Connect with us

Entrepreneur Today

Gemkids – From Montessori Method To Micro Enterprise

Gemkids is a day care centre that represents the fulfilment of a vision, and special place where children are cared for, taught, inspired, encouraged, and entertained.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

devina-dawkinun

Vital stats

  • Year business registered: 2016
  • Enrolled in Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs: January 2017
  • Number of employees: 4 (and 7 casual)
  • Business classification: Exempt Micro Enterprise (EME)
  • Nature of business: Education, Early Childhood Development
  • Twitter: #tsogoentrepreneurs

Gemkids, for the joy of children

Gemkids is a day care centre that represents the fulfilment of a vision, and special place where children are cared for, taught, inspired, encouraged, and entertained.

Gemkids’ founder and director, Devina Dawkinun, started her career as a lecturer and researcher in Economics at the then University of Durban-Westville and worked as a researcher in the Department of Community Health. Funding for her post ran out in 2005 and finding herself jobless, Dawkinun decided to pursue her dream of working with children.

She studied Early Childhood Development, focusing on the Montessori method, and in 2007 opened her first Montessori pre-school in Chatsworth in Durban. Later, she transformed this into a school of tuition for grades 1 to 7 learners.

Related: Noli Mini – The Full Beauty, Wellness And Entrepreneurship Package To Keep An Eye On

About two years ago, Gemkids entered into a partnership agreement with Tsogo Sun’s Suncoast property on the Durban beachfront and is now located at the entertainment destination as the hub where children are checked in by parents or guardians visiting Suncoast. “It’s a day care with a difference,” says Dawkinun, “During school terms we incorporate learning programmes according to the school curriculum into our activities with the children, and during the holidays we provide fun, theme-based learning and life skill development activities.”

Dawkinun’s love for children is her overriding motivation. “Young children are like sponges, absorbing anything that adults in their worlds expose them to. I believe that if we want to change the troubles we see in the world today, it starts with our children. I love the fact that I have the humble opportunity to influence the way children see situations, and I can help to remove negative impressions or biases in their minds.

“I love the fact that young children are innocent, natural, and ego-free. They become my teachers, keeping me in the present moment and reminding me to tread lightly on this planet.”

Gemkids has eleven staff members, six of whom are child-minders on the Suncoast Promenade, taking care of children at the Suncoast complex, and five are child-minders in the day care centre itself. The centre can accommodate up to 20 children at a time.

Staff training is essentially on-the-job, but also entails certification in first-aid for children, employee health and safety and fire-fighting, arranged through the Suncoast partnership.

Future plans for Gemkids include “branding it as a place of unique fun and learning”, says Dawkinun, “growing in the number of centres around the country and becoming known for the sincere love and care, and the quality education we provide to children.” She adds that growth will entail more structured ECD training for staff members.

Related: Sumting Fresh, Food With A Future

In terms of community upliftment, Gemkids is involved in some of Suncoast’s community upliftment activities, but is also running a Gemkids Donate a Handful Drive, which encourages staff to contribute “a handful” of whatever they are using to prepare a meal (particularly non-perishable food items) towards hampers that will be distributed to needy families during the Christmas holidays.

“Apart from the real need in our poorer communities, this is also helping our staff to change their mindsets from one of lack to one of abundance. It helps them escape a victim mentality.”

Dawkinun was encouraged by Suncoast management to apply to the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme, and was thrilled when she was accepted. “Words cannot express what Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs has given me. For years I had been told that my vision was unrealistic. When an organisation of the stature and calibre of Tsogo Sun acknowledged the success and recognised the potential of my business, it affirmed the 11 years of hard work that I have put into the Gemkids name.”

She enjoyed and gained a lot from the programme’s coaching sessions. “It has given me a level of confidence that I didn’t know I was capable of. I have learned to become more professional in my approach, and I gained real skills in the financial and operational aspects of my business.”

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

Advertisement
Comments

Entrepreneur Today

Silver Linings For Smaller Businesses In Budget 2018

Comments by Pieter Bensch, Executive Vice President, Africa & Middle East at Sage.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

small-business-economic-advice

As expected, the Finance Minister and Treasury have proposed some tough measures to address South Africa’s tax collection shortfall, growing budget deficit, and new spending priorities such as free education. Higher VAT, fuel levies and import duties on luxury goods will no doubt crimp consumer spending, which could be bad news for smaller businesses.

But we are pleased that the Finance Minister has raised his GDP growth projections and proposed interventions to help grow Small & Medium South African businesses. We welcome the steps government is taking to restore fiscal credibility, rein in spending, and hold off another credit ratings downgrade – it may be painful in the short term, but we should be rewarded in the longer term.

On small businesses, competition policy and market access

It was great to see the Finance Minister talk extensively about the hopes and concerns of entrepreneurs and small businesses in his Budget Speech today. We welcome his acknowledgement that low market access and high barriers to entry are constraining the growth of the country’s small businesses.

Minister Gigaba mentioned that government will take action against anti-competitive behaviour that harms these businesses.

That is a worthy goal, but we think we should also be looking more closely at how big businesses can play a constructive role in nurturing the growth of small businesses through mentoring and partnership. Small businesses are tomorrow’s customers, suppliers and employers, so it’s in everyone’s interest to grow this sector.

Related: How South African Small Business Owners Can Overcome Economic Uncertainty

On small business funding

We heard more about the R2.1 billion fund Departments of Small Businesses and Science & Technology and the National Treasury are developing to benefit small and medium enterprises during the early start-up phase. It’s good news that government is investing in innovative startups, but it’s important that the funding is spent in an efficient and productive manner. Picking winners and losers isn’t easy, so we’d like to hear more details about how government will choose to allocate this money.

On public procurement

It makes enormous sense for government to use public procurement to support black economic empowerment, industrialisation and development of small businesses. We are glad to hear that government sees its billions of rand in procurement spend as a lever to empower small business owners – we look forward to more detail about how government will enable more small and micro businesses to participate in procurement opportunities. And of course, it’s critically important that government follows through on its promise to pay small businesses within 30 days of invoicing.

Cash flow is a major challenge for small businesses and few of them can afford to wait three to six months for payment on a big project.

Related: How South Africa’s Small Businesses Plan To Invest Their Money In 2018

VAT

Most consumers and businesses have been preparing themselves for a VAT increase in this budget. As unpalatable as many people will find the one-percentage point hike in the VAT rate, it was an obvious choice for a Finance Minister wanting to raise more revenue without dampening business investment or consumer spending.

The VAT hike will take some money out of people’s pockets, but will probably have less impact on business confidence than higher corporate taxes and less impact on consumer spending than further personal tax increases.

As expected, government has preserved the zero-rated status of some staples to lessen the impact on the poor. Small & Medium Businesses will need to make sure their systems are ready to cater for the new VAT rate, but this should not be too much of a challenge for those with automated accounting systems. By international standards, VAT in South Africa is still relatively low – we can just hope that this increase is not followed by another in the next year or two.

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

4 Budget Speech 2018 Outcomes To Know For Your Business

2018 Budget Speech commentary by Rob Cooper, tax expert and Director of Legislation at Sage.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

2018-sage-commentary-on-budget-speech

The increases to taxes across the board are less painful than I expected. The general improvement to the fiscal framework and the reduction of expenditure by R86 billion over three years seem to have gotten us over the hump – for now, in any case.

1. Personal income tax

There were no surprises as far as personal income tax (PIT) is concerned. The top 45% rate remains unchanged and tax bracket creep relief is given only to those who earn below R410 000 per annum. Bracket creep in personal income tax, along with fuel levies, offers low-hanging fruit for the Finance Minister.

Related: What It Will Really Take For South Africa’s Businesses To Scale And Create Jobs

National Health Insurance

It’s good news that the Medical Tax Credit is still with us, even if it has received a below-inflation increase. This Medical Tax Credit is relatively small – especially with this year’s low increase – but it does help to make private medical cover affordable for millions of low-income South Africans.

2. Travel reimbursements

Great news for taxpayers and employers from the Budget: Government has scrapped the 12,000km a year limitation for using the prescribed rate per kilometre to calculate travel reimbursements.  This will simplify travel reimbursement administration, but could open the door for increased levels of non-compliance in respect of travel reimbursements. On the whole, however, this will make life much easier for businesses.

Related: Silver Linings For Smaller Businesses In Budget 2018

3. Employment tax incentive

The Minister of Finance has decided that six special economic zones (SEZs) should be recognised by the ETI Act. Employers will thus be able to claim the Employment Tax Incentive for all employees working in one of these SEZs, irrespective of an employee’s age, but subject to qualification tests such as minimum wage and maximum remuneration. Outside of the SEZ, employers can only claim for the incentive for employees aged 18 to 29 years. This is a great way to generate more employment in the SEZs.

4. VAT

The VAT increase was expected and inevitable, and so were the VAT exemptions and increases to social grants the Finance Minister has applied to shield the poor from the impact of higher VAT.

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs Takes On 30 New Businesses

22 Women and 20 men – attended a three-day induction at Tsogo Sun’s Crowne Plaza The Rosebank hotel in Johannesburg from 31 January to 2 February.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

the-tsogo-sun-entrepreneurs-class-of-2018

With new hope burgeoning throughout the South African business environment as fundamental political change sweeps through the country, the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme has inducted 42 new beneficiaries from 30 different SMMEs for a year of intense training, coaching, mentorship and support – to assist them to professionalise and grow their businesses. This brings to 242 the total number of entrepreneurs supported by the programme.

The inductees – 22 women and 20 men – attended a three-day induction at Tsogo Sun’s Crowne Plaza The Rosebank hotel  in Johannesburg from 31 January to 2 February. This represented the commencement of the programme’s 2018 development year, which incorporates the provision of customised analysis and strategic plans tailored to the specific needs of each enrolled business, business management courses provided by the University of Cape Town and facilitated by GetSmarter; Financial literacy courses through the Colour Accounting system, Microsoft Office courses, and Sales & Marketing training.  The beneficiaries are each assigned a business analyst, a financial mentor and a leadership coach who work with them to implement their business strategies throughout the year.

Related: Before Time In Soweto – The Décor Hire And Catering Entrepreneurs That Are Growing Their Business Annually

This year’s class of 2018 entrepreneurs is made up of 30 small businesses operating in provinces across six provinces in South Africa in a diverse range of market sectors that include: tourism, ICT, cleaning, professional services, manufacturing, retail, health and beauty, agriculture and secretarial and administrative services. Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s GM of Corporate Affairs, says “Part of the value of such a diverse group is that it creates opportunities for the businesses to trade with each other.”

She adds, “Job creation is increasingly crucial in South Africa, as unemployment has reached unprecedented levels, particularly among the youth. Through the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme, we identify and assist people running their own businesses to professionalise their operations in an effort to make them viable employers who are sustainable businesses and contributors to the growth of the country’s economy.  At the same time, we encourage them to be “conscious” consumers who procure local products and services and support each other by keeping it local and proudly South African.  We are interested in changing their approaches from “managerial” mindsets to “leadership” mindsets, and so we motivate them to be fearless in their approach to growth with purpose. The programme provides them with the skills to enhance their strategic planning and performance and the wisdom to “pay it forward” by training them to become leaders in their communities.  The role that the programme’s mentors and coaches play in instilling these values is of great significance to the achievement of our objectives.”

Belinda Francis, MD of Tych Solutions, a generalist recruitment agency based in Durban with offices in Johannesburg and Eastern Cape, was enthusiastic about joining the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme. “Tsogo Sun is an amazing brand to be associated with, but more so, having met the team at a Supplier Showcase and heard others’ success stories, I was hungry to learn more and be a part of this journey. I don’t have an active partner and so I believe this programme will help to grow and empower me and my entire team even further. I am big on empowering and developing people and small businesses – and this will certainly create the platform for me to do so.”

Related: Gemkids – From Montessori Method To Micro Enterprise

Entrepreneur Carol Mlangeni, director of Enhle Creatives Photography & Design, also based in Durban, says she was browsing the internet looking for guidance on how to resolve issues within her company when she saw a Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs advertisement – and immediately responded. “I have issues within my business and I have been looking for answers on how to resolve them and grow my business and my brand awareness – I hope to achieve this through this programme.” Mlangeni adds that her future plans include providing job opportunities for “other aspiring enthusiasts like me”.

Thato Senosi is Founder of Magauta Designs and Projects, which supplies custom-made curtains, upholstery, and furniture repairs, and is based in Katlehong in Ekurhuleni. He was introduced to Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs by his mother, Carol Senosi, who joined the programme in 2016 and was a finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. He says he joined the programme because

“I believe that entrepreneurship is a science, and one needs to put together all the necessary tools and formulas to build a successful business – and this programme offers that. My expectations this year are to identify missing formulas and find solutions, to be monitored and supported, and helped to become a great version of myself so I can inspire others, because no man is an island.”

His plans for the future include starting his own textile manufacturing company and bringing industry into the township to help combat some of the social challenges in his local community.

Says Tothill, “It’s encouraging to see the growing reach of Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs throughout the country and in a diverse range of businesses, and we wish our new beneficiaries – the Class of 2018 – every success through the year as they discover new ways to develop themselves and their enterprises.”

Tsogo Sun has a portfolio of over 100 hotels and 13 casino and entertainment destinations throughout South Africa, Africa and the Seychelles. For more details, visit https://www.tsogosun.com, follow on Twitter @TsogoSun or like on Facebook /TsogoSun.

Visit the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs on Facebook: Facebook/TsogoEntrepreneurs and follow #TsogoEntrepreneurs on Twitter and Instagram.

Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs Class of 2018 with Hezron Louw

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Sign-up for Daily Newsletters

* indicates required
*
We respect your privacy 
Advertisement

Trending

FREE E-BOOK: How to Build an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Sign up now for Entrepreneur's Daily Newsletters to Download​​