STARTUP GRIND! (By : Yanga Ziwele (BKCOB Marketing)
In the face of a declining economy, an escalating unemployment rate, and a multitude of other social and economic issues, entrepreneurs often looked to for solutions as they can introduce new and innovative business ideas that can curb some of these issues. Often though, entrepreneurs lack the necessary support and information to see their business ventures through, leading to some start-ups closing within the first three years of operation. Accountant and socio-economic development champion, Vuyo Mcwaiba, identified the Start Up Grind global community for entrepreneurs as an opportunity that could offer support, develop and grow start-up businesses in East London through the sharing of experience and information. “I saw Start Up Grind in Johannesburg and thought it would be a good thing to create for East London, my home town. What we do is host events where we invite entrepreneurs to share their experiences. We also invite a speaker who focusses on a specific topic that is relevant to businesses in a certain sector,” said East London Start Up Grind director, Vuyo Mcwaiba. As clearly stated on their website, Start Up Grind is the largest independent Start Up community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting more than two million entrepreneurs in over 600 chapters. Mcwaiba co-directs the East London Chapter of Start Up Grind with Sibongile Booi, founder of Second Office. The chapter has been running for over a year, and has seen talks which range from three-dimensional printing, the use of information technology in agriculture, and most recently, taking a page out of millennial business practices.
“We get vibrant discussions from attendees. Some of them come with a bit of knowledge of the topics, and some of them gain a completely new set of information. We are now looking at even helping businesses with training in various aspects of business management,” said Mcwaiba. Entrepreneurs looking to learn and grow in today’s dynamic business landscape should definitely become a part of the East London Chapter of Start Up Grind. To get in touch and keep updated about upcoming events, visit www.startupgrind.com/east-london
HARRY’S PRINTERS CELEBRATES 90 YEARS IN BUSINESS (By : Anita Dangazele (BKCOB Marketing Intern)
What started off as a shoe repairs shop almost a century ago, now celebrates 90 years as one of the Eastern Cape’s largest printer. Harry’s was started by Lalloo Harry and his sons, Mohan and Ramlal, the three of them were a family of shoemakers by trade. It was founder, Lalloo Harry’s love for philosophy and religion that would set in motion what became a successful printing business. Lalloo would write hymns and reflections on scriptures that he would send to people throughout the world. This very manner gave birth to the printing business, which initially was a way to distribute his writings. Over time, the nature of the business has grown from being just a printer to Print, Marketing and Communications and IT solutions. This transition is a clear indication of how Harry’s has been able to keep up with the changing needs of the economy as we enter into the fourth industrial revolution. Branching out into Marketing, Communications and IT solutions has not only displayed a good eye for business and risk-taking but the ability to tap into the future. With the rapid changes currently facing our economy businesses should not only keep up but try to anticipate the direction that our economy will take. Technology has had an especially huge impact on the printing industry, which has been in decline for years. Innovation is the cornerstone of what will set apart businesses that ride the wave of change and those that get pulled under with the current. Two things have remained central to the growth of Harry’s: Maintaining good relations with staff as well as remaining innovative. The business employs roughly 200 people in branches across the province, and one in Pretoria. Harry’s is founded on family values and realizes the importance of treating its staff with the necessary respect and appreciation for their service. The company has a core of staff that have been with the company for decades, and who are as committed to the growth and continuing success of the company as the owners. The company believes in looking to the future as innovation has played a key role in ensuring its success, with plans to invest to keep up with the changing needs of the market. The business’ willingness to learn from other experts in the industry has made it possible for Harry’s to be the only South African member of the internationally-acclaimed International Printer’s Network (IPN) which has enabled the business to keep in tune with the latest trends and cutting edge developments in the print industry. Spearheaded by Vrajlal Harry, who has been key to making international connections and exploring what others are doing, the company has grown massively and will hopefully see another 90 years as a leader in the industry.
SAB FOUNDATION REWARDS INNOVATION | The latest SAB Foundation news: www.sabfoundation.co.za
Twenty young entrepreneurs and innovators walked away with over R13-million in cash prizes, courtesy of the SAB Foundation’s Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards held in October this year. As part of its mandate to support entrepreneurs, the foundation initiated the Social innovation awards 9 years ago to find entrepreneurs that offered business solutions to social problems. Three years ago, the disability empowerment awards were introduced as a second category, focussed on bringing forth solutions that will improve the quality of life for disabled persons, and also expose them to employment opportunities. “We define social innovation as business solutions to social problems. We’re looking for businesses that can be sustainable over time, that are trying to solve a social problem in the country, whether it’s in health, education, rural livelihoods, water,” said SAB Foundation Director, Bridgit Evans. “We also found that in the country there isn’t nearly enough support for people with disability, so we wanted to draw attention to the issue and highlight it more, which is why we introduced the second awards category,” she added. This year’s winning innovations include Regenize, a recycling app developed by Chad Robertson and Nkazimlo Miti which won the first-place prize of R1.3-million in the Social innovation Category. The OptiShunt, designed by Dr. Daemon McClunan, and Specialised Seating for Disabled Children by Mpho Mohlolo won joint first place in the Disability Empowerment category, each receiving R1.3Million. McClunan’s Optishut is an implantable device designed to prevent blindness in glaucoma patients, while Mohlolo’s innovation consists of specialised trays and chairs for disabled children. On top of the combined R13 650 000 cash prize, the foundation will also offer various forms of support to each of the 20 winners, ensuring the success of their business models. “Each of them gets assigned a mentor, who will work with them for a period of twelve to eighteen months. They often find this even more helpful than funding. Then we have a 24 hour online business support service provider, which provides them with a whole range of business services, from accounting to legal services, to personal assistance,” Evans said. Those looking to enter next year only have four questions to ask themselves: is my idea innovative? Does it genuinely solve a social problem? Is there a business model? And, does it have the potential to create jobs?
DETSA TO BOOST LOCAL ECONOMIES THROUGH SORGHUM FARMING (By : Yanga Ziwele (BKCOB Marketing)
Prospects of becoming fully-fledged commercial farmers are high for the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal’s emerging farmers as the DIAGEO Empowerment Trust SA (DETSA) continues its drive to boost economic growth and create jobs. In September, DETSA set out to find promising black male and black female farmers who would grow sorghum to supply United National Breweries (UNB), leading manufacturer of traditional African beer in South Africa. Area Agribusiness Manager at DETSA, Elliud Kiptoo addressed potential farmers at the Border-Kei Chamber of Business, encouraging farmers to make use of the opportunity. “We facilitate commercial contracts between UNB and the farmers. But first and foremost, we give them complete support, from soil testing, land preparation, reaping, planting, crop protection, harvesting, all the way to delivery at the point of purchase,” said Kiptoo. Kiptoo added that the trust was committed to ensuring that participants in the initiative received full support, which would enable them to produce the required yields, while also creating jobs.
“We’re looking at other options including producing under irrigation. We have a five-year cycle because we understand that they might not get it right in the first, or second year. By the third and fourth they will have the adequate skills, machinery, and financing to produce fully commercially,” he said. According to DETSA Project Coordinator, Nobako Msutu, over 700 hectares of land were cultivated by farmers who were involved in the pilot stage of the initiative. Farmers who took part in the initiative expressed great satisfaction with the project as it entailed gaining access to a guaranteed market, working capital, and technical expertise. “We were able to quickly gain economies and validation to other markets that we as LM Holdings can mobilise communities, manage and resolve conflict associated with community participation, and ensure manageable commercial risk and improved yields,” said farmer Luleka Mbete. KZN-based Nhangwini Royal Trading joined the programme in 2018, producing over a hundred and fifty tons of sorghum. This was despite challenges faced and mistakes made. Muzi Fodi, Director of Nhagwini Royal Trading said: “We had a great experience through the trust. We want the relationship to carry on beyond the 5 contracted years. The project taught us how to run a commercial community farm, how to manage its finances, sourcing the right equipment, and how to properly prepare the land.”
THE RE-WRITING OF HISTORY BY ADM
The upcoming and much anticipated ADM Economic Growth and Development Summit takes place at East London International Convention Centre (ELICC) from 9 to 12 March 2020, packed with an exciting three-day summit, a stimulating exhibition, a golf challenge, networking events and a gala dinner recognising entrepreneurial excellence in the District. ADM’s main objective during this Summit is to unleash the economic development potential through resources that the district prides itself in and to show that Amathole is open for investment businesses and opportunities. Amathole District Municipality will have all interested invitees, stakeholders, businesses and organisations make use of this great opportunity and exhibit at this prestigious event. The closing date for the booking of exhibition space is 15 February 2020 and for delegates on 24 February 2020. To register for the exhibition and /or Summit please visit ADM’s website: www.admgrowthsummit.co.za