SAB celebrates 15 years of enterprise development
26 October 2010
Entrepreneur chosen as the 'Ultimate KickStarter'
Johannesburg: The South African Breweries Limited (SAB) announced Antonio Pooe as the 'Ultimate KickStarter' in a glittering awards function in Sandton on Monday. Pooe, who hails from Egoli, runs a digital forensic services and fraud risk management business. The young entrepreneur's business rose to new heights after he won the annual SAB KickStart competition in 2007.
SAB is this year celebrating 15 years of its SAB KickStart initiative, which has established and grown thousands of small businesses owned by South African youth. The initiative provides young entrepreneurs with monetary grants for business start-ups and the expansion of existing businesses, and also focuses on skills development through training and mentoring.
Antonio commented that he will use the prize money to buy equipment which will enable him to develop new offerings to his existing and future clients.
Pooe will benefit from training and mentorship programmes and grants to the value of over R550,000.
First and second runners up were Trevor Müller and brothers Luvuyo and Lonwabo Rani respectively, who will benefit from mentorship programmes and grants to the value of over R375,000. Müller originally participated in the SAB KickStart competition in 2003 and used the grants and business insight that he gained from the experience to develop his company, Imvelaphi Catering. The Rani brothers participated in the 2008 competition and have since built a business supplying computer training, sales and repairs and internet cafes.
Antonio Pooe runs a multi-million rand business called Exactech Fraud Solutions. The company provides digital forensics, fraud prevention and operational risk management services to large corporations and does business in South Africa, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and recently in North America. Antonio started the company as a small one-man business, operating out of his home, but has since grown it to a company with national representation with offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. He now employs 24 highly specialised IT experts - 65% of whom are youth.
Trevor Müller also runs a multi-million rand business, called The Indibano Group, which started with humble beginnings. What started as a small catering concern, now includes a chain of delis / cafés in corporate environments, a thriving corporate catering business and one of Cape Town's trendiest cafés - the latest addition to their group of brands. Müller now employs 140 permanent staff and over 100 part-time waiters per month.
Luvuyo Rani started his business by refurbishing computers and selling them out of his car boot. His brother then came on board and they extended the business to training to new computer users. Before entering SAB KickStart the brothers owned two training centres, they now own six training centres and 10 interest cafes, and employ 51 staff. They are now planning on expanding their business, Silulo Ulutho Technologies, from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.
Since its launch in May 1995, SAB KickStart has benefitted more than 22,936 young entrepreneurs through a total investment of R51 million in grant funding by SAB. From this total number of beneficiaries, 3,200 small businesses have been established.
"As one of South Africa's pre-eminent companies, we at SAB understand our role in leading the way in creating a sustainable future for all. Encouraging entrepreneurship is one way in which we are doing this," commented SAB director of Corporate Affairs and Transformation, Vincent Maphai.
"For many years we have focused on skills development and using this to offer people a platform which empowers them and improves lives. To celebrate 15 years of our SAB KickStart initiative is an important milestone for us and we are committed to continue to support and mentor young entrepreneurs in the future," he concluded.
At the event on Monday the winners of the 2009/2010 annual competition were also announced. The winners of the SAB KickStart 2009/2010 competition are:
Mpodumo Doubada - Pimp My Books
Zibu Ndikinda - Zibu Ndikinda Consulting
Piliswa Qamata - Makakheni Isizwe Mining & Construction
Lovely Letsoalo - Wespark Itemeleng Pharmacy CC
Mr. Sibonakaliso Makhaye - Sibonakaliso Services and Installations
Kelly Dirang Phukuil - Dirang Mmogo Business Enterprise
For further information or comment please contact:
Robyn Chalmers, SAB Head Media and Communications
(011) 881 8679 or 082 924 2267
For interview requests, please contact:
Emma King on 072 010 7704 or Azure Janneker on 079 505 6966
About SAB KickStart
SAB KickStart has become one of the country's leading and largest entrepreneurship programmes within the private sector with the programme having become an international benchmark for successful small enterprise development. The SABMiller group has adopted SAB KickStart in four other countries to date - Columbia, North America, Hungary and Botswana.
Each year, SAB KickStart has seen budding and existing entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 years enter the competition. The primary intention is that candidates develop sound business ideas into viable and sustainable businesses. Many of these businesses have become suppliers to SAB with the dual effect that new entrepreneurs are assisted to run sustainable businesses.
SAB initially established the programme to address youth unemployment in South Africa. It later flourished to become one that encourages a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst the youth.
Many of the SAB KickStart businesses have gone on to become multi-million rand companies, employing a significant number of people. These companies have contributed to both job creation and the broader South African economy.
To commemorate its 15 year history of promoting youth entrepreneurship, SAB embarked on a nationwide search for the Ultimate SAB KickStarter. This is an existing business owner, whose business was either started or expanded by the SAB KickStart programme in the past.
For further information on the SAB KickStart programme, log onto: www.sabkickstart.co.za
SAB KickStart: Interesting Facts
- Over 80% of grant recipients are still in business after three years and many have grown into multi-million rand organizations employing a significant number of people.
- 83.3% of SAB KickStarters have reported significant annual growth in their businesses.
- Turnovers with SAB KickStart businesses has increased by an average of 375% since inception.
- Their average combined turnover of a small sample of 48 businesses is R 95 450 800 million.
- Each small business supported creates an average of 6.7 jobs. SAB KickStart has helped create and/or grow over 3 200 businesses.
- Skills imparted to beneficiaries are being felt by their own employees. Nearly 60% of beneficiaries reported that they were involved in increasing their staff complement, and almost 45% reported a greater focus on staff training.
- More than 38% of beneficiaries are fixed contract suppliers to SAB. Of those, more than 40% receive requests from SAB for goods and services on a monthly basis.
SAB ULTIMATE KICKSTART WINNERS
WINNER: Antonio Pooe
Company: Exactech Fraud Solutions
Nature of the business: Digital forensic services & fraud risk management
SAB KickStart Class of 2007
There are a tiny handful of companies in South Africa providing specialised computer forensic services - and Antonio Pooe's is one of them.
"At Exactech Fraud Solutions, we help organisations detect and investigate digital crimes, we chase hackers and viruses and we recover deleted data," says Pooe. The company also helps its clients prevent fraud by putting appropriate risk-management services in place.
It's a long journey from the streets of Sebokeng, one of South Africa's largest townships where Pooe grew up, but one he appears to have made with ease and grace. After graduating with an IT diploma from the Vaal University of Technology, he initially worked at Ernst & Young as the manager responsible for their computer forensic business. He developed his interest in IT security further as a senior technologist at Standard Bank, before completing a Masters degree in Information Systems and Technology Management at the University of Johannesburg. He is now pursuing a PhD in Informatics through the University of South Africa, in the area of Digital Forensics.
Pooe's credentials are impressive: he served for two years on the board of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE SA) and has worked with local and international law enforcement agencies, attorneys and corporations, in the fight against fraud. He is a sought-after speaker at local and international conferences and training courses, and holds certifications from prestigious institutions locally and abroad.
Pooe began planning his business while he was still studying. "I started from ground zero with nothing more than an idea," he explains. "The challenge was to put together a working plan on how I would move my concept into reality. Not only that, but I had to think about where I would get the funds to build a basic forensic technology lab. The next challenge was to develop a marketing strategy to convince big corporations that this young business could deliver and compete in the same space as the giant auditing and legal firms."
His motivation for entering the SAB KickStart competition was financial, says Pooe. "I entered purely to raise capital to buy basic tools for the forensic lab. Failure was not an option - I had to win as I needed the money."
The dream came true - Pooe used an initial SAB KickStart grant of R90,000 and the additional R150,000 he won in the national competition to equip his forensic lab. But cash was not the only benefit, he notes: "SAB KickStart had a big impact on my business. It made it possible for me to form networks with like-minded youth who wanted to make a difference. Three years later, I'm still in touch with many of my SAB KickStart group members."
The media attention he received as a SAB KickStart winner was another benefit, and Pooe did several radio, TV and magazine interviews that helped to raise Exactech's profile.
Exactech is now growing steadily and is well on its way to being a national business, with offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal. There are international clients too, and Pooe intends to establish a presence in other African cities in the future. Exactech also recently added a fraud hotline service (Be HeardT) to its portfolio, acquiring a stake in a Durban-based contact centre solution provider.
"SAB KickStart is about making a real change in the community by empowering the youth," concludes Pooe. "They are doing that very well."
First runner up: Trevor Müller
Company: The Indibano Group
Nature of the business: Food supervision/catering/restaurant
SAB KickStart Class of 2003
Back in 2001, when Trevor Müller and his siblings started Imvelaphi Food Supervision, they had a big dream of transforming their late father's small catering concern and becoming a major player in the food supervision industry. They had little idea that within a mere ten years they'd be presiding over the Indibano Group, which includes a chain of delis / cafés in the corporate environment, a thriving corporate catering business and one of Cape Town's trendiest cafés - the latest addition to their group of brands.
"Food was always a big part of our upbringing," recalls Müller. "My dad was an executive chef and my brother, sister and I helped out in his business after school and during our weekends and holidays. When my dad passed away, we honoured some of the catering commitments he had lined up, and in doing so we started talking about the possibility of making the business our own. We grew up in this industry and we were very passionate about the product. In 2001 Mark, Jill and I decided to give up our jobs - we renamed the business and started building our dream."
By 2003, when Müller entered the SAB KickStart competition, Imvelaphi Catering was feeling the financial strain of being a small start-up business with limited access to capital. "There are high capex costs involved in starting a business," explains Müller. "We needed to purchase delivery vehicles and equipment."
Looking for funding, guidance and networking opportunities, Müller entered the SAB KickStart competition. "It forced us to revisit our business plan and structure the detail better. Our roadmap became much clearer."
A win in the regional competition, and a place in the national competition, brought a much-needed cash injection into the business - the prize money went towards buying a new delivery vehicle and a walk-in fridge. "These new assets gave us the capacity to take on new business. To date we have had to earn every bit of recognition for our efforts and I will always encourage entrepreneurs to utilise opportunities such as the SAB KickStart programme."
Since then the Müller business has grown to over 140 permanent staff. "Apart from the catering business, we have the Indibano brand of coffee shops and deli outlets serving the corporate headquarters of companies such as Old Mutual, Allan Gray, KPMG and Media24," says Müller. Indibano means meeting or coming together and the coffee shops / deli outlets bring the trendy café society concept to the corporate environment.
Two months ago the group launched its latest venture, iCafe, in Cape Town's CBD on the ground floor of the Media24 building. The deli, restaurant and bar is billed as "your gateway to international culinary travel," offering global cuisine and an international ambience.
"When we won the SAB KickStart competition we were turning over R200,000 a year and
R110,000 was a lot of money to us," says Müller. "This year we hope to meet our turnover targets in spite of feeling the pressures of the recession. Trading conditions have been tough for all players in the market. We have felt the pressures as much as everyone else, and as much as we've grown we still need to make sound business decisions for the future. So far we have done well. We have grown the business to be sustainable, with a lot of attention to compliance, governance, quality assurance and management, policies, procedures and standards. Above all we take great pride in the fact that we have created much-needed job opportunities in our country."
The next step, says Müller, would be to go national. "We're in uncharted waters now. In some ways it would be good to have the SAB KickStart experience all over again. As we enter a new growth phase we need a new kind of advice and mentoring."
His words are testimony to the success of the SAB KickStart model. "There's no doubt that our success can partly be accredited to SAB," says Müller. "The further we go and the greater we get, the more they can look to us and say 'We played a role'."
Second runners up: Luvuyo and Lonwabo Rani
Company: Silulo Ulutho Technologies
Nature of the business: Computer sales, training and Internet cafes
SAB KickStart Class of 2008
In 2004, Khayelitsha teacher Luvuyo Rani spotted an opportunity: the Department of Education was strongly promoting the use of computers and IT in schools, but very few teachers had any kind of computer access or training. So Rani resigned from his job, found a supplier of refurbished computers and started selling them out of his car boot.
"Some people thought I was mad," he recalls. "Others thought I was fronting for a white person." But Rani slowly began to build a client base, keeping his cash flow going once his initial R10,000 personal loan ran out by encouraging would-be clients to form stokvels. "Everybody would put in R300 or R500 a month, and after six months they all had a computer."
By the end of the year his brother Lonwabo, a qualified electrical engineer, had also quit his job to join the business, which they called Silulo Ulutho: "Bringing value". The brothers added training, to help their customers make the most of their newly-purchased computers - they had no interest in selling expensive paperweights. Third member Sigqibo Pangabantu joined to offer maintenance and technical support services, and an internet café soon followed.
It was at this stage that the Rani brothers first entered the SAB KickStart competition. "We still had only two venues, one for training and one café where we also did sales and repairs," explains Luvuyo. "We knew there was a market, but we didn't have the resources to expand."
The R110,000 they won in the 2008 regional SAB KickStart competition enabled them to open two more shops. But the prize money was only one of the benefits: the brothers also received intensive training, along with remarkable new business opportunities. "It exposed us to big business and government," says Luvuyo. "We now have business partnerships with the City of Cape Town, Neotel and Vodacom, who also refurbished two of our centres. MWeb has done something similar, and we have a deal with Microsoft to offer our customers software at discounted prices."
The brothers entered the national competition in 2009, emerging as overall runners-up in the "Business of the Year" category. They now have seven training centres and nine internet cafés across the Cape Peninsula, from Khayelitsha, Paarl and Strand to Du Noon, Phillippi and Westlake, and are preparing to take the business to the Eastern Cape and nationally.
Luvuyo is clear about what sets Silulo Ulutho apart: "We are uplifting and empowering people, but making money from it at the same time. People come to us who have never touched a computer before and are afraid of them - and in six months they're using the internet café, finding jobs and coming back to buy their own computers. Our customers are growing with us."
The brothers' own hunger for knowledge is as strong as that of their customers, and they have seized every opportunity. Luvuyo completed the Associate in Management course at the Graduate School of Business in 2006, thanks to a bursary from the Institute of Directors.
They are also astute networkers and marketers, deeply rooted in their own community. Their weekly tech support slot on Khayelitsha's Radio Zibonele and Radio Helderberg has a large following, and the company has close links with local organisations.
But, says Luvuyo, "without SABKickStart we wouldn't be where we are today. It's about more than just the prize money; it's about the support, mentorship and guidance. SAB KickStart gave us credibility and confidence, an opportunity to be noticed, and the chance to grow. Today we employ 50 people, and we're not stopping."
SAB KICKSTART CLASS OF 2009 WINNERS
SAB ULTIMATE KICKSTART WINNERS
Business category, first prize: Mpodumo Doubada
Company: Pimp My Books
Nature of business: Second hand text book sales
After battling to afford university textbooks, Mpodumo took it upon himself to offer a better deal to students like him. "I asked my friends for their used books to sell and before you knew it people were calling me, giving me their textbooks. Soon my dormitory room was packed with books."
A starting capital of R200, half of which was a loan from a friend, helped him to begin advertising the business. Pimp My Books soon spilled out onto the campus grounds with tables. A year later in 2007 a permanent store was opened at UCT. Today, Pimp My Books has branched out with a second store in Parrow, Cape Town, which SAB KickStart helped to fund with a grant of R110,000. The business employs 8 fulltime staff.
"The mentoring offered me the greatest value. It pushed us and identified where the problems in the business where. SAB KickStart changed my business thinking and taught me how to work on my business rather than in it."
This natural entrepreneur is humble in his belief that he may not be the next 'Google' or 'Facebook' but is excited and encouraged by the future prospects of the business and what it is yet to achieve.
Business category, first runner up: Zibu Ndikinda
Company: Zibu Ndikinda Consulting
Nature of business: Health and Safety
For Zibu, starting a business in a typically male dominated industry, there were great challenges to face. "As a woman in a male environment you consistently have to convince them that you can do the job."
Her belief in her vision helped her overcome these hurdles. "I always believed that this was my destiny going forward. I wanted to try something on my own and to be as free as a bird."
SAB KickStart has made a significant impact on how she perceives her business. "SAB KickStart opened my eyes to things you don't realise in business. Success for my business fell into place after acquiring knowledge."
With a R50,000 grant from SAB KickStart in the regional competition, she bought a computer. Zibu is passionate about securing a sustainable future for fellow South Africans through safeguarding the environment.
Business category, second runner up: Piliswa Qamata
Company: Masakheni Isizwe Mining and Construction
Nature of business: Supply of equipment to mining and construction industries
Piliswa started her business, Masakheni Isizwe Mining and Construction in 2007. The business supplies the mining, construction, engineering and manufacturing industry with hand/power tools, lifting and safety equipment and industrial consumables.
Her interest in and experience with mining and construction supplies began while working for a company specialising in the industry. With no funds to start off with, she made contacts within the industry which enabled her to kick-start her business.
As a small player in the industry, Piliswa's business was hard hit when the mining industry experienced a decline as a result of the recession. "I had to relook the business strategy to go after other markets and to augment the gap created by the non-performing industry." SAB KickStart helped her focus on testing different methods of communicating with potential markets and existing customers.
A SAB KickStart grant of R40,000 provided much needed investment in the business.
Development category, first prize: Lovely Letsoalo
Company: Wespark Itemeleng Pharmacy CC
Nature of business: Retail Pharmacy and Clinic
Lovely's business is a Retail Community Pharmacy. She has converted a rented space into a Medical Centre which is occupied by a GP, Dentist and Optometrist. She is a qualified pharmacist with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Rhodes University. Her professional experience as a pharmacist is vast, having worked in a number of hospitals, a pharmaceutical company and a health group.
"I am passionate about my career and wanted to grow in my field of work independently. I identified a need in my community and having the skills to deliver, I grabbed the opportunity to establish a viable business."
Lack of funds and resources did not distract Lovely's vision to pursue her dream of owning her own business.
Through the assistance of SAB KickStart, Westpark Pharmacy has managed to open a Primary Health Care Clinic, which offers screening tests, including HIV and wound dressing.
Development category, first runner up: Sibonakaliso Makhaye
Company: Sibonakaliso Services and Installations
Nature of business: Digital Satellite Installations
Roughly a four hour drive from King Shaka Airport in the heart of the Zulu Kingdom, a young man is taking the local satellite installation industry by storm. An electrician by trade, Sibonakaliso snatched the opportunity to provide local homes with clearer television reception. A one-man-show initially, Sibonakaliso now employs a team of nine staff and services the greater Zululand district, travelling far and wide to meet his customers needs.
The SAB KickStart grant won in the regional competition, bought new equipment for the business, which has help to speed up service delivery. More than anything, Sibonakaliso is privileged to have gained sound business skills during the programme's training phase.
"SAB KickStart was more than valuable to me. Before there were things I thought I knew about business management. The programme showed that I had been making many mistakes and helped me to improve," he commented.
Business category, second runner up: Kelly Dirang Phukuil
Company: Dirang Mmogo Business Enterprise
Nature of Business: Landscaping
Kelly and his three young business partners provide a environmental conservation and horticultural service in the Matlosana Municipality area in the North West Province. His business was first established in 2003 and starting operating by cleaning and maintaining the local cemetery on a voluntary basis. The business' first contract to provide cement strips at the same cemetery was secured a year later.
The company's target market has since grown to include households, businesses, schools and government departments. Medium to long term contracts are being secured to ensure Dirang is not dependent on one source of income.
Since SAB KickStart's intervention in the business and the provision of a R90,000 grant, Dirang has grown. Kelly has been able to secure contracts for the supply and delivery of Kikuyu grass and assists the municipality with grass cutting. They were also able to purchase additional capital and equipment with the grant.
Note: The release was first published in its local market on 26 October, 2010