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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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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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