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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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The Innovator Trust And Citi Are Searching For Black-Owned Smes Who Are Ready For Growth

The Innovator Trust, an enterprise development organisation, and the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), Africa’s oldest incubator, are calling on Cape Town-based growth-stage ICT entrepreneurs to join the intensive 2-year enterprise development programme.

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The ICT sector has gone from strength to strength and is one of the fastest-growing industries on the African continent. Yet African entrepreneurs are still finding it a difficult business landscape to navigate. That is why The Innovator Trust and CiTi, through exposure, training and mentorship, now aim to equip entrepreneurs and businesses in the sector with tools that will keep them on track, assist them to achieve their goals and create tech leaders of the future.

ICT entrepreneurs in need of mentorship, skills development and business support who have been operating for more than 2 years and are fiercely committed to growing their business, can now apply to the prestigious 2-year Innovator Trust programme, co-developed and run by CiTi at the Woodstock Bandwidth Barn and remotely in Cape Town. Applications close on 22 February and the selected candidates will be announced on 4 March.

The Innovator Trust programme aims to support the: increase annual turnover, equip businesses with the necessary accreditation to remove red tape, as well as increase profitability and number of employees. Get ready to move the dial on your business.

Celebrating its 20th year of supporting entrepreneurs, CiTi currently runs a number of incubation programmes from idea to growth stage. After a very successful first cohort of the programme, completed in 2018, CiTi confirmed a second collaboration with the Innovator Trust to support further Cape Town businesses over the next two years. Applicants need to be in “ICT”, but this has included a broad range of focusses in the past, from IT recruitment, network security to cabling service provider and software solutions.

Related: Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

The programme, designed by CiTi and Innovator Trust, is not to be taken lightly. Monthly training, mentorship sessions with industry experts, and a strong focus on technical improvements means a substantial time and focus commitment by the entrepreneur. But this intensive design enables significant business progression over the two years.

 “Once the entrepreneurs who take part in our Enterprise Development programmes become more established, they turn their focus to growth. This accelerator is especially for entrepreneurs who’ve created businesses with high-growth potential and provides them with the skills to scale at speed and responsibly,” says Tashline Jooste, CEO of the Innovator Trust.

Cape Town was recently confirmed as the Tech Hub of Africa, by an Endeavor Insight Report commissioned by CiTi and partners, presenting growing opportunities for those businesses serious about growth, and with the right support.

“I believe strongly that ICT entrepreneurs are going to be critical to South Africa’s economic growth, which is why we need to focus on equipping these businesses with the skills they need to grow, create jobs and stimulate our economy,” adds Jooste.

In order to be considered for the programme, prospective applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • A company defined in South Africa as an SMME, QSE or EME;
  • Must be operational and trading for two or more years;
  • The business should be at least 51% black-owned;
  • A minimum Level 1 – 4 BBBEE status according to the DTI or ICT Codes;
  • The business must be a registered company with key focus in ICT and be based in Cape Town and surrounding areas.

In addition, applicants will need to supply copies of their company registration, company profile, and annual financial statements along with their BEE certificate and IDs with their applications.

Related: Attention Black Entrepreneurs: Start-Up Funding From Government Grants & Funds

“We had a fantastic experience on the Innovator Trust programme, perhaps most beneficial was the advice and mentorship on our financial management, up-skilling of our team, and establishing a 3-year budget and growth plan for the business. Our advice to entrepreneurs considering the course is “JUST DO IT!!!” The skills and knowledge you gain are invaluable and put us on a serious growth trajectory.” states Jennifer Classen, Founder of Ngaphaya Y2K10, and Participant in the 2015 – 2018 Innovator Trust programme.

Ready to grow your business? Learn more about the programme and submit your application HERE.

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Rocket Challenge Targets Local Coding Skills

The Rocket APT Challenge is open to undergraduate students 18 years of age or older who are currently studying engineering, science, or technology at an accredited college or university.

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Addressing the growing skills gap within software development, local information technology value added distributor, Axiz has sponsored the Rocket APT Challenge and encouraged 39 students to participate in the regional round of the Rocket.Build coding challenge. This comprises 40% of the total numbers of entries received globally. Hosted by Rocket Software and APT Solutions, this annual challenge provides a forum for participants to develop applications on Rocket’s MultiValue platform.

Colleen Becker, Axiz pre-sales engineer, says that the response to the challenge was exceptional and the company is excited to be part of this global initiative: “This is a fantastic innovation challenge that provides students with an opportunity to hone their coding skills on a leading software platform. South Africa is by far the bigger pool of entrants and we are excited to see who is selected for the global Rocket.Build 2019 Hackathon.”

Participants are required to design an app on Rocket’s MultiValue application platform in support of the challenge theme: ‘Improve your Community’. Consisting of three regions: EMEA, Asia-Pacific, and the Americas, three winners from each region will be selected and awarded a cash prize of:

  • $1,000 (USD) – third place
  • $2,500 (USD) – second place
  • $5,000 (USD) – first place

Related: Want To Take Your Coding To The Next Level? Check Out These 7 Productivity Hacks

The nine developers will also be given an all-expenses-paid trip to Massachusetts, USA in June 2019 to participate in Rocket.Build 2019, where they will compete in teams of three to decide the global winner of the Rocket APT Challenge. The winning team will share a grand prize of $24,000 (USD).

Becker says that this is the first year Axiz is participating and the company will definitely register for the 2020 challenge, recruiting of which starts in September 2019: “We are committed to grow the number of young coders on the Rocket platform. There is a global opportunity for students to graduate into a developing industry and support the growing shortage of MultiValue-certified coders. Participants also stand the chance of receiving an internship from participating partners across all industry sectors.”

The Rocket APT Challenge is open to undergraduate students 18 years of age or older who are currently studying engineering, science, or technology at an accredited college or university.

For more information, contact colleen.becker@axiz.com

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SMEs: Have You Completed Your Financial Planning For 2019?

While small to medium enterprise (SME) owners may not have a great deal of control over South Africa’s broader economic issues, they do have control over how they plan and manage their finances, says EasyBiz Technologies Managing Director, Gary Epstein.

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“The failure of many SMEs to make it past the critical 3.5-year mark is more as a result of their inability to get the fundamentals right, rather than being able to deal with issues such as political uncertainty, crime or credit-rating downgrades.

“Several SMEs do not gain an adequate understanding of their markets or the competition they are up against. In addition, failure to manage their finances properly or to access funding and adapt to changes in the marketplace can also be serious hindrances to success.”

Epstein believes without proper financial planning and management, businesses place themselves on the back foot. “Business owners can only make informed decisions when they have a clear view of what is happening with their finances.”

That’s why having the proper financial management tools in place is so important for start-ups and SMEs. “At EasyBiz Technologies, we offer accounting solutions that are aimed at helping businesses manage their finances properly and placing them on a sound financial footing,” adds Epstein.

Tangible outcomes of a good system include increased productivity, reduced monthly expenses, improved accuracy, simplified tax compliance and better financial security. An effective system can also provide critical business insights and allow business owners to make informed and proactive decisions.

Epstein says efficient accounting solutions can help speed up business processes, affording business owners more time to focus on their core processes and growing their operations. “After all, time and money are the most precious resources when it comes to running a small business.

Related: 6 Steps Of Financial Planning

“Our solutions include analysis tools, report making applications and payroll assistance. In addition, income and expense trackers provide valuable information for tax and audit preparations,” he adds.

Epstein urges SMEs to plan for 2019 if they haven’t done so already. “It’s not too late to prepare for the year ahead and, with the financial year end for many businesses looming, now is the time to get a good system in place.”

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