Small businesses compete for seat on UK plane

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“South African entrepreneurs can reach the global levels of their international counterparts, and the business deals they are able to secure on the UK visits are tremendous,” says Judi Sandrock, Medo’s joint chief executive. (Image: The Lime Envelope)


• Michelle Samraj
PR & Events Assistant
The Lime Envelope
+27 11 467 8998
michelle@thelime.co.za


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Excited entrepreneurs buzzed with ambition at a gathering in Bryanston, Johannesburg during the final leg of the selection process for the 2014 Medo International Trade Programme (ITP), an opportunity for small enterprises from across South Africa to visit the UK as part of a business and trade delegation aimed at evolving their businesses.

Only 14% of people in Africa intend to start a business in the next three years. Given this low figure, Medo is assertively driving enterprise development and entrepreneurship in South Africa, in order to accelerate the growth of self-employment, job creation and innovation in the country.

Medo connects large companies with emerging micro and small enterprises that are at least 50% black-owned, and facilitates micro and small business development and supplier relationships. Its partnership with UK Trade & Investment targets micro and small enterprises in urban, rural and semi-rural communities in South Africa. Businesses in the green tourism, fashion and ICT sectors form the majority of the candidates. The goal of the programme is to support entrepreneurs in these areas with skills and business development training, as well as sourcing opportunities for them to trade with businesses in Britain.

Chosen entrepreneurs from across the country have already jumped a number of hurdles in an effort to secure a spot in the delegation heading to the UK. Before the Bryanston meeting on 16 July, their most recent undertaking was an intensive Medo Bootcamp in Cape Town that was designed to assist smaller businesses to play on a global stage.

Bootcamp highlights included intensive workshops in business leadership, the building of international relationships, scaling a business, operations strategy development and management, trade requirements, managing virtual relationships as well as presentation skills. It was designed to ensure the entrepreneurs were prepared for all that international trade had to offer, to maximise trade relations between businesses in the two countries.

D-Day is now approaching and the short list of small enterprises has been drawn up. The trip to the UK will include networking events, appointments, workshops at Coventry University’s Serious Gaming Institute and the University Centre of Applied Entrepreneurship. It will end with a reception with the South African Trade Commissioner in London to share the value and experiences of the visit.

“South African entrepreneurs can reach the global levels of their international counterparts, and the business deals they are able to secure on the UK visits are tremendous,” says Judi Sandrock, Medo’s joint chief executive.

Entrepreneurs gearing up to try to secure their place on the 2014 Medo ITP include:

Quick Connect Wireless – James Coetzee & Brandon Muller

Quick Connect Wireless is an emerging connectivity start-up based in Pretoria that provides fast, simple and affordable wireless internet access to end users and event based companies. Quick Connect’s plug-and-play system is fully customised, allowing event owners to present contextual content through various channels such as Twitter feeds to contact details, event schedules to page links. Quick Connect Wireless is able to clearly direct all and any communication to attendees through integrating social network logins and creating tangible insights.

Learning e-Varsity Online – Abraham Motsoane

Learning e-Varsity is an online, elearning, distance education and training service provider, based in Marshalltown, Johannesburg. Its main focus is poised on providing state-of-the-art service solutions to current training and educational needs. The company believes in the value of education and training, and has an innovative approach to learning and equipping students with a laptop and 3G modem.

Mido Technologies – Dale Simons

Mido Technologies is a community focused IT consultation business, based in Stellenbosch. Its courses are accredited on an international level by accredited partners across various industries. The social enterprise scopes, plans and delivers old-fashioned IT services such as project management and technical support. The executive service extends to strategic planning, governance and technology selection. The firm works closely with Rupert Education Trust on its Franschhoek Schools ICT integration project and Project Isizwe on its free wifi project for Atlantis and Robertson. Mido Technologies will also be launching its ICT Apprenticeship Programme to provide professional support services to community-based organisations while creating a new career path for technical-minded youth.

PCD Assessments – Yolandi and Natasha van Niekerk

PCD Assessments is a young company started by two sisters. Based in Pretoria, it is a psychometric assessment practice and is regulated by the Health Professions Council of South Africa. Its assessments diagnose, explain and predict the capability and potential of individuals, teams and organisations for a variety of circumstances, and its assessment offerings are based on sound scientific theories and world class practice. PCD Assessments makes use of well-researched assessment tools from test published around the globe.

Banda Business Services – Helen Banda Bain

Banda Business Services is a female- owned and managed team that provides quality business services for all types of businesses, and is based in Durban. Founder Helen Banda Bain started the business based on her passion for the internet. She is a self-taught online marketer who specialises in producing online profiles for businesses, brands and individuals. The company offers clients design, host and managing websites. It also conducts outcomes-based assessments, sells advertising space, and creates blogs and business Facebook pages.

Blue Lenz Pictures – Innocentia Masimene

Blue Lenz Pictures is a motion picture company owned by Innocentia Masimene. The company, based in Johannesburg, was formed with the desire to make motion history. The group uses technology to creatively tell stories and allow clients’ ideas to come to life. Blue Lenz Pictures strives to be a full-service production house producing great quality videography and photography that goes above and beyond clients’ needs.

Bizdev Concepts – Nhlanhla Mthembu

Bizdev Concepts creates and produces international large scale conferences for innovators and entrepreneurs of small and large organisations. It is also based in Johannesburg. Owned by Nhlanhla Mthembu, Bizdev Concepts specialises in topics of innovation and collaboration. Incubated at Medo, it has grown to employ two permanent staff members.

Modern Entertainments Project – Kopano Mtsoane

Modern Entertainments Project was established in 2011 in the video gaming sector. It markets and provides a range of services, from multi-big screen video games displays to love digital life generation, as well as facilitates and assesses a programme called Modern Edutainment for mainstream schools and intellectually challenged learners. The firm’s strategy is to develop facilities for young people to have fun and interact by learning in a more modern way. Modern Entertainment develops customised social video games on mobile and computer devices for business, social organisation and government departments.

UmoyAir Communications – Khayalethu Nontsana Cokoto and Sapho Maqhwazima

UmoyAir Communication is a cross network, free call platform with user and advertiser incentives, based in Port Elizabeth. A mobile communications company, it specialises in mobile advertising and is co-owned by Khaya Cokoto and Sapho Maqhwazima. UmoyAir Communications is a patented innovation that allows registered users to call any number free of charge, no airtime required, from any network at any time. In turn, advertisers sponsor the calls and have access to a demographically defined client base.

FlavaLite Innovations – Sibongiseni Maqhwazima and Unathi Tunzelana

FlavaLite Innovations is a ground-breaking technology company founded in 2011 by four females, based in Cape Town. It is 100% black-owned and 100% female-owned. Its aim is to pioneer innovative products in IT service delivery that will ultimately put the customer first. FlavaLite’s innovative IT solutions include convenient and secure eticketing services. It is also blazing a trail in strategic web analytics solutions and other IT services.

SchoolMedia – Khethi Ngwenya

SchoolMedia is a 100% black-owned media company, based in Johannesburg. Founder Khethi Ngwenya has exclusive rights to media and advertising placements in over 9 000 schools, reaching over 6 million pupils. The company has sole distribution rights in schools via the National Association of School Governing Bodies. SchoolMedia serves its partners by imparting valuable information on issues like furthering one’s education, environmental awareness, crime awareness and sports development.