The South African Breweries (SAB) has announced the top three winners in its youth entrepreneurship programme, SAB KickStart Boost 2016.
The top accolade was awarded to Inga Vanqa, 33, owner of quantity surveying company, Inga Vanqa Quantity Surveying and Project Management, based in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.
The business offers Construction Project management and Green Building Consulting. Since participating in the SAB KickStart Boost programme, the business has increased capacity and is able to procure more clients and sizable contract work.
Management of employees and client relations have been improved and better internal systems have streamlined processes. Inga notes that he has matured as a leader during SAB KickStart Boost and can better communicate and negotiate.
He is now more focused than before on the growth of his business and is aware of its financial performance, planning ahead. Inga received a R500 000 grant for further investment into his business.
Second place was presented to Pravashen Naidoo, 33, owner of e-Waste Africa, which specialises in the sustainable and environmentally-friendly disposal of lamps and bulbs, based in Pietermaritzburg in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Pravashen notes that the structure of his business’ sales team and growth model was strongly influenced by the training and mentoring received during his participation in SAB KickStart Boost.
A R1-million loan from SAB KickStart Boost enabled the purchase of equipment for the business and to expand its footprint across the province of Gauteng. Pravashen receives R400 000 for further investment into his business.
And, third place awarded to, Thuli Radebe, 29, owner of Eyam Projects, offering project management of exhibition stands and shop fittings, based in Roodepoort, Gauteng. Since her participation in SAB KicKStart the business has a new factory where stock is stored and distributed from, a function previously outsourced.
The financial security of the business has been improved over the last six months. Thuli receives a further R300, 000 investment into her business.
In addition to the financial investment received in prizes, the top three winners will also benefit from an additional 6-months business training and mentorship.
During 2016, the eight SAB KicKStart Boost entrepreneur finalists created 25 full-time and part-time jobs, all the while retaining 62 jobs as a collective.
According to SAB Enterprise Development Specialist (Youth Business), Simphiwe Mntambo, their increased job creation potential is supported by their positive transformation over the duration of the programme. This is reflected in the positive and steady growth in key business areas such as revenue and assets and an increase in their client base.
A number of the SAB KickStart Boost entrepreneurs managed to introduce new product lines and open new sites during the year with the support of the programme.
“We have been particularly impressed by the way in which the finalists have managed to operationalise their growth plans, anchored in healthy sales pipelines and strategic management as a means of maintaining a healthy business. This will ensure that good advisory structures are available to finalists to help them grow further and to remain on the right track,” shares Mntambo.
Much of the support to the SAB KickStart Boost finalists has focused on providing them with the tools to access new and larger clients; imperative for the survival and growth of all SMEs. This included opportunities to interact with buyers, as well as learning how to solve business challenges, to better prepare them to work as suppliers to big corporates.
“Our purpose through SAB KickStart is to build on the support structures provided to local SMEs, by delivering innovative mechanisms that present them with real growth opportunities. This commitment is anchored in our support of the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016 and the integral part that we will play in the Global Entrepreneurship Congress taking place in South Africa in March 2017,” says Mntambo.
The SAB KickStart Boost finalists’ businesses all represent some of South Africa’s core industries and sectors, including, Agriculture and Food Processing, Renewable Energy, as well as Mining and Minerals.
- Silindile Dube, 31, owner of Duo Glass
- Pravashen Naidoo, 33, owner of eWaste Africa
- Brian Ramufhufhi, 35, owner of Mukhwama Manufacturing
- Thuli Radebe, 29, owner of Eyam Projects
- Philip Ndamase, 30, owner of Ndamase Investments
- Donald Valoyi, 30, owner of Zulzi
- Inga Vanqa, 33, owner of Inga Vanqa Quantity Surveyors
- Mamorajane Lephoto, 31, owner of LephothoMakwelele Farmeries.
The finalists, who were announced at the beginning of the year, were provided with a combination of business support including business skills training, business development support, mentorship and grant capital, as well as low interest seed capital loans.
“Most entrepreneurs struggle with attracting adequate capital into their enterprises and the skills to utilise this capital well. The aim, through SAB KickStart Boost, is to provide them with the support and the environment they need to turn their ambitions into reality and to create sustainable entities that make a tangible contribution to economic development,” Mntambo explains.
Digital Transformation Should Be A Priority For Small Businesses In South Africa
With numbers like that, digital transformation is critical for any small business that wishes to find more customers and grow.
When a water pipe bursts in your home one morning, your initial reaction will probably be to grab your smartphone and search Google for a plumber nearby. Perhaps there is one just around the corner, but you wouldn’t know about them if they don’t show up in your search results. This scenario sums up why a good digital presence has become a must for small businesses in South Africa. The internet – and almost any business opportunity – is where the customers are.
According to the 2019 Global Digital Report prepared by We Are Social and Hootsuite, 54% of the South African population are internet users. This means there are 31 million people in South Africa who are searching for products and services online; 29 million of them are active mobile internet users. With numbers like that, digital transformation is critical for any small business that wishes to find more customers and grow.
First step on the road
We believe the journey of digital transformation starts with creating your own online identity. This is creating a place of your own online, starting with a website, and letting people know who you are, what you do, and what you offer. Think of it as your mobile storefront or your online business card. Start small and grow over time: no need to over-engineer or over spend.
Website builders like GoDaddy Website Builder can help you get a professional-looking website up and running in a short amount of time, even if you don’t have a big budget or any technical skills. And it will look amazing on a smartphone, not just yours! Once you’ve created your website, you can start looking at using tools like social media, search engine optimisation, and e-mail marketing to help reach new customers and stay in touch with existing ones.
Thanks to the internet and the digital tools available today, it’s not as hard or as expensive to create and promote your brand as it once was. First, a solid strategy is important, and it should include ways of showing your target audience what makes your brand and products unique.
Here are some other tips about how you can get value from your digital presence:
- Mobile continues to rise: As we’ve mentioned before, more than 90% of internet users in South Africa are mobile. You should focus on improving site speed, navigation structures and readability on mobile devices, and look to optimise your website from the start for the mobile experience.
- Simple design: This is an extension of creating mobile-first experiences, and it’s important that your website looks and works great on all screen sizes. This year, web design will focus on relevant and catchy content as well as design to help ensure you catch your users’ attention.
- Feature “platforms”. What do I mean by platforms? This includes maps, payment solutions, food delivery services, and shared rides fall into this definition. Our friend the plumber might not need these for his website, but a restaurant could truly benefit from adding maps, partnering with a booking or reservation service and even a customer rating solution.
With an increased number of data breaches occurring, protecting your new website and your customers’ data has become even more important for companies of all sizes. Whether or not a website has an SSL Certificate, it can affect your search rankings, so you should ensure your site has the added SSL Certificate protections.
Voice search and chat – are they in your business’s future?
Looking to the future, we can expect to see the digital world evolve at breakneck speed. Two trends to be on the look-out for in the not-too-distant future are voice search and chatbots. Currently, one out of every five internet searches come from voice queries, which means people are speaking their searches into their smart devices.
Therefore, while optimising your website and content for search engines, it will be important to do it for voice searches, keeping in mind the growing use of virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana. We can also expect to see more businesses using chatbots powered by AI on their websites, as well as social media profiles and applications, to provide instant assistance for their customers.
Perhaps your small business is planning to start implementing these tools during the year. Or it could be several years before these features are on your radar. Either way, they highlight some potential ways your evolving digital presence can allow you to find and interact with customers in new powerful ways.
Call For Application From Entrepreneurs In The Media Industry
Closing date for applications is 22 March 2019.
Investec CSI’s Global Exposure Trips provide South African entrepreneurs from various sectors with global exposure. Applications are now open for entrepreneurs in the South African media industry.
Are you an entrepreneur between the ages of 21 and 40 who has been in the industry for more than two years? Do you want to get global exposure and best practice for your business?
You could be chosen to go on the next media industry themed trip to Bangalore, India from the 17-24th May 2019.
Closing date for applications is 22 March 2019.
Every year Investec, in partnership with En-novate, sends a group of young entrepreneurs from various sectors to specifically selected countries in order to gain global exposure. Each itinerary provides them with opportunities to network and engage with venture capitalists, funders and captains of their specific industry. The aim is for them to gain learning and exposure to innovation, technology and process advancements. The programme also offers networking with subject and sector experts.
Navigating The Tricky Path Towards BEE Compliance
All organs of state, public entities and any private enterprise that undertakes business with a public entity must implement the BEE codes.
BEE On the National Agenda
Navigating complex BEE requirements to ensure compliancy can be a tricky process for many businesses. Since the implementation of BEE in 2003, there have been many high-profile cases of companies found to have faked their BEE credentials and many who have failed their verification audits for other reasons.
The unfortunate reality is that faked credentials is not a victimless crime. Any company awarded a government tender through the use of fake credentials is taking business away from another that has worked hard to achieve transformation through compliance.
The Government has been particularly verbal in highlighting the need for BEE compliance. At last year’s State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that “We [South Africa] will improve our capacity to support black professionals, deal decisively with companies that resist transformation and use competition policy to open markets up to new black entrants.” Thus, all organs of state, public entities and any private enterprise that undertakes business with a public entity must implement the BEE codes.
Finding the Right Supplier For Your Business Needs
According to LFP Group CEO, Louis Pulzone as the demand for BEE suppliers grows, the market becomes more saturated with suppliers offering all sorts of prices and all sorts of offers. “The industry is attractive – particularly in our current economy. We’ve heard of a lot of devastating cases where clients look to low priced suppliers who cannot deliver on their promises due to a lack of infrastructure and resources. This ultimately leads to failed BEE verification audits and projects that never get off the ground”.
Your training providers must commit to providing a compliant service by meeting various pieces of legislation. This ensures a defensible service offering and ultimately, the desired BEE scorecard result.
When implementing skills development initiatives specifically, Louis says that there are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Ask your supplier for provide you with factual proof of compliance – they are obligated to share this with you.
- Ensure that your training provider complies with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and Unemployment Insurance Act when it comes to caring for your learners.
- Suppliers must act in accordance with the provisions of the Employment Equity Act when providing learnerships to disabled learners, all learners must be covered by COIDA and UIF provisions must be made.
The size of your business determines the required levels of BEE compliance. “The Codes provide for three levels of compliance based on the size of your business”:
- Exempted Micro Enterprises (EMEs), which are businesses with an annual turnover of less than R10 million.
- Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSEs), which are businesses with an annual turnover of between R10 to R50 million.
- Medium to large enterprises (M&Ls), which are businesses with an annual turnover of more than R50 million.
BEE Shortcuts Lead to a Dead-End
Whilst some companies create fraudulent compliance certificates in order to avoid having to comply with the BEE codes, others simply altered the dates on their out-of-date legitimate BEE certificates to avoid the costs involved in having to renew a certificate. In one case, a billion Rand corporation reported their annual turnover to be less than R5 million in order to secure BEE exemption. Fraudulent practices like these have caused experts to estimate that ‘up to 5%’ of all BEE certificates are invalid.
The penalties for a business being found not BEE compliant are hefty. These penalties, enshrined in the Employment Equity Act, can be anywhere between R1.5 million and up to 10% of an employer’s annual turnover, depending on the nature and frequency of the non-compliance. Ultimately, if a business fails their annual BEE Compliance Audit due to substandard BEE suppliers, the large financial investment made in order to ensure compliance is lost.
LFP Makes BEE Hassle-Free
Louis explains that the LFP Group was born out of exactly this. “Our brand is built on credibility and a clear understanding of the industry”.
As an easy way to determine your businesses required level of BEE compliance in accordance with these Codes, LFP recently launched SA’s first free BEE Management Tool. “This user-friendly service allows you to analyse your company’s scorecard, calculate your current points and plan your company’s BEE requirements going forward” says Louis.
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