- 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.
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.
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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.”
Africa’s Top 10 Tech Start-Ups Selected For #Africa4Future Accelerator Programme
Airbus and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have announced the top 10 African tech start-ups that will take part in the latest Airbus Bizlab #Africa4Future accelerator programme. They were selected after an open public pitch event in front of experts, potential investors, the media and other stakeholders in Kenya’s capital city.
#Africa4Future is a joint business accelerator initiative of Airbus and GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa initiative together with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a non-profit seed fund and pan-African organisation that brings together startups, entrepreneurs and the tech community, and Innocircle, the South African-based innovation consultancy.
The top 10 start-ups were selected from 314 entries representing 19 African countries that were received when the challenge was opened last October. These were assessed by a panel of Airbus and other independent experts.
The programme aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship in Africa. The continent’s young and increasingly techno-savvy population is likely to be the driving force behind Africa’s socio-economic development. The competition identifies Africa’s own pool of talented entrepreneurs using innovative aerospace based solutions to tackle the continent’s most pressing challenges such as transportation, agriculture and healthcare.
As a global aerospace accelerator, Airbus BizLab is ideally suited to help African startups transform innovative ideas into viable and valuable businesses. In doing so, it increases the aerospace industry’s engagement with hardware and software innovators and entrepreneurs in Africa while helping to nurture the establishment of competitive entrepreneurial ecosystems on the continent.
The Nairobi event kicks off an intensive 6-month business incubation and accelerator programme involving technical, commercial and mentorship activities in France, Germany and South Africa. This includes workshops and coaching sessions with Airbus experts, GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa, MEST and Innocircle coaches.
The programme will culminate with Demo Day events at the biennial Paris International Airshow and a special event in Germany from 19-26 June, when finalists will launch their products, define their collaboration with Airbus and announce their investment commitments in front of representatives from across the aerospace industry.
1. Astral Aerial (Kenya) – using drones for humanitarian cargo transport, surveillance and emergency response.
2. Cote d’Ivoire drone (Ivory Coast) – locally-manufactured drones for various applications.
3. Elemental Numerics (South Africa) – applies computational fluid dynamics techniques to the design of machines and components, ranging from aircraft to heart valves.
4. Lentera Limited (Kenya) – applying remote sensors to monitor and transmit environmental data to enable more efficient and smarter farming.
5. Maisha ICT Tech PLC (Ethiopia) – deploying locally built drones for delivering medicines, blood and healthcare items to remote and rural areas.
6. MamaBird (Malawi) – provides a platform to help Governments, NGOs and other organisations deliver vital life-saving supplies to remote communities.
7. Map Action (Mali) – a solution offering real-time online urban mapping to identify problems affecting water supplies, hygiene and sanitation.
8. MobiTech Water Solutions (Kenya) – an online real-time water monitoring solution that allows businesses, homes and water-service providers to manage their available water using an app-based dashboard and instant messaging.
9. Track Your Build (Nigeria) – a novel infrastructure management tool for construction and operations.
10.WiPo Wireless Power (South Africa) – offers reliable and convenient wireless power chargers for businesses, conference centres, airports, restaurants and other venues for the charging of mobile devices, laptops and drones.
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Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
Herman Mashaba To Talk On City Of Jo’burg Job Creation Initiative
Herman Mashaba to talk on City of Jo’burg job creation initiative at 2019 Business Day TV SME Summit.
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