore, depending on the nature of the business or item insured, the policy should be reviewed on a regular basis to avoid underinsurance as the value of items often change overtime due to fluctuations in economic activity. Where it’s necessary, evaluation certificates need to be kept up to date.

“Lastly, SMEs should ensure that the sum insured does not exceed the replacement value, which would lead to over insurance. Should a business submit a claim following a loss, the insurer would only pay out the replacement value, regardless of the higher sum insured,” concludes Maupa.

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