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Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur Of The Year Finalists Announced

Focus on entrepreneurial growth continues to increase in South Africa as unemployment climbed to 27.7% in the second quarter of 2017.

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Focus on entrepreneurial growth continues to increase in South Africa as unemployment climbed to 27.7% in the second quarter of 2017. The Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute’s 2017 report, The entrepreneurial ecosystem of South Africa, states that while bottlenecks do exist, such as large-firm dominance, cultural perceptions of entrepreneurship, and structural inequality, “evidence suggests that several targeted actions could address key bottlenecks and further improve the entrepreneurship ecosystem in South Africa”.

It is within this unfolding environment that the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme was established in 2005, to contribute to employment creation, and towards the growth of the South African economy. The programme comprehensively supports emerging businesses in the tourism sector and other industries throughout the country.

Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs holds an annual Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award competition for entrepreneurs and alumni benefitting from the development programme – this year 200 were eligible to enter.

Entrants complete a comprehensive entry form, which then goes through a stringent evaluation that includes 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.

Related: How To Start A Business With No Money

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Five 2017 finalists were selected:

  1. Devina Dawkinum, Gemkids Catch-up Programme, from KwaZulu-Natal
  2. Hezron Louw, Sumting Fresh restaurant and gourmet street food, Gauteng
  3. Nicole Msibi, Before Time Indlondlo Events, catering and events equipment and décor hire, Gauteng
  4. Noli Mini, Relax Spas mobile health spa company, Western Cape
  5. Ronnie Nemukula, Ronem Maintenance Solutions, engineering services in construction, repairs and maintenance, Mpumalanga.

Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s GM of Corporate Affairs, congratulated the finalists and wished them luck for the next stage of judging, which will be done by a panel of influential South Africans in business and society, who will rate the finalists using a process that evaluates business performance, self-confidence, presentation, professionalism, knowledge, and overall impression.

“Our finalists represent a diverse range of businesses and come from four different provinces, illustrating the growing reach and impact of our entrepreneurs programme. It is encouraging to see the innovative and industrious methods that they have employed to succeed in their businesses in these challenging economic times, and we are excited to be able to give them this wonderful Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs Award platform which promises to place them squarely on the map for future success.”

The 2017 winner will be announced at the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Awards dinner on 26 October at Southern Sun Pretoria. Prizes for the winner include R50 000 from Tsogo Sun and a bursary valued at R30 000 from Tsheto Leadership Academy. In addition, the winner will fulfil the important role of being an ambassador for Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs for the year.

This will involve travelling around the country with the Tsogo Sun Corporate Affairs team delivering empowerment and citizenship seminars, public speaking engagements, mentoring other small businesses, and serving as a role model for young entrepreneurs and emerging enterprises. The 2016 winner of the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award was Nqobile Nkosi, owner of NQ Jewellery Design Services, based in Soweto, who has spent an active and successful year as an ambassador.

Related: New Ways SMEs Can Find Funding

“Our far-reaching national enterprise and supplier development initiatives provide business and leadership skills, various business benefits such as equipment and advertising, and preferential procurement opportunities to qualifying predominantly black-owned small enterprises and emerging micro-enterprises. As far as possible, the percentage of black-owned businesses supported is aligned with the country’s economically active population statistics,” says Tothill.

200 emerging businesses are enrolled in the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs full-year development programme, which delivers business foundation skills training, leadership coaching, mentorship, and business benefits such as equipment, discounts, and television advertising. Additionally, 125 SMMEs are supported with business benefits through an ESD programme called the HCI Supplier Club which Tsogo Sun runs in partnership with majority shareholder, HCI Limited.

Of the enrolled Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs, 63% have successfully completed University of Cape Town Business Management Courses presented in collaboration with education company, GetSmarter, co-funded by programme partner CarlsonWagonlit Travel and Tsogo Sun.

Vusi Dlamini, Tsogo Sun’s Group HR Director, says, “We’re very proud as a group of the extent of the progress and achievements of Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs.  The value of the programme is significant – to the entrepreneurs, to the group, and to the greater economy.”

He adds that 25% of the businesses enrolled in the programme have expanded their operations as a result of Tsogo Sun’s interventions, and that each small business employs between one and 50 staff, and reaches up to 30 people in the value chain.

“The programme showcases good work by the entrepreneurs, while also assisting participants with skills development and exposure to the markets that Tsogo Sun serves; and it helps them build self-confidence and success. It’s a worthwhile programme that empowers entrepreneurs to hold their own in the business world.”

Tsogo Sun’s portfolio includes over 100 hotels and 14 casino and entertainment destinations throughout South Africa, Africa, the Seychelles and Abu Dhabi. For further information, visit tsogosun.com, follow on Twitter and Instagram @TsogoSun or like on Facebook /TsogoSun.

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3 Stealthy Tax Hikes Payroll Managers And Employees Need To Take Note Of

By Rob Cooper, tax expert at Sage, and chairman of the Payroll Authors Group of South Africa

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“Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.” 

The adage summarises the difficult decisions government and the Finance Minister faced when balancing the country’s books, rescuing state-owned enterprises, and reviving the growth of our economy. Given the economic pressure that most taxpayers are facing, government ideally needed to achieve all of that without direct increases to personal income tax in the most recent Budget Speech.

Personal income tax has comprised at least a third of South Africa’s total tax revenue in recent tax years, despite growing unemployment. The 2019 Budget, presented in February, forecasts that personal income tax will account for nearly 39% of tax collected during the upcoming (2019/20) tax year. Given that we are in an election year and that the tax base is fragile, it’s not surprising that the Finance Minister and the National Treasury avoided direct increases to the statutory tax tables used to calculate PAYE for employees in the budget.

Nonetheless, government has made inflation work in its favour to impose some tax increases by stealth. Here are three ways government is raising more revenue without direct tax increases:

1. Bracket creep

The statutory tax tables used by payrolls and employers have not been changed for 2019/20, nor have the brackets been adjusted for inflation. This effectively amounts to an indirect tax increase that will yield a revenue saving of approximately R12.8 billion for government’s coffers.

It is not unusual for government to use ‘bracket creep’ to effectively raise more revenue. But unlike previous tax years, even low- and middle-income earners are not getting much relief. Rebates and the tax threshold are being increased by small amounts to allow some relief, but many people this year will feel the pain as inflationary salary increases push them into a higher tax bracket.

2. Medical aid credit not adjusted for inflation 

As proposed in the 2018 Budget, the Finance Minister did not apply an inflationary increase to the Medical Tax Credit, which allowed him to raise an extra R1 billion in revenue for the year. Surprisingly, these funds will be allocated to general tax revenue rather than ring-fenced for healthcare. In previous tax years, revenue generated from below-inflation increases on medical scheme credits was used to fund National Health Insurance (NHI) pilot projects.

There is still no clarity on how the NHI is going to be funded except for a general statement that the funding model is a problem for the National Treasury to solve, and that the principles of cross-subsidisation will apply. One wonders if any real progress will be made soon, given the fiscal constraints government faces.

3. Business travel deduction left untouched

The Budget leaves the per-kilometre cost rates used to determine tax deductions for business travel untouched. By not increasing travel rates to account for inflation, government effectively increases income tax collection at the cost of the taxpayer. This will be a blow for people who need to claim from their employers for business travel in their personal vehicles. This change has slipped through largely unnoticed and the budget does not provide numbers for the expected increase in tax revenue.

Closing words

Amid political turmoil and uncertainty, the Finance Minister presented a balanced budget for 2019/20 that offers hope for the future along with some tough love. With government taking steps to accelerate economic growth and improve revenue collection, we should hopefully see a steady improvement in government finances, which will translate into less pressure on the taxpayer in future years.

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Entrepreneur Today

SMEs: Staying On The Right Side Of The Taxman

Remaining SARS compliant can be a constant challenge for small- to medium-enterprises (SMEs), especially when they are trying to focus on growing their businesses and streamlining their operations.

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EasyBiz Managing Director, Gary Epstein, says submitting taxes can be a seamless process that does not have to take up more time than is necessary. “If business owners understand what is required of them and they put a few processes into place to deal with their tax submissions properly, their lives will be so much easier.”

What are the top three considerations for SMEs when submitting tax returns?

“Firstly,” says Epstein, “SARS returns must be accurate and submitted in terms of the relevant Act. Secondly, returns should be submitted and paid on time to avoid unnecessary penalties and interest, and thirdly, business owners must follow up on queries issued by SARS. “Do not ignore these queries, act on them as soon as possible”.

What are the major SARS submission deadlines for SMEs?

Epstein points out that small business owners need to adhere to various tax deadlines, each with their own particular dates for submission. “It is important that business owners diarise the dates (and set advance reminders for themselves) and/or enlist the services of an accountant or financial adviser to help them keep abreast of requirements.”

Value-added tax (VAT)

VAT payments need to be submitted in the VAT period allocated to the business, according to various categories and ending on the last day of a calendar month. This may mean making payments once a month, once every two months, once every six months or annually, depending on the category.

Provisional taxes

Provisional tax should be submitted at the end of August (first provisional) and at the end of February (second provisional) – for February year-end companies.

Employee taxes

In addition to submitting an annual reconciliation (EMP501) for the period 1 March to end of February for Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), Skills Development Levy (SDL) and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), employee tax, in the form of an EMP201 return, needs to be submitted by the seventh of every month.

When can SMEs get extensions and is it worth it?

Epstein says SMEs can apply for various extensions, but these are subject to the Income Tax Act and Tax Administration Act.

“It is best for SMEs to consult their tax professionals to get advice regarding extensions for their businesses.”

What is SARS not flexible about?

SARS is not flexible when it comes to late returns and late payments.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for SME owners to ensure their tax returns are submitted on time. In this way, they will avoid the inconvenience and expense of additional fines and interest,” notes Epstein.

What skills do SMEs need in their organisations to be able to submit to SARS efficiently?

Business owners often don’t have the time or expertise to deal with tax submissions throughout the year. If the business cannot afford to employ a full-time accountant or financial services expert, it would do well to outsource its tax requirements to a registered tax practitioner.

“I would recommend that even if they are not submitting the tax returns themselves, business owners should have a broad understanding of the tax regulations and what is expected of them. There is a lot of helpful information on the various Acts and tax requirements on SARS’ website,” says Epstein.

How does the right software help SMEs remain SARS compliant?

SME’s (and their accountants’) jobs can be made easier by using reliable accounting software to calculate accurate VAT reports. These reports are only as accurate as the data entered into them, which means care needs to be taken when inputting data into the accounting programme. Epstein says a good accounting software package must be reliable, easy to use and functional.

“SMEs need to check that the software has thorough reporting capabilities and can interface with other software solutions. Of course, it is also important to find out whether the software is locally supported by the vendor or not.”

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4 Dangers Of Business Under-insurance

A common short-term insurance peril that many SMEs face when submitting a claim following an insured event is the risk of being underinsured.

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Malesela Maupa, Head of Products and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers says, many small business owners mistakenly believe that by merely having a short-term insurance policy in place they are adequately protected against unforeseen events.

“This is technically correct provided that the business is covered for the full replacement value of the items insured. However, in circumstances where the sum insured does not cover the full replacement value or material loss of the item insured, the business is underinsured,” explains Maupa, as he unpacks the dangers of business underinsurance:

1. Financial loss

The most common risk is financial loss on the part of the business. If the business is underinsured or the indemnity period understated, the short-term insurance policy will only pay out the sum insured for the stated indemnity period as stated in the schedule, with the business owner having to provide for the shortfall. This often leads to cash flow challenges, impacting profit margins or rendering it difficult for the business to recover following the financial loss.

2. Reputational damage

Should an underinsured business not have sufficient funds to replace a key business activity or critical component following a loss, this may impact its ability to fulfil its contractual obligations, leading to a loss of business or market share, and irreparable reputational damage in the worst-case scenario.

3. Legal action

A small business also faces the risk of customers or clients taking legal action against it, should it fail to deliver on goods and services following a loss or be unable to honour its financial commitments that they committed to prior to the loss.

4. Survival of the business

A catastrophic event such as fire, which could result in the loss of stock or company equipment and documentation, could threaten the survival of a small business that is not yet fully established, if the business assets are not adequately insured.

Working with an experienced short-term insurance broker or insurer is essential when taking up short-term insurance to ensure that business contents are covered for their full replacement value.

Furthermore, depending on the nature of the business or item insured, the policy should be reviewed on a regular basis to avoid underinsurance as the value of items often change overtime due to fluctuations in economic activity. Where it’s necessary, evaluation certificates need to be kept up to date.

“Lastly, SMEs should ensure that the sum insured does not exceed the replacement value, which would lead to over insurance. Should a business submit a claim following a loss, the insurer would only pay out the replacement value, regardless of the higher sum insured,” concludes Maupa.

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