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Future Proofing Children In The Western Cape

Through entrepreneurial education.

Jason Newmark

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The education system in South Africa is responsible for preparing children to build successful lives.  They should be prepared for the wide range of possibilities that lie ahead of them. There are many who believe that entrepreneurship is a trait that you are born with and that it can’t be taught.  This is simply not true.

Most schools nowadays teach Business Studies, Business Management or Economics to students. The sad reality though, is that while this subject does indeed focus on the ins and outs of starting and managing a business, it does not teach our ambitious young children and teenagers what it really means to be an entrepreneur. It does not teach them which of their personality traits and characteristics they should be aiming to hone in on. They don’t learn about the experiences and failures of ‘first hand’ entrepreneurs – all our coaches are entrepreneurs themselves and running their own businesses, with some success and some failure – who believe it or not, not all performed actually well at school!  Or how to look for problems as opportunities and that a business can be made from doing this.

Related: Plan My Wedding Share 5 Fantastic Tips To Win Over The Shark Tank

Recently myself, Jason Newmark (Co-founder and director of Future Proof Western Cape) & lead coach Lana Sinclair, spent 3 days in the Bredasdorp community of the Western Cape, with children between the ages of 9 and 11, from 5 disadvantaged schools attending, under the initiative of NGO organisation, Education Connection and Managing Director, Marius Stolz, introduced the children to the 4-lesson initiative that we at Future Proof have been rolling out around the country.

One of the core focuses of the 4 lessons, is how children can start identifying problems that surround them and the opportunities it can lead to, by starting a business and getting paid to do it.  The second lesson focuses and helps these children to create a one page business model canvas that kids are able to put their ideas down and more importantly something they can implement immediately when they go back to their communities.  On the canvas the children are put into groups, where they discuss and identify which problem/opportunity they are going to implement, and they write it down on the middle of the page.  The page is then divided into 4 quadrants – Customers, Stuff, Tell People and price.

The children are then demonstrated through activities, and real life experiences and knowledge of how to firstly find customers.  This exercise is done by hanging apples in trees (low hanging fruit) in various locations.  Children are then told to try and get as many as possible and then return to the meeting area.

Once all apples have been collected children are then asked: ‘Why did they go for the apples that they did?’  There are usually a whole host of various answers, but the end answer they usually come to is ‘ they went for the quickest and easiest apples’.  The activity learning outcome is then show to them, that they need to think of apples as your customers, you need to always try get to the quickest and easiest customers, not the ones far away or that are hard to get to and you need to be faster than anyone else! And that the first thing you need to start a business is a customer! If you cant find customers first, then you cant run a business. Children are then asked to write down who there ‘apples’ are for their problem and opportunity they are using as their business idea. The kids are then guided through the other 3 quadrants on what ‘stuff’ (inventory) they will need, how they will ‘tell people’ (marketing) and what price they will charge for their business.

Related: 6 Steps To Grow A Funding Ready Start-up

Its incredible the ideas the kids come up with and the little lightbulbs that go off once this lesson is over and they know how to actually start a business. The concepts we show them are taught in Harvard Business school, yet when broken down into their simplest form, children are able to easily understand them – its incredibly inspiring and more importantly effective and these kids now have this tool to use to start a business and how to start looking at problems as opportunities and what to do when they identify them’

All 4 lessons are activity based, where kids are shown to ‘think’ like entrepreneurs, how to start a business, cashflow & mentors/networks.  With these tools, skills and real life experiences given to them from the entrepreneurial coaches that teach these lessons, shows how easy it can be to get these concepts and learnings into children behaviours while they are still young and can learn to fail and succeed from a young age, and more importantly how to maintain the right mindset (lesson 1) to be able to deal with these failures as they go through life.  A stark contrast to teachers teaching Business Studies and economics?  Isn’t this something all children in South Africa need to be learning?

Leading Authority and Pioneer of the Lean Methodology in South Africa. Co-Founder & Director of Future Proof Western Cape & Co-founder of Mompreneurs. Why? To show people from all walks of life in our country, how to start and grow their own business. Visit Future Proof for more information.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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