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Shell Launches Smarter Energy Collaboration To Help Further Develop Cleaner Energy Solutions For Communities

To support innovation and entrepreneurship locally, Shell South Africa leverages Shell LiveWIRE, a global social investment programme, which enables young people to start their own businesses and create employment in communities.

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The Shell #Makethefuture campaign is highlighting the need for greater global collaboration to create more and cleaner energy solutions, by helping to bring to life innovations from six smart energy start-ups.

Technologies from the bright energy businesses will be showcased in Rio de Janeiro’s Santa Marta community this month, before they are installed in communities that require urgent access to cleaner energy.

The entrepreneurs’ innovations are being brought together in Santa Marta as it is benefitting from an installation by Insolar, a solar energy start-up that is one of the featured entrepreneurs being supported by Shell.

Insolar is fitting photovoltaic panels to some of Santa Marta’s most widely used community centres, including a samba school and crèche, which are central to the life of the community’s 8,000 residents.

Young Brazilian entrepreneur Henrique Drumond who founded Insolar sees the project as a significant step in his mission to help to bring cleaner energy to Brazil, where solar accounts for only 0.02 per cent of the energy mix, with only 1,731 small-scale solar systems connected to its grid – despite more than 2,000 hours of sunlight blazing on the country each year.

Related: Become A Green Power Expert With Ellies Electronics

In Rio alone, an estimated 1.4 million residents of the city’s 763 favelas are affected by rising energy prices and unreliable power supply.

The Insolar installation is expected to generate the equivalent of 185,000 days of free, clean power over the lifetime of the solar panels.

Showcasing bright energy technologies in Rio kick-starts a global ‘energy relay’ to show collaboration with leading energy entrepreneurs is vital to help to secure a bright energy future, and to invite the world to support and participate in the creation of smart energy solutions.

The innovations that will be displayed in Santa Marta alongside Insolar include:

  • bio-bean – which explores how to reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions from transport by turning coffee dregs into a sustainable transport fuel,
  • Capture Mobility – demonstrates how roadside turbulence from cars and trucks can generate clean power for local communities,
  • GravityLight – improves health and wellbeing in energy deprived communities by using a simple   pulley and weight system to generate electricity,
  • MotionECO – uses waste cooking oil to help to create a market for renewable diesel in China (in transport, public services and logistics) and discourage the harmful reuse of cooking oil, and
  • Pavegen – converts power from footsteps into renewable energy that can power a community

Joining the #makethefuture movement as ambassadors are six award-winning international musicians: Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, Brazilian singer Luan Santana, British performer

Pixie Lott, American DJ/Producer Steve Aoki, China’s pop star Tan WeiWei and Nigerian idol Yemi Alade.

The artists are uniting with the energy entrepreneurs and Shell to help shine a light on the worldwide need for access to more and cleaner energy.

A new interactive music video will also showcase each of the smart energy innovations.

Shell and the ambassadors are inviting people to show support for the Insolar project to help bring solar power to communities and homes in Brazil. You can sign the pledge by visiting www.shell.com/showyoursupport.

Proceeds from sales of Luan Santana’s latest DVD, 1977, will go towards the Insolar project to help to fund the installation of more solar panels in low-income communities.

Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said: “I’m personally inspired by the ingenuity of these innovators, and the ambition to forge a brighter energy future for our planet. Collaboration and entrepreneurialism are essential to finding energy solutions that can enable development and a decent way of life for people across the world while reducing carbon dioxide emissions. These values are central to our #makethefuture campaign to help achieve a better energy future together.”

Related: Greening South Africa will Create Jobs

Insolar director Henrique Drumond said: “My vision was to create a social enterprise that provides communities with a cleaner source of energy. On my journey through the Shell programmes that support entrepreneurs, including Shell Iniciativa Jovem, and the Accelerator, the company has always supported this vision. I am thrilled to see this collaboration brought to life in Rio. We hope Santa Marta will be an inspiration to other bright minds and unlock more answers to tomorrow’s energy challenges in communities, cities and countries around the world.”

The launch of the global ‘energy relay’ will be celebrated on September 28 with some of the #makethefuture ambassadors performing a series of concerts at the heart of the Santa Marta community, during which the music video for the Best Day of My Life will be premiered.

In October, #makethefuture will move on to Kenya, where Shell is working with GravityLight – a UK-based start-up that has developed a gravity-powered lamp designed to improve health and wellness across Kenya by bringing clean, affordable light to low income homes.

The concert celebrating #makethefuture in Santa Marta and the Best Day of My Life music video will be available on September 28 via facebook.com/Shell.

Jennifer Hudson said: “We all face moments of adversity in life and, often times, it’s simply the hand one has been dealt. But there is so much that we can do to support one another as a unified force and that is just one of the many reasons why I’m supporting the Santa Marta community. My son David turned seven this year, and I want him to grow up and inherit a planet where everyone is working together on one accord for the greater good.”

Luan Santana added: “I am honoured to be one of the six artists participating in this project. I’m committed to make my voice echo Shell and the entrepreneurs’ social action. Music produces an exchange of energy between audience and artist, and I hope #makethefuture rocks the five continents as it takes its energy relay around the world.”

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Surge In South Africans Swopping Their Cars For Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.

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The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.

As South Africans are itching to get their hands on the digital currency, there’s been an increase in swops and bitcoin-only sales on Gumtree.co.za, says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Core at Gumtree. “This is particularly true for high-value items like cars, bikes and boats. Many sellers are willing to take a gamble with their assets in hopes of a large pay-out.”

This is on trend with other marketplaces. In the United States a McLaren 720S was put up for sale in exchange for 25 bitcoin, a theoretical value of $425,000.

Related: 11 Things You Need To Know About Bitcoin

While Gumtree does not allow for the sale of bitcoin miners or services, Cobbledick says that customers can exchange goods for bitcoin on the site, but should be fully aware of the risks. “Bitcoin is a volatile currency, so while you could easily see a 50% increase in your investment, you could just as easily end up with nothing. It’s up to the seller to decide if they are willing and able to take a gamble.”

Some cars currently up for sale in exchange for bitcoin includes a Land Rover Defender, BMW X5 and a rare 1970 Mercury Cougar V8.

“There are also a few other sellers accepting bitcoin in exchange for Kruger Rands,” says Cobbledick. “Perhaps proving that gold as a store of value is falling out of vogue.”

But the most unusual swop would have to go to an entrepreneurial seller who is offering carnivorous plants in exchange for the cryptocurrency.

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Zando Sold 80 Items A Minute During Black Friday – By Doing This

Black Friday has brought immense success for numerous local online retailers – reflecting the potential of e-commerce in South Africa. Why not learn from Zando’s success in 2017 to ensure your success during the 2018 Black Friday sales season?

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For South African e-retailers, Black Friday is a big sales event. But you need to ensure you’re prepared for the web traffic and that your e-commerce store can handle the logistics of thousands of orders.

zando-sascha-breussAccording to Zando, they experience 100% up-time during Black Friday and less than a week after the season sales event, 95% of customer orders have already been shipped.

To help fellow e-tailers perform better next year, Zando’s CEO, Sascha Breuss answers some key questions about the company’s preparations and learnings around Black Friday:

1. How did you encourage greater sales on Black Friday?

Over the last few years Black Friday has developed a following in South Africa, so we benefitted from the existing hype around it. We didn’t focus too much on upfront marketing, but put our energy into flawless execution and of course great deals for the customers.

Related: The Evolution Of Retail: From Corner Store To Artificial Intelligence

2. How much planning went into ensuring your store platform ran at optimum?

The real ‘hot phase’ started with the first day of November when our IT department went into a ‘feature freeze’ and we focused 100% on site-stability and scalability.

We went through some intense testing of our site with loads up to 15 times the average daily amount of visitors. So, when the actual day came, we were confident in our systems.

3. How were you able to successfully co-ordinate logistics during Black Friday?

Early preparation and experience from past years have been the key to success. We increased our head count in both Warehouse and Customer Service well in advance so that we could rely on well-trained and experienced colleagues come Black Friday.

4. How did you ensure a seamless experience between your website and your app?

We know that our customers are browsing Zando on all platforms, desktop, mobile and app so we implemented some handy features to make the transition between each platform easier. For example, shared baskets and wish lists are now a feature. Some of the deals however have been app-only and sometimes we reward our app users with early access to shop the best deals. So it is definitely worth it to download our app.

Related: How SA’s Online Retailers Can Cash In On Black Friday Fever

5. How did you scale your entire operation for a single event?

This is easy to summarise in one word – TEAMWORK. The Zando staff did an amazing job and were the backbone of our success. Not only did they put the required extra hours in and worked hard until the job was done, but they also showed real team-spirit. When you called our Customer Service during Black Friday it’s very possible that you spoke to someone in our HR, Social Media or Legal team who helped out answering calls.

6. How did your marketing campaign affect traffic on your platforms?

The most surprising element was probably the high volume of traffic that we saw during the night. Visits started to increase every minute before midnight and during the first two hours of the day we saw peaks that were higher than on our strongest week day. This traffic never dropped with a lot of orders being placed between 2am and 3am on Black Friday.

7. How did your technology systems handle the influx of shopper traffic?

In the build up to Black Friday we added additional server capacity and changed the way we handled the flow of traffic. This made us very flexible to switch on additional capacity wherever required. So it was a combination of intensive preparation, close monitoring and ultimately very little sleep for a couple of days to ensure we monitored our system health 24 hours a day.

8. What was your sales strategy?

For us everything that had a discount of 40%-80%, and was still a relevant and recent look, qualified for Black Friday 2017. Once these criteria were fulfilled we made sure that we had sufficient stock available – in some cases the demand was so high that we brought on additional stock from our suppliers during the Black Friday weekend.

Related: 5 Last-Minute Tips For Small Retailers To Boost Black Friday Sales

9. What were your biggest learnings?

We have been very successful in our approach to remain true to the idea of Black Friday – offering great deals on relevant product and not outdated clearance ranges. The customer is very educated and will identify a good deal, and we have seen consumers’ negative comments on stores who used Black Friday solely as a warehouse clearance opportunity.

10. What surprised you about Zando’s success during Black Friday?

Thanks to extensive preparation we have been able to achieve an uptime of 100% for the full month of November. We also kept the deliveries and returns 100% free regardless of discount or basket size. It seems like our customers appreciated this approach and we have actually seen very positive sales numbers after Black Friday while we expected a drop. I believe the full focus and investment on the Customer Experience has worked for us.

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Team Resolutions: 11 Tips To Uncover Passion And Potential In New Hires

If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires.

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If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires says Michelle Seko, Talent Acquisition Manger at Sage Africa & Middle East.

The importance of a good candidate experience cannot be underestimated. Research has shown that 88% of job applicants are more likely to buy from a company if they’ve had a positive experience when applying for work there. Research has also shown that candidates talk about their experiences with a company, regardless of whether they got the job. Some candidates would even refer a friend to the company and others will re-apply for a future role, if the experience was a good one.

Research also found that:

Related: Why You Should (Seriously) Stop Hiring People

Win-win

Businesses enter into a relationship with a new hire the moment they sign on the dotted line. And, as with any relationship, it will only flourish if built on trust, respect and a commitment to self-improvement.

When you set new hires up for personal success, the outcomes naturally feed into your business’ success, which means you both win.

Here are a few ideas to get the most out of your new hires:

Make them feel welcome

Introduce them to the people they’ll be working with as soon as possible so that they immediately feel part of a team. At Sage, we partner new hires with a buddy, or Sage Ambassador, who helps them settle in and meet new people, contributing to the positive on-boarding experience.

Focus on the benefits

Compelling benefits not only attract the best candidates but also boost loyalty and job satisfaction. People are motivated by different things: one person might value flexi-time while another could place more importance on growth opportunities or bonuses. Focus on the benefits that align with the individual’s values when onboarding.

Set goals early and outline a plan to achieve them

This keeps your team focused, especially if they will be rewarded for achieving their goals.

Assess performance

Monthly, at least. Adjust goals and plans where necessary, reward good performance, introduce new challenges and deal with issues promptly.

Show genuine interest

Regular catch-ups and remembering children’s names, for instance, makes people feel appreciated.

Empower them

Let your new hires apply their knowledge to business challenges and offer training opportunities outside of their comfort zones. Reward ideas that help you do things better and faster.

Related: Hiring The Right Person Is Critical When Growing A Business

Encourage collaboration

People thrive when they can learn from others and when they can share their knowledge. Involve experienced team members in the new hire’s training. This is a great way to recognise and appreciate their loyalty and skills.

Be transparent

Do you have difficult clients? Will the new hire have to work overtime? What are the business’s goals? New hires should know what they’re getting into.

Provide solid training on everything from company culture and benefits, to opportunities for growth

The biggest cost associated with training people is the time it takes for them to become productive. But rushing through on-the-job training could lead to a host of other problems, including repeated mistakes and a lack of confidence.

Openly communicate any changes in the business

Manage your team’s expectations and be clear about yours. Allow new hires to question and understand how you do things and to point out errors – their past experience probably gave them new ideas and ways of working that could boost your team’s efficiency and productivity.

Be upbeat

Your mood sets the tone for everyone else. You can have the best product in the world but unless your team is passionate and enthusiastic about that product, you won’t get the results you’re hoping for.

Keeping people motivated and productive is hard work

But if you provide them with the tools, knowledge and support to do their best work and to contribute their best ideas, motivation and productivity will come naturally.

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