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Support for Highflying Entrepreneurs from Specialised SEDA Programme

Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, launches Government’s new SME development programme which will focus on high potential entities and handhold them to reach desired levels of growth. The enterprise acceleration programme aims to take 200 promising entrepreneurs and growth orientated enterprises per year to new heights with an intensive support strategy.

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Be a Gazelle

The Government encourages Small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) with high growth potential to apply for the new National Gazelles programme.

The programme, launched today and will be part of the offering by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), aims to identify and ramp up small businesses which have already shown that they have the potential to hold their own and compete effectively in their sectors. Seda reports to the DSBD.

Related: Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda)

“Our approach ensures that we provide support at the various stages of the growth cycle of the small business. The National Gazelles intervention is post start-up, and ensures that growth businesses get support when they most need it,” says Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu.

“This is our flagship programme and will impact on all provinces, and include the participation of Provincial governments and national agencies; business associations and academic institutions as we ensure all stakeholders support the National Gazelles”.

She stressed that support for other entities will continue as usual. “SMEs are vital in achieving the growth and employment creation of our economy,” she ended.

Become tomorrow’s industrialists

Seda Chairman Dr Ivor Zwane says: “The Gazelles initiative offers a unique and integrated business growth acceleration program. It is designed for business owners who have successfully navigated the start-up phase, and who are now positioned for growth. We must help high growth small businesses become tomorrow’s industrialists and medium-sized companies and thus contribute with the curbing of unemployment and poverty in our communities.”

The President’s Gazelles

The programme is in line with the latest in international best practice in SME development. Every year, 200 SMEs will be selected through an assessment process in all provinces. The assessment will be done by Ernst and Young and KPMG through an open, rigorous and credible on-line application process.

From the 200, who will be known as the National Gazelles, will be selected the top 40, who will then be known as the President’s Gazelles. Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo are the auditors for the programme.

The participation of the three auditing firms ensures credence and a process that is fair and above board. The process will be followed each year. At the heart of the programme is a Gazelles High Care Platform (GHCP), consisting of specialist business development services providers, will then provide services to these entities.

By identifying and supporting high-growth SMEs, while at the same time supporting mostly black-owned value-adding and manufacture-focused enterprises, the GHCP enhances their processes, infrastructure and managerial skills, access to markets, and general productive capacity.

It specifically searches for and supports resilient black owned businesses that face market access challenges due in part to the dominance of entrenched established businesses.

High potential businesses that can compete

The programme was designed by Dr Thami Mazwai. He is Resident Executive at Wits Business School, and adjunct Professor at the universities of Fort Hare and Western Cape.

“The programme deals with the reality on the ground to achieve the future,” says Dr Mazwai. According to the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor South Africa report, total entrepreneurial activity (TEA) in businesses of less than 42 months was at 9.1% but for businesses of over 42 months it was at 2.9%.

Related: Government Funding and Grants for Small Businesses

TEA measures the participation of adults in small businesses. This suggests that South Africa has a high fatality rates and low graduation rates.

It is these low graduation rates that prompted Dr Mazwai to investigate what other countries were doing. This involved an extensive research that started in 2010 and include him presenting a paper in an international small business conference.

Extensive consultations and discussions followed with Seda and the Department of Trade and Industry, then the custodian of small business support. The dti also instituted peer review sessions which included experts from the public and private sectors, and academia.

“Being a Gazelle means that your business will be seen as a professional, growing and high-potential business – one which operates to a high standard and can compete effectively in the market,” adds Dr Zwane.

“This prestige will also assist it in securing new business. Gazelles will receive specialist advice, business opportunities and be encouraged to work together to grow.

SME’s with a high growth potential can apply online at: https://www.nationalgazelles.org.za/register

For more information, or to apply for the National Gazelles programme, visit: https://www.nationalgazelles.org.za/.

Interested SMEs can also follow programme updates on Facebook and LinkedIn:

To apply for the programme, SMEs need to meet the following criteria:

  • Owned and operated by South Africans
  • Trading for more than two years
  • Turnover of between R1m and R30m
  • Operating in one of the following industry sectors (selected in line with the National Development Plan and other government development plans):

* Agriculture and Agri-processing; * Construction; * Energy and the Green Economy; * Health and Bio-Sciences; * Information and Communication Technologies; * Manufacturing; * Media, Marketing and Creative; * Mining, Metals and Engineering; * Tourism; and * Transport and Logistics.

Businesses in other sectors may enter and will be accepted on a case-by-case basis, subject to their score.

Franchises or branches of major corporations do not qualify.

The process commences with a rigorous business analysis and development roadmap, which sets the scene for an integrated delivery of business development support, planned, coordinated and monitored by the Gazelles project team.

The emphasis of the programme is on ensuring that each Gazelle business has an effective growth strategy, combined with access to opportunities, markets and networks, supported by technical and operational advice to help “make it happen”.

As stated Audit firms EY, KPMG and Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo are tasked with ensuring the process is fair.

The 5 pillars of the programme include:

  • A strict assessment process to ensure those with growth prospects are selected
  • Inclusivity as the programme involves the private sector, government, academia and overseas development agencies
  • High powered support platform consisting of specialist advisors
  • Relevant incentives and a 24 hour helpline
  • World class interventions based on local realities.

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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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