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

Relax Spas, owned and run by vivacious and determined Noli Mini, has been steadily evolving and growing, creating employment and delivering an innovative service, since it was just a dream in 2010.

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Noli Mini

Vital stats

  • Year business registered: 2010
  • Enrolled in Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs: January 2017
  • Number of employees: 10 (and 3 interns)
  • Business classification: Exempt Micro Enterprise (EME)
  • BBBEE ownership: 100% black woman owned
  • Nature of business: Health, Wellness, Beauty
  • Website: www.relaxspas.co.za
  • Twitter: @relaxinroomspa #tsogoentrepreneurs
  • Facebook: facebook.com/relaxspas

Combining beauty, wellness and entrepreneurship

Relax Spas, owned and run by vivacious and determined Noli Mini, has been steadily evolving and growing, creating employment and delivering an innovative service, since it was just a dream in 2010.

Mini, who has a passion for beauty and skincare and a penchant for business, has developed a unique spa concept in partnership with various hotels in the Western Cape, offering in-room spa services to guests from a base within hotels.

“We align our offering with the hotel brand, increasing the range of facilities that the hotel offers and provide high quality branded spa experiences for the guests,” she says.

Related: How Ronem Maintenance Solutions Thrives On Finding Solutions To Your Problems

Mini started in 2010 as a ‘mobile spa therapist’, going to different hotels and offering mobile spa treatments. The concept has evolved and Mini has set up bases, including two Spa Suites, at various hotels and guest houses. An additional aspect of Relax Spa’s offering is to provide spa treatments at corporate wellness days. She is also introducing her own brand of beauty and skincare products.

Relax Spas has 10 full-time staff and three interns. The company is in the process of recruiting four full-time spa therapists to accommodate the growing demand for its services. Although currently based in the Western Cape, Mini has her eyes set on a national footprint for Relax Spas in the future.

noli-mini-relax-spas

“This industry has been my love since I was a little girl, inspired by my mother’s interest in skincare and makeup. My first part-time job was in Grade 11 when I worked as a beauty consultant for skincare products and makeup in a department store,” says Mini.

Mini grew up in Madubela Location near King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape before the family – parents, two sisters and a brother – moved to East London, where she matriculated from Clarendon High School for Girls. She then studied at a beauty academy and worked at two spa companies for eight years before branching out on her own. “It’s not been an easy road, but it has been wonderful. I think that once one identifies one’s purpose in life, fulfilling it comes quite naturally.

Mini is also in the process of establishing an academy to train beauty therapists. “A challenge is that we have a lot of therapists asking for work, but they don’t have a high enough standard of training for our services. Our academy will train to those standards, and the students will have access to hands-on practical training at Relax Spas, and the potential to be employed if they make the grade.” The academy will start in 2018 with five students.

Mini is also active in social upliftment, and has partnered with Relate Trust, an organisation that supports different NGOs. She sells their bracelets, handmade by women in a local township, and the proceeds go to the Amy Biehl Foundation, which offers training to unemployed young women in beauty skills, among other initiatives.

Related: Sumting Fresh, Food With A Future

Mini joined Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs at the end of 2016 and has been inspired by the rigorous training and coaching that the programme has provided over the last twelve months. “It has been and is a priceless journey,” she says.

“I feel validated that I’m doing something right and that I am building a footprint.  I want to leave a strong legacy for my family, and a legacy of possibilities and opportunities with my brand. I want my industry to remember my presence as ground-breaking.”

She says she learned that there is no greater sign of confidence than self-acceptance and that she has grown enough to accept her flaws and embrace who she is. Mini adds that Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs is helping to fill in some gaps in the development of her business, and very importantly, connecting her to the strength of Tsogo Sun.

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The Innovator Trust And Citi Are Searching For Black-Owned Smes Who Are Ready For Growth

The Innovator Trust, an enterprise development organisation, and the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), Africa’s oldest incubator, are calling on Cape Town-based growth-stage ICT entrepreneurs to join the intensive 2-year enterprise development programme.

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The ICT sector has gone from strength to strength and is one of the fastest-growing industries on the African continent. Yet African entrepreneurs are still finding it a difficult business landscape to navigate. That is why The Innovator Trust and CiTi, through exposure, training and mentorship, now aim to equip entrepreneurs and businesses in the sector with tools that will keep them on track, assist them to achieve their goals and create tech leaders of the future.

ICT entrepreneurs in need of mentorship, skills development and business support who have been operating for more than 2 years and are fiercely committed to growing their business, can now apply to the prestigious 2-year Innovator Trust programme, co-developed and run by CiTi at the Woodstock Bandwidth Barn and remotely in Cape Town. Applications close on 22 February and the selected candidates will be announced on 4 March.

The Innovator Trust programme aims to support the: increase annual turnover, equip businesses with the necessary accreditation to remove red tape, as well as increase profitability and number of employees. Get ready to move the dial on your business.

Celebrating its 20th year of supporting entrepreneurs, CiTi currently runs a number of incubation programmes from idea to growth stage. After a very successful first cohort of the programme, completed in 2018, CiTi confirmed a second collaboration with the Innovator Trust to support further Cape Town businesses over the next two years. Applicants need to be in “ICT”, but this has included a broad range of focusses in the past, from IT recruitment, network security to cabling service provider and software solutions.

Related: Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

The programme, designed by CiTi and Innovator Trust, is not to be taken lightly. Monthly training, mentorship sessions with industry experts, and a strong focus on technical improvements means a substantial time and focus commitment by the entrepreneur. But this intensive design enables significant business progression over the two years.

 “Once the entrepreneurs who take part in our Enterprise Development programmes become more established, they turn their focus to growth. This accelerator is especially for entrepreneurs who’ve created businesses with high-growth potential and provides them with the skills to scale at speed and responsibly,” says Tashline Jooste, CEO of the Innovator Trust.

Cape Town was recently confirmed as the Tech Hub of Africa, by an Endeavor Insight Report commissioned by CiTi and partners, presenting growing opportunities for those businesses serious about growth, and with the right support.

“I believe strongly that ICT entrepreneurs are going to be critical to South Africa’s economic growth, which is why we need to focus on equipping these businesses with the skills they need to grow, create jobs and stimulate our economy,” adds Jooste.

In order to be considered for the programme, prospective applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • A company defined in South Africa as an SMME, QSE or EME;
  • Must be operational and trading for two or more years;
  • The business should be at least 51% black-owned;
  • A minimum Level 1 – 4 BBBEE status according to the DTI or ICT Codes;
  • The business must be a registered company with key focus in ICT and be based in Cape Town and surrounding areas.

In addition, applicants will need to supply copies of their company registration, company profile, and annual financial statements along with their BEE certificate and IDs with their applications.

Related: Attention Black Entrepreneurs: Start-Up Funding From Government Grants & Funds

“We had a fantastic experience on the Innovator Trust programme, perhaps most beneficial was the advice and mentorship on our financial management, up-skilling of our team, and establishing a 3-year budget and growth plan for the business. Our advice to entrepreneurs considering the course is “JUST DO IT!!!” The skills and knowledge you gain are invaluable and put us on a serious growth trajectory.” states Jennifer Classen, Founder of Ngaphaya Y2K10, and Participant in the 2015 – 2018 Innovator Trust programme.

Ready to grow your business? Learn more about the programme and submit your application HERE.

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Rocket Challenge Targets Local Coding Skills

The Rocket APT Challenge is open to undergraduate students 18 years of age or older who are currently studying engineering, science, or technology at an accredited college or university.

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Addressing the growing skills gap within software development, local information technology value added distributor, Axiz has sponsored the Rocket APT Challenge and encouraged 39 students to participate in the regional round of the Rocket.Build coding challenge. This comprises 40% of the total numbers of entries received globally. Hosted by Rocket Software and APT Solutions, this annual challenge provides a forum for participants to develop applications on Rocket’s MultiValue platform.

Colleen Becker, Axiz pre-sales engineer, says that the response to the challenge was exceptional and the company is excited to be part of this global initiative: “This is a fantastic innovation challenge that provides students with an opportunity to hone their coding skills on a leading software platform. South Africa is by far the bigger pool of entrants and we are excited to see who is selected for the global Rocket.Build 2019 Hackathon.”

Participants are required to design an app on Rocket’s MultiValue application platform in support of the challenge theme: ‘Improve your Community’. Consisting of three regions: EMEA, Asia-Pacific, and the Americas, three winners from each region will be selected and awarded a cash prize of:

  • $1,000 (USD) – third place
  • $2,500 (USD) – second place
  • $5,000 (USD) – first place

Related: Want To Take Your Coding To The Next Level? Check Out These 7 Productivity Hacks

The nine developers will also be given an all-expenses-paid trip to Massachusetts, USA in June 2019 to participate in Rocket.Build 2019, where they will compete in teams of three to decide the global winner of the Rocket APT Challenge. The winning team will share a grand prize of $24,000 (USD).

Becker says that this is the first year Axiz is participating and the company will definitely register for the 2020 challenge, recruiting of which starts in September 2019: “We are committed to grow the number of young coders on the Rocket platform. There is a global opportunity for students to graduate into a developing industry and support the growing shortage of MultiValue-certified coders. Participants also stand the chance of receiving an internship from participating partners across all industry sectors.”

The Rocket APT Challenge is open to undergraduate students 18 years of age or older who are currently studying engineering, science, or technology at an accredited college or university.

For more information, contact colleen.becker@axiz.com

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SMEs: Have You Completed Your Financial Planning For 2019?

While small to medium enterprise (SME) owners may not have a great deal of control over South Africa’s broader economic issues, they do have control over how they plan and manage their finances, says EasyBiz Technologies Managing Director, Gary Epstein.

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“The failure of many SMEs to make it past the critical 3.5-year mark is more as a result of their inability to get the fundamentals right, rather than being able to deal with issues such as political uncertainty, crime or credit-rating downgrades.

“Several SMEs do not gain an adequate understanding of their markets or the competition they are up against. In addition, failure to manage their finances properly or to access funding and adapt to changes in the marketplace can also be serious hindrances to success.”

Epstein believes without proper financial planning and management, businesses place themselves on the back foot. “Business owners can only make informed decisions when they have a clear view of what is happening with their finances.”

That’s why having the proper financial management tools in place is so important for start-ups and SMEs. “At EasyBiz Technologies, we offer accounting solutions that are aimed at helping businesses manage their finances properly and placing them on a sound financial footing,” adds Epstein.

Tangible outcomes of a good system include increased productivity, reduced monthly expenses, improved accuracy, simplified tax compliance and better financial security. An effective system can also provide critical business insights and allow business owners to make informed and proactive decisions.

Epstein says efficient accounting solutions can help speed up business processes, affording business owners more time to focus on their core processes and growing their operations. “After all, time and money are the most precious resources when it comes to running a small business.

Related: 6 Steps Of Financial Planning

“Our solutions include analysis tools, report making applications and payroll assistance. In addition, income and expense trackers provide valuable information for tax and audit preparations,” he adds.

Epstein urges SMEs to plan for 2019 if they haven’t done so already. “It’s not too late to prepare for the year ahead and, with the financial year end for many businesses looming, now is the time to get a good system in place.”

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