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National Small Business Stars Announced

Small Enterprise Development Agency announces national SME winners.

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The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) has announced the winners in the 2012 Seda Small Business Stars national business plan competition.

The winners were selected after 180 finalists – drawn from more than 5 500 entries – presented their business concepts to 18 provincial judging panels, who selected a total of 11 national finalists.

Another four special category awards were allocated; these included best woman entrepreneur, best youth entrepreneur, best job-creating entrepreneur and best entrepreneur with a disability.

National winner

Adesh Naidoo from Kwa-Zulu Natal, owner of Clean Street, walked away with top honours. The prize included a laptop, software, R50 000 in cash, plus R600 000 in business support value from Seda.

A passionate and determined entrepreneur, Naidoo plans to take his concept – a special green-friendly litter bin that provides advertising revenue for the city – to every municipality in South Africa. The judges believe that Naidoo has the drive and business acumen to launch this product, even in the highly competitive media sector, and unanimously gave him their highest score.

Special awards

The winner of the most promising woman entrepreneur category was Tabisa Nomnganga from the Western Cape. Bravo Promotions makes consumer brands come alive in communities through dance, theatre and performances. The company has created more than 20 jobs for dancers, performers and young promoters.

“Companies and even friends were skeptical about my chances of succeeding,” says Nomnganga. “They looked at my disability rather than my ability. I do not let my disability define who I am. When I dream of something, I implement it, despite the hardships. I have been judged and have been denied contracts but that never stopped me from striving to achieve my goals and living my dream. Many look up to me for inspiration and I always lend a helping hand where I can.”

The winner of the most promising youth entrepreneur was Thula Sindi from Gauteng.

Sindi has created an affordable, contemporary brand focused primarily on supplying stylish career-wear. As a 28-year-old entrepreneur, he has managed in a space of five years to build a trusted fashion brand in South Africa, which not only employs six women directly but also 22 women and more through outsourcing to their co-op.

He has also managed to attract the attention of South Africa’s largest retailer EDGARS and the brand is now available in five store locations in all three of South Africa’s major cities, proving that sustainable design enterprises can indeed be created and that young business people can create, manufacture and retail domestically.

Most promising job-creating entrepreneur was presented to Martin Brown from Gauteng, who was also named one of three most promising entrepreneurs with a disability.

The owner of Radical Holdings, a leading manufacturer of custom-built powered wheelchairs in Africa, Brown brings a fresh and innovative approach to this sector with his funky, practical power wheelchairs.

Brow is a C3/6 quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair since 1998. His frustration in trying to find an electric wheelchair that catered for his needs led directly to the formation of Radical Holdings. He has created more than 20 manufacturing jobs directly and indirectly, and his growing international order book is likely to push that number higher. Not only has he created jobs, but Brown personally mentors and motivates his employees to excel.

Due to the outstanding quality of entries received, three national winners were selected for the most promising entrepreneur with a disability category. In conjunction with Brown, Tabisa Nomnganga from theWestern Cape(winner of promising youth entrepreneur as well) and Obed Segooa from Gauteng also secured wins.

With eight local schools already supporting his clothing manufacturing business, Segooa’s Cycle Check Trading makes work wear and school uniforms, and has created more than 20 jobs.

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The Unisa SBL’s Prestigious Leadership In Practice Awards Recognise Business Leaders With A Vision To Develop South Africans

The award that was instated in 1989 serves as a platform where the SBL recognises visionary and transformational leadership in the Republic of South Africa.

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Unisa’s Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) hosted the prestigious annual Leadership in Practice (LIP) awards ceremony on Thursday, 15 November 2018.

“The LIP award criteria include: Vision, Values, Influence, Results and Contribution to the community,” added Cecil Thokoane, Chairperson of the SBL Alumni Association Executive Committee. This year the SBL has included two new categories within the leadership awards with the purpose of specifically recognising both women and emerging leaders in our society. The multifaceted and multidimensional Dr. Judy Dlamini, who is a medical doctor, business leader and author received both the Leadership in Practice Award as well as the Woman in Leadership Award. Mr Thomas Kgokolo, interim CEO of the Air Traffic and Navigation Services, was the recipient of the Emerging Leader Award.

Running for almost thirty years, the SBL Leadership in Practice, Women in Leadership and Emerging Leader awards seek to honour those individuals that have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in multiple spheres of society.  The award recipients are selected by SBL’s alumni and a panel of SBL experts who consider the nominee’s business or political achievements, as well as the value that these achievements have added to society.

Professor Raphael Mpofu, Acting Executive Dean of the SBL, says that: “considering South Africa’s constrained economic conditions that has placed the workforce under extreme pressure, the time for strong, ethical and empowering leadership has never been more critical. Each year the LIP Award recipient’s essence is encapsulated into a theme that overarches the awards ceremony and dinner event. The Honourable Pravin Gordhan, who accepted the Award in 2017, had the apt theme ‘Courage is my Compass’.  For Dr Judy Dlamini this year, the theme was ‘Bravely Illuminating’”.

Related: 30 Top Influential SA Business Leaders

“I dedicate this award to women of this country who wake up each day under harsh circumstances and make a difference in our lives,” says Dr Judy Dlamini. “It truly is a great privilege to be recognised for my efforts,” says Dlamini.

“As South Africans we all have a responsibility of living a positive African story and telling the positive African story. Living a life of integrity, doing what is right not because someone  is watching but because your decisions come from a position of integrity, self-respect and respect of the people that you meet,” says Dlamini.

Professor Mpofu explains: “Dr Dlamini’s considerable achievements as a woman leader in South Africa pay testament not only to hard work and commitment but also to her resilience and self-reliance.  Our society has presented very real barriers to entry for black women in business.  Despite this, Dr Dlamini qualified as a medical doctor and later went on to gain a Doctor of Business Leadership (DBL) from the SBL. She is also the executive chairperson of the Mbekani Group. Her book, Equal But Different‚ is based on her research conducted for her DBL. She holds many different leadership roles in business, from chairperson to board member.  To the SBL, Dr Dlamini provides a true example of brave, inspired leader against the odds.”

Mr Thomas Kgokolo responded to the honour bestowed upon him as the recipient of the Emerging Leader Award: “As businessmen, women and leaders it is important that we believe in ourselves then others can believe in us too.” This award was sponsored by the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Regional Learning Centre Southern Africa, hosted at the SBL. Mr Olwethu Sipuka, Director and Chief of Party of YALI, who handed over the award, says:

“Mr Thomas Kgokolo is a born leader, having consistently demonstrated strong leadership abilities combined with an ethical practice and desire to empower those around him.  He has previously been nominated as the Top Chartered Accountant under 25 by the South African Institute of Accountants (SAICA) and was also named as one of the Top 40 Outstanding Young Leaders under 40 by Destiny Man magazine.  As the Deputy Board Chairperson at the Mineworkers Provident Fund, Mr Kgokolo combines exceptional integrity with a deep commitment to ensuring that South Africa’s mineworkers are able to retire with dignity.” Mr Kgokolo was also recently appointed as the interim CEO of The Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS).

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5 Ways SMMEs Can Best Use An Incubation Centre

Here are some tips on how entrepreneurs can make the most of these incubation centres.

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Incubation centres play a meaningful role – not only in South Africa but around the world – as they groom SMMEs and give them access to opportunities that will help them survive in a competitive marketplace. These centres help entrepreneurs modernise their businesses with world-class technology, while providing insights that can help turn ideas into products. Incubation centres offer infrastructure and support, knowledge-sharing and a unique environment that helps strengthen their businesses.

Earlier this month, Cisco South Africa launched its R10 million Edge Incubation Centre in Pretoria where 30 SMMEs per year will have the opportunity to make use of the platform and speed up their entry to market. The centre gives SMMEs access to complete business facilities including workspaces, video conferencing and collaboration platforms, boardroom and training facilities, and access to global Cisco experts who can help them develop business ideas in a digital world.

Here are some tips on how entrepreneurs can make the most of these incubation centres:

1. Collaboration

Gain insights from global experts using the latest Webex technology and collaborate with other SMMEs. Utilise the meeting spaces to drive commercial sales initiatives with the help of business support facilities.

2. Resources & Equipment

Make use of laboratories and tools like cloud-based facilities, smart interactive whiteboards for content sharing, video conferencing, and meeting rooms. Utilise the high-tech customer demo centre as a practice platform.

Related: The Definitive List Of South African Business Incubators For Start-Ups

3. Support

Take advantage of the enablement programmes as well as the ongoing training and development. Knowledge transfer will always help your business. Utilise the technical support and business insights to grow your business and make it competitive in the digital economy.

4. Connectivity

This is your main tool in a digital marketplace. Make use of the high-speed broadband facilities and develop your digital skills because you will need it.

5. Sales

Don’t forget to utilise the pre-sales support as this may give you the edge in the marketplace. Gain insights and experience and use it to your advantage.

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9 In 10 Workers Want A Festive Gift From Their Employer To Make Them Feel Valued

29% Would like to receive vouchers from their company.

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As the festive season approaches, digital print company instantprint have revealed what managers can be doing to show staff they are appreciated.

Over 9 in 10 workers (94%) want a gift from their employers to make them feel valued, appreciated and happy this Christmas.

The research, which surveyed 1,500 UK office workers, also revealed the most in demand gifts that employees would like to receive from their employers:

  • 29% would like a gift voucher
  • 8% would like an early finish
  • One in five (20%) would like a free bar at the company Christmas party
  • One in ten (10.3%) would like a physical gift
  • 7% would like a charitable donation to be made in their name.

Related: Why Innovative Employee Benefits Are Your Competitive Advantage

Different sections of the workforce had varying demands. IT professionals would prefer an early finish this festive period, with 35% in the IT department choosing this as their ideal Christmas gift.

Senior management seem to have a more selfless approach to the gifts they would like to receive. One in ten (11%) said they would like a charitable donation to be made in their name, compared to the average demand for this present of just 7%.

There was some difference between men and women too. Women are the ones really pressing for gift vouchers, with 33% saying they are the ideal present, compared to just 23% of men. Male employees seem to prefer a free bar, with 22% choosing this, compared to just 18% of women.

James Kinsella, CEO and Co-founder of instantprint, said about the research:

“Most organisation take part in the festive period, with decorations, Christmas parties and office Secret Santas.

“But this research highlights how important a small show of gratitude can be for your workforce. Something as simple as an early finish, free bar at a party or a Christmas gift voucher can make employees feel valued and appreciated. This in turn can help boost employee morale, loyalty and productivity in the workplace.”

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