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The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur Of The Year Winner Announced

The 2016 winner of the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award is Nqobile Nkosi, owner of NQ Jewellery Design Services, based in Soweto, which was announced on 20 October at a gala banquet at the group’s Riverside Sun Resort on the banks of the Vaal River in Vanderbijlpark.

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The 2016 winner of the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award is Nqobile Nkosi, owner of NQ Jewellery Design Services, based in Soweto, which was announced on 20 October at a gala banquet at the group’s Riverside Sun Resort on the banks of the Vaal River in Vanderbijlpark.

The event was attended by Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, who gave the keynote address and attended the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs National Supplier Showcase Exhibition on Friday 21 October.

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Rebone Sesoko, Candy Tothill, NQ and Marcel von Aulock

Says Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s GM of Corporate Affairs, “Our wholehearted congratulations go to Nqobile on his worthy win. In his role as the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year, Nqobile will serve as an inspiring role model to other entrepreneurs, and set an example of what can be achieved when one perseveres to overcome obstacles and challenges. Our Entrepreneur of the Year winners become ambassadors for the programme for the following year; they talk about their experiences, their secrets to success, as well as the programme, and they promote their own businesses. We welcome Nqobile as our seventh ambassador and we have no doubt he will be an inspiration and contribute to the development of other SMMEs in South Africa.”

Among the prizes that Nqobile won were R30 000 from Tsogo Sun, a business bursary from Tsheto Leadership Academy valued at R20 000, and a professional business image experience from tweak&STYLE valued at R15 000.

Related: Become A Master Of Entrepreneurship Through Wits Business School

A turn of events saw Nqobile launching into jewellery design and manufacturing. He originally had plans to become an electrical engineer, but when funds ran out, he started a two-year course in jewellery design and manufacturing at the Soweto Jewellery School – and so started on the path to establishing his own jewellery design company. He registered his company in 2013 and subsequently attorney Jerry Nkeli invested in it and became chairman of Nqobile’s company, and his mentor. NQ Jewellery Design Services is Soweto’s first jewellery manufacturing and retail business. It employs six people, all from Soweto, including two disabled interns who are being financially supported by HopeFund in France.

Nqobile joined Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs last year. Tsogo Sun is working with him to establish a more sustainable and consistent income stream, determining the feasibility of opening a jewellery outlet for his company at Gold Reef City Theme Park, and assisting with other potential plans to grow market access.

The awards dinner is part of the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs conference that includes an intensive business workshop as well as a National Supplier Showcase where the entrepreneurs exhibited their products and services to potential customers, giving them access to new markets.

The four-day conference represents the successful completion of a year-long programme that started in November last year when the new intake of businesses was inducted into the full year development programme. They were each allocated a business coach and a personal life coach to help them close the gaps in their businesses and to develop themselves as the people running them. This one-on-one coaching is customised according to each entrepreneur’s needs. In addition, business foundation skills training was given to the entrepreneurs in their provinces.

Tsogo Sun delivers the Entrepreneurs programme with the support of several strategic partners. These include Carlson Wagonlit Travel, which has been a long time contributor to the beneficiaries of the programme for the past seven years and funds some of the bursaries for the University of Cape Town Guesthouse Management and Small Business Management courses; and Queen Ramotsehoa, whose company, Tsheto Leadership Academy, provides a repertoire of coaching and business mastery services for personal and enterprise development to the entrepreneurs. Adds Tothill, “Coaches from Tsheto Leadership Academy work with our entrepreneurs throughout the year. We’ve been impressed with the powerful impact that this coaching has had on the entrepreneurs’ confidence and thinking, leading to exciting development within many of their businesses.” Colour Accounting gives financial management training to the entrepreneurs.

To enter the Entrepreneur of the Year competition, the eligible entrepreneurs, which included a total of 152 Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs and Alumni who are benefitting from the development programme, were required to complete a comprehensive entry form.

Related: Is Entrepreneurship Dying In SA

These were shortlisted and five finalists were selected, using a stringent evaluation method that included assessing performance in the programme, financial performance, customer knowledge, marketing, innovation efforts, job creation, contributions to the greater community, potential for growth, and overall sustainability.

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Tsogo Sun 5 finalists waiting for the announcement

The finalists were then interviewed by a panel of nine judges: Marcel von Aulock, CEO of Tsogo Sun; Vusi Dlamini, Group HR Director of Tsogo Sun; Laurelle McDonald, Corporate Finance Manager of Tsogo Sun; Ravi Nadasen, Tsogo Sun Operations Director; Ella Bella Leite, Founder of Generation Earth; Adriaan Groenewald, CEO and Co-founder of Leadership Platform; Carol Sanderson, 2014 winner and owner of Casambo Exclusive Guest Lodge; Emmah Makatu, 2013 winner and owner of Zwinoni Lodge; and Salome Tshungu, 2012 winner and owner of The Orchards.

Tothill says participation in the programme is open to all South African businesses with an annual turnover of less than R50 million. There are three channels through which businesses can join the programme: the HCI Supplier Club (Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited is the key shareholder of Tsogo Sun); Tsogo Sun’s Supplier Showcases, where entrepreneurs with potential for growth are identified by Tsogo Sun and invited to join the programme; and the Department of Tourism and tourism agencies that nominate businesses for evaluation for inclusion by Tsogo Sun.

“It’s essential for big business to get involved in small business development in order to boost job creation and the economy,” Tothill notes.

“We’re proud of what our Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs are accomplishing, often against the odds, and of what we can do to help them grow. The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is our way of acknowledging their hard work and significant achievements.”

Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs by numbers

  • 180 beneficiaries are supported nationally by the programme
  • 152 are enrolled in development
  • 82% are black South African women
  • 74% have graduated to the Alumni phase and have trained to become mentors to new entrepreneurs
  • 47 businesses in the Alumni phase have expanded their operations as a result of the programme
  • 126 have successfully completed the UCT Business Management Course funded by the programme
  • R84 million was the group’s combined spend on enterprise and supplier development for the past year, of which R14million was spent on enterprise development beneficiaries and R70million on supplier development beneficiaries

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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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