Three SMEs win for bridging gap with big business | Fin24
 
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Three SMEs win for bridging gap with big business

Jul 06 2015 13:23

Cape Town - Three small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been given a boost to grow their businesses, after winning a challenging competition against 31 other entrepreneurs.

The three SMEs will gain access to the Business Acceleration Programme to the value of R300 000 from Aurik, after taking part in the Standard Bank-sponsored competition, The Growth Engines TV series.

The spirit of entrepreneurship through the use of rare skills and creating innovative business relationships is alive and well in South Africa, the organisers said, after the award ceremony in Sandton on Thursday. The winners proved “their ability to provide innovative solutions across the big business/SME divide”, theysaid.

1. GridCars with BMWi



Winstone Jordaan of GridCars with Deena Govender of BMW South Africa. (Photos: Supplied)

In the innovation and strategy category, GridCars partnered with BMW and their new electric ‘i’ offerings and provided solutions that intersect at the point where cars need to be refuelled.

“The challenge with electrically-driven cars is the power source or charging point, its management and billing,” explained the The Growth Engines.

GridCars alerts a driver to the nearest plugin point, books a driver’s refuelling place (which can take hours to complete), and provides an electronic billing system.

“The pay-off for GridCars, and Jordaan’s faith in the development of their technology, will be fully realised when electric or plug in hybrid electrical vehicles become common on South Africa’s roads,” said Ethel Nyembe, head of small enterprise at Standard Bank.

“The system will be available to every electric or plug in hybrid electrical vehicle entering the country, making the system streamlined and available to all.”

2. Qrent with the Discovery Group


Prinesh Pillay of Aurik with DJ Kumbula of Qrent.

In the innovation and cost category, Qrent partnered with the Discovery Group to provide it with 4 000 refurbished computers, that do much the same job as newer models, saving the group R14m. They were set to buy new computers for between R28m and R32m.

“Taking the need for quality equipment, addressing the corporate cost issue, and offering a full-service package on a ‘pay as you use’ basis are undoubtedly the main ingredients of Qrent’s success,” said Nyembe.

“Launching a value-added service during tough economic times, and during a period when people are receptive to new money-saving ideas that reflect positively on their balance sheets, is at the core of innovation.”

3. The Bepoke Amenities with the Legacy Hotel Group

Paddy Brearley of Legacy Hotel Group with Bruce Turner of The Bespoke Amenities.

In the innovation and value category, The Bespoke Amenities provided the Legacy Hotel Group with soap, shampoo, lotions, robes and slippers for hotel rooms. In the hospitality sector, a small component of services is often critical to the overall hotel guest experience, according to The Growth Engine.

“Where The Bespoke Amenities has displayed an innovative spirit is by harnessing the experience of Bruce Turner, MD of the company,” said Nyembe. “Having been an exporter in his previous life, he realised that suppliers from China, were more vulnerable to competition than many thought possible. This led him to critically examine what his company could produce.

“What he found led to The Bespoke Amenities manufacturing its own range of products locally. What is more important is that the company is planning on growing its staff base from 97 to over 300 within the next 18 months. Exports into Africa and beyond are also on the agenda.”

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