Setting robust corporate foundations for a better reputation

Reputation management master class 2018

Cape Town: 12 to 16 November 2018

It is no secret that reputations can be tarnished in seconds when situations are not handled ethically and correctly. By having a proper foundation in place across all organisational dimensions will assist with making those tough business decisions that could, quite literally, make or break your company’s reputation which took years of dedication to build. Reputation Matters, a proudly African research company specialising in reputation research, will be hosting a reputation management master class at the Grand West Hotel in Cape Town from 12 to 16 November 2018, to empower delegates with the necessary tools and information to ultimately be more strategic in managing their organisations’ reputations.

Regine le Roux, Managing Director at Reputation Matters says, “We are delighted to announce that our reputation management master class will bring some well-established industry experts to Cape Town where we will tackle some of the most important reputation building blocks any organisation should have in place.”

The master class is endorsed by the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) and delegates will receive 12 CPD points.

The programme will be presented over five days and delegates have the option to attend the full programme or individual sessions. “The master class allows for a maximum of 20 delegates as the sessions will be incredibly interactive and hands-on,” mentions le Roux.

The programme entails the following sessions:

  • Day one (12 November 2018): If you treasure it, you’ll measure it. The importance of measuring your reputation. Facilitated by Regine le Roux, Managing Director at Reputation Matters. The session will introduce delegates to the ten reputation building blocks and tips on how to take their organisation’s reputation to the next level.
  • Day two (13 November 2018): Ethics is an essential foundation for a sound reputation. Facilitated by Cynthia Schoeman, Managing Director at Ethics Monitor. This interactive session will delve into the importance of ethics and building it into the DNA of your organisation. The session will also focus on workplace ethics.
  • Day three (14 November 2018): Internal communication ~ Bringing values to life! Facilitated by Kristina Malther, Managing Director at Open Cape Town. This hands-on session will equip delegates to communicate at an optimal level internally, as well as how to identify and define corporate values that employees resonate with and that will ultimately ensure a values-driven organisational mindset.
  • Day four (15 November 2018): Writing course ~ getting your message across in writing. Facilitated by Jennigay Coetzer, freelance writer, journalist, author, editor and trainer. Written content is often the first contact point between a company and its customers, so it is vital to get it right. This session will help participants of all levels of experience to develop and hone their writing skills.
  • Day five (16 November 2018): Meet the media. The session will equip delegates on what to expect from media engagement, including how to engage with media, how to do a media interview and the dos and don’ts of media management.

The master class is not to be missed for all corporates who want to build on their corporate foundations to help their businesses thrive. “You never know when a crisis will hit, and to be proactive and prepared is the best way to turn any situation in an opportunity,” concludes le Roux.

For more details on the master class and to apply, click here.

For more information about Reputation Matters, visit or call +27 (0)11 317 3861 (Jhb) | 021 790 0208 (Cpt). Reputation Matters is also on Facebook and Twitter @ReputationIsKey.

Voice-controlled technology for quadriplegics

[CAPTION] Residents living at Durbanville Quadriplegic Centre, like Brenton Swartz (pictured above), have a new level of autonomy thanks to state-of-the-art voice-controlled technology. Although they have little to no control over their limbs, they are now able to perform simple daily tasks using their voice to ‘wake up’ their Voice-Activated Quality of Life (VoQol) system, known as Alexa. In the past residents would need to call a carer for help; now they just ask Alexa to switch on the light, change the television channel or call for assistance.

Speaking at the official launch of the VoQol project yesterday, 19 September, Lowri Williams, Programme Manager at the QuadPara Association Western Cape (QAWC) said: “To our knowledge, this is the first installation at a residential facility in Africa. It may seem like a small thing that we take for granted, to switch off the fan when the room reaches the right temperature, but for someone who is physically disabled from the shoulders down VoQol gives them a new level of autonomy, expanding the number of daily tasks that they are able to perform on their own. The completion of such a project really demonstrates how we can assist quadriplegics and paraplegics to reach their full potential.”

Installation of the VoQol system has recently been completed at three residential facilities in Cape Town, with financial support from donors, including Rotary Club of Claremont. A total of 51 rooms were fitted with the devices at Turfhall Cheshire Home, Durbanville Quadriplegic Centre and Eric Miles Cheshire Home. The technology relies on WiFi and can be used to control the sound or channels on a TV, switch on a fan or a light, and call for assistance.

“I can get a cricket update and then 20 seconds later switch back to what I was watching before, which sounds insignificant, but it makes a big difference in my life,” says Anthony Ghillino, General Manager of QAWC who is a C4 quadriplegic (paralysed from the shoulders down).

Another resident, Graham Clarke suffers from locked-in syndrome as a result of a stroke. Talking about the new technology he says: “I love my independence and the [VoQol system] does just that. I can control several devices that have been connected. It is very empowering.”

Speaking at the launch event Malcolm Dodd, President of the Rotary Club of Claremont says, “It is heart-warming to see the effect that this technology has had on the residents here and at the other two facilities. Not only does it really empower them with the ability to control things on their own, it also alleviates the burdens placed on their carers to continuously help them with simple tasks throughout the day. This is the kind of life-changing technology that can improve quality of life.”

With the first phase of the project completed successfully, QAWC are seeking funding to install more devices at Eric Miles Cheshire Home where 32 residents do not have access to the technology yet. For more information, visit

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit

Big business: Are we venturing enough?

“No company can afford not to move forward. It may be at the top of the heap today but at the bottom of the heap tomorrow, if it doesn’t.” ~ James Cash Penney

Steve Meller and Will Searle, international experts in blue chip venturing, will present master classes on corporate venturing at the SA Innovation Summit, taking place from 12 to 14 September 2018. They outline their views on whether South Africa’s big business sector is venturing enough.

Business, whether big or small, is under constant pressure to keep innovating and growing. The challenges for corporates in this regard are, however, markedly different from those of a small enterprise. “Their large size means they have all sorts of process controls in place that make it difficult to move at a fast-enough pace to match the rate of innovation outside the company,” says Dr Steve Meller, Managing Director at Creating Dots. “This is true of every single industry.”

Venturing, as applied to corporate business, is “the sharing of business opportunities, so that big corporates get the benefit of joining forces with small business,” says Will Searle, Founder of Axillium, ahead of his talk on Innovation Without Borders at the Summit next week. It is a corporate looking at investing in an independent venture to access the agile innovation happening outside the company. “Any one organisation, whether corporate or not, will have a missing piece – some technology that the market wants that the corporate doesn’t have. A smaller company is more agile and may have the technology that the corporate is looking for.” For this reason venturing is a growing trend, with approximately 1 000 venturing units in the world according to Meller.

Is corporate South Africa venturing enough?

Given the importance of venturing and the opportunities for expansion that it presents, is corporate South Africa doing so enough? Searle argues that the answer is ‘No’, and believes that South African corporates are either not venturing, or not engaging in the right type of venturing: “South African venturing is at risk of chasing technology driven outcomes rather than long term market advantage – successful venturing is patient and works toward a market opportunity rather than simply pushing a new technology.” Venturing for the sake of innovation is not the answer to growing sustainably.

Meller also says that, compared to Silicon Valley in the United States, South Africa is venturing far less: “If you are talking about the dollar value of traditional venturing investment, there is no question that the United States is the largest player in the venture game, and there is no question that Silicon Valley is the largest venturer. No other country compares to that.”

However, Meller argues that the dollar value of investment is not necessarily the only or the best measure of success in the South African context. He believes in finding ways of venturing that suit this particular market and environment. “If you are asking if South Africa is venturing enough, the answer is ‘No,’ but they don’t need to and shouldn’t try to. The best and only way for South Africa to maximise venturing is to find great opportunities for collaboration that can disproportionately leverage what they have.”

Challenges to venturing in the South African context

Some of the challenges to venturing, according to Meller, include South Africa’s geographic location, but also include an organisational mindset that hampers powerful collaborative relationships. “Corporates usually want it their way. The entrepreneur’s dilemma is that ‘I need the money, but what the corporate wants is slightly different from what this business was intended for.’ It is therefore critical to define the relationship at the outset. The thing is that the relationship can either be extremely successful or disastrous, especially for the SME who is taking the bigger risk. The lack of empathy from corporates for the SME in this regard is one of the reasons why these relationships often don’t do as well as they could or should, but it is getting better.”

Searle agrees that this is frequently a problem for big corporates who are used to throwing their weight around: “Too often the corporate mindset is one of ‘I can do it myself or I don’t need anyone else’. It may be challenging to the executive mindset, but being willing and open to look at suppliers as partners enables the venture relationship to gain mutual benefits.” The initiative to make this paradigm shift should come directly from the CEO and top leadership of a company to be successful.

Opportunities for making corporate venturing happen

There are opportunities for more venturing to take place though, should the mindset change. Searle suggests that big businesses “need to expand their ventures with new value chain models, where the value starts with a university student or a start-up and scales right into corporate. They need to look at how they can join with these young people and entrepreneurs for both parties to grow sustainably.”

Meller re-emphasises the importance of strong relationships both inside and outside of South Africa. “South Africa is not on the same level as the United States in terms of dollar value in venturing, but it is about us finding what works for us, especially by enabling relationships that will give us preferred access to what is happening in the outside world. Building relationships is not hard to do, but you have to put work and effort into it. A corporate may have a unit or department that focuses specifically on venturing and maintaining the health of those key relationships. It is a powerful tool, but the challenge is in maintaining relationships on the long term instead of expecting short term profits.”

Of course, as with small business, the right mindset and relationships are critical, but finding the funds for a corporate venture is no small feat. For this reason the SA Innovation Summit will host a CEO Lunch session introducing the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)’s New Industries Strategic Business Unit, a primary investor in Corporate Ventures that THINK BIG. Pieter de Beer, Senior Industry Development Manager at the IDC, explains: “The IDC New Industries SBU will selectively invest in the creation and/or development of Industry 4.0 technologies and business models where SA has a clear comparative advantage, and which have the potential to be enabling and/or disruptive. Typical disruptive business models have exponential scalability and value is created through an asset base in an entire relationship network, not necessarily through the business’ own assets. In alignment with the IDC’s development initiatives there will be specific focus on black industrialists, females and youth.”

To find out more about the Innovation Summit and register, visit or follow SA Innovation Summit on Twitter (@InnovSummit) or Facebook (@SAInnovation).

International Charity Day: Celebrating the countless organisations and individuals making a difference

[CAPTION] Wednesday, 05 September 2018 marks International Charity Day. “Charity organisations are powered by passionate, selfless people who sacrifice much to help others. This day serves as a reminder for us to educate ourselves about the non-profit organisations operating in our communities, whether to support youth, the disabled or the elderly, and find ways to support them,” says Dr Malcolm Dodd, President of the Rotary Club of Claremont.

The Rotary Club of Claremont understands this well, as part of Rotary International, a global network of 1.2 million people who serve their local communities. The Club receives half of the charitable surplus of funds raised by the Cape Town Cycle Tour and this money is redirected to many charities in the Western and Northern Cape, Namibia and Angola. A few of the charities and organisations that the Club has provided financial support or partnered with include the Cape Town Association for Persons with Disabilities (CT APD), Bicycling Empowerment Network, Bel Porto School for children with intellectual and physical impairments, Filia School for children with special needs, Christine Revell Children’s Home, St George’s Home for Girls, Butterfly Art Project and Sporting Chance.

Besides investing directly into community projects and organisations, many charities benefit through funding support channelled through other Rotary clubs. Dodd explains: “We distribute funds to other Rotary Clubs in our region, who understand their communities and where the needs are. We can’t begin to detail every single project we have supported. In the past six years over R1.5 million in grants has been allocated to other Clubs, which is a good indication of the extent of the reach we have.”

In the last year, funds were allocated to the Rotary Club of Auas in Namibia to purchase 57 watering cans, buckets and bottles for the Kaisosi Women’s Agricultural Project (pictured above, left). The Rotary Club of Swakopmund together with Elephant Human Relations Aid hosted a youth leadership camp with funds received. The Rotary Club of Tygerberg used funds to purchase dog food, dog bowls and blankets for Adopt-a-Pet and the Rotary Club of Upington purchased four wheelchairs for disabled locals. Further funds were allocated to the Rotary Club of Stanford to purchase stationery for the local Recycling Swap Shop and the Rotary Club of Walvis Bay purchased and painted eight cots for the Living in Peace Namsov Centre for children. Educational toys were purchased by the Rotary Club of Groote Schuur for the Ubunye Educare Centre and the Rotary Club of Table Bay purchased a solar panel and two composting toilets for the Khomani San community living in Botswana (pictured above, right). A much-needed industrial sized washing machine was purchased and installed at ACVV Hesperos old age home by the Rotary Club of Beaufort West. Over a thousand school girls in Luderitz received sanitary pads purchased with funds allocated to the local Rotary Club, aiming to promote school attendance.

Every Club raises their own funds for these projects and works closely with charities in their region to meet important needs. “We are thrilled to support them in finalising the projects and in so doing, improving the livelihood of many people,” says Dodd.

The Rotary Club of Claremont has itself allocated much of its own resources (with substantial donations received from the Lewis Group) to the Injongo Project which provides holistic support to Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres in Philippi and is one of the biggest of its kind in the country. Besides structural upgrades, the Injongo Project offers additional training for teachers and facilitators, ensuring that the Centres are places where children thrive as they learn. In the past six years the club has helped to fully transform 14 ECD Centres, at a cost of R18 million.

“This Charity Day, we encourage members of the community to consider the worthy causes and organisations in their area, maybe even a Rotary club, that could use their time, expertise or financial assistance to make the world a better place,” says Dodd. For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit or email

Women who took the LEAP

From left Lindelwa Mini, Charmaine Malao & Patricia Mudiayi

Girls make up 63 percent of learners from LEAP Science & Maths Schools, a network of low-fee schools situated in the Western Cape, Limpopo and Gauteng. The network is guided by women in leadership positions, with two of the six schools headed by female principals. Grounded by the belief in developing future leaders, the LEAP model addresses a larger need to empower women through education within their own communities.

Lindelwa Mini (pictured above) Principal at LEAP Science & Maths Schools is a role model, leader and inspiration to her Langa community. Recognised as one of the 2017 M&G Young South Africansis passionate about developing opportunities for success for herself and her learners.

“You can excel academically but if you don’t know who you are and what you stand for you will not succeed. I believe education is being the better version of yourself,” she says. For Mini, being a woman in her community means setting an example of hard work and perseverance. “I am a role model to the kids from Langa township whom I lead. When they see a successful young black woman they know it’s possible for them as well.”

At LEAP Science & Maths Schools, Mini is able to express her ambitions for her community through her work as an educator, administrator, employer and social activist. Within her various roles, Mini remains passionate about finding holistic solutions to the needs of her growing community.

Another inspirational woman leader at LEAP is Patricia Mudiayi (pictured above) – recipient of the 2015 Mkhaya Migrants award administered by the Department of Home Affairs for her contribution to unity. A national from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mudiayi heads Kwesu, a Non-Profit Organisation that assists migrant women in developing social and financial skills.

As a young, pregnant immigrant alone in a new country Mudiayi, with a chemical engineering degree could only find work as a tutor. Faced with limited options, she realised she was not living the life she dreamt of in South Africa, and that she would have to work even harder to succeed.

She supplemented her tutor income by working as an curios trader in Cape Town’s Green Market square and soon built a comfortable life for herself. During this time her passion for teaching and education grew. This led to Mudiayi being welcomed into the LEAP Science & Maths Schools family where she verified her qualifications to pursue teaching before becoming a full-time educator and later, school Principal.

Having risen above difficult circumstances to lead a school, Mudiayi was reminded of her lonely beginning in South Africa. This led her to meet and engage with migrant women from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo, Somalia, Burundi, Angola and Zimbabwe who needed guidance, support and skills to build a successful life in their new country. Out of these conversations Kwesu began. The organisation empowers women financially and spiritually by offering English and computer lessons and teaching skills like sewing and cooking.

LEAP alumnus Charmaine Malao (pictured above) attributes her success to the support she received from her family, community and education. The young, dynamic law graduate is from a family of ten, who all grew up living in one small home in Alexandra, Gauteng. She understands the challenges of growing up in a high need community. “Coming from a township filled with all sorts of connotations is hard for a woman. I never imagined myself as a lawyer or law graduate. I have taverns as neighbours and neighbours playing music as loud as they want, and it’s normal not to complain because it’s not ‘Sandton’,” she says.

While it may not be Sandton, Malao appreciates the challenges and opportunities of living in a multi-cultural community like Alexandra. This is a common thread amongst LEAP students and alumni who are taught to value the link between individual and community success and are expected to practically work towards uplifting one’s community.

“The very same place that taught me all South African languages also exposed me to every temptation and obstacle you can think of that could defeat you. God has his own ways and paths that sometimes we don’t even understand.”

Providing quality holistic education to students from high-need communities, LEAP Science & Maths Schools believes in creating opportunities for emotional growth and academic excellence.

“We cannot describe the joy we feel as custodians of the LEAP philosophy to see women like Lindelwa, Patricia and Charmaine pursue their dreams. We are proud of how far they have all come and it’s wonderful to see how they each inspire their community,” concluded John Gilmour, founder and Executive Director of LEAP Science & Maths Schools.

Going further than just #plasticfreejuly – experts at WasteCon2018 to discuss long term waste management solutions

After the hype surrounding #plasticfreejuly and the war on straws soars to new heights, the question is: How do we all take our waste conscious attitude further in a truly sustainable way? “Ultimately, we should aim for zero waste ending up at a landfill, so the #plasticfree challenge really should continue throughout the year,” says Leon Grobbelaar, President of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA).

In October the IWMSA host their biennial flagship conference WasteCon2018, gathering key players involved in waste management from municipalities and government, the private sector, academics, engineers and waste pickers; all looking for ways to best tackle the waste management problem we collectively face. WasteCon2018 will take place from 15 to 19 October 2018 at Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg.

“This year the theme is Implementing the Waste Hierarchy which involves waste avoidance and reduction, re-using items, recycling, recovery as well as treatment and disposal of waste,” explains Grobbelaar. “We are thrilled to have Ad Lansink from the Netherlands speaking at WasteCon. He is the original founder of the term ‘waste hierarchy’ and was recently named the winner of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) Publication Award for his book Challenging Changes, Connecting Waste Hierarchy and Circular Economy. In his keynote address Lansink will speak about the Ladder of Lansink waste hierarchy which he created and a roadmap to a circular economy.”

A pioneer of zero waste to landfill, Gys Louw will speak at WasteCon2018. The CEO of Namibian recycler and waste management company, Rent-A-Drum, manages an impressive multi-reuse-facility (MRF) which has won awards for being the most environmentally sustainable company in the country. Louw will discuss Namibia’s first Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) facility that will provide up to 12 000 tons of RDF for use in manufacturing processes at Ohorongo Cement; one of the most modern cement plants in the world.

Delegates can look forward to an insightful presentation on transforming waste into energy by Gerald Kurz. The Austrian engineering consultant has lead projects to design waste treatment plants (and conducted feasibility studies) in Russia, Pakistan, Poland, Croatia, Czeck Republic and Slovakia amongst many other countries.

Another fascinating presentation on caps for landfill sites will be given by engineer and consultant, Mark Roberts from the USA. He will share examples and cost benefits of newly approved solar panel cap designs.

Other speakers to look out for include Kevin Mearns who will discuss lessons learnt from waste management practices at Ngala Game Reserve, Roelien du Plessis talking about household composting, and Jason Gifford on biogas in South Africa.

WasteCon2018 is a platform for key role players in the industry to gather together and network. The conference will take place over a period of three days with plenary sessions, presentations and parallel workshops conducted by leaders in their respective fields sharing insights and first-hand experience of the latest developments, research, innovations and technologies.

Delegates can also look forward to a technical tour on the last day of the conference, 19 October 2018. One of the sites that will be visited is Tufflex Plastic Products, a recycler of plastic waste that processes both post-industrial and post-consumer polyolefin plastic waste. Visitors will experience the entire process from raw material sorting to shredding, granulation, washing, extrusion and bagging prior to final quality control and then despatch.

Access to the exhibition venue with displays from universities, industries and more will be open to all members of the public throughout the conference.

To register for WasteCon2018 visit

For more information about the IWMSA visit You can also follow IWMSA on Facebook ( and Twitter (

Winners of the football Tournament of Light in Cape Town

[CAPTION] Pictured above are the proud winners of the Rock-A-Fella’s Football Club Tournament of Light (under 16), Fish Hoek AFC from Fish Hoek in Cape Town, after beating Rock-A-Fella’s FC in the finals on Sunday, 12 August 2018 at Rocklands Sports Complex in Mitchells Plain. They walk away with R 5 000.00, the trophy, and bragging rights as one of the best teams in Cape Town.

“Well done to Fish Hoek AFC for winning the Tournament,” says Ishaam Johnson, the Tournament Director and Senior Coach at Rock-A-Fella’s. “It was an exciting match and both teams played very well.”

32 teams from all across Cape Town participated in this, the fourth annual rendition of the Tournament of Light last week.

This tournament is bigger than soccer though: it is organised by Rock-A-Fella’s FC in Mitchells Plain, who uses the beautiful game to engage youth living in poverty and gang affected areas of Cape Town. Five of their Under 18 players are headed to the United Kingdom to participate in a soccer clinic, while another player has been signed by City of Cape Town.

“Many of these boys come from poverty, with little hope and few options, but they have so much talent,” says Johnson. “When we teach them football, we do it to provide positive role-models and an alternative to drugs and despondency. We see it making such a difference in their lives and the Tournament really makes a difference. We are grateful to sponsors like the Rotary Club of Claremont who help make it happen.”

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit or email

#WomensMonth: Examining female inclusivity in business

As the nation celebrates Women’s Month (August), the SA Innovation Summit (SAIS) shines the spotlight on two inspiring women who will be speaking at the not-to-be-missed event taking place at the Cape Town Stadium from 12 to 14 September.

[CAPTION] Inspirational women in their respective industries, (L – R): Xoliswa Daku (CEO and Founder of Daku Group of Companies) and Tanya van Lill (CEO of Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA)), will be speaking at the SA Innovation Summit. “These women have already achieved so much and their passion for the work they do is apparent. Despite working in male dominated environments they have succeeded in the highest echelons of the business world. They are well placed to help other women do the same,” says Audrey Verhaeghe, Chairperson of the SAIS.

Speaking about inclusivity of women in the workplace, van Lill says: “Globally only 13% of private equity investment professionals are women. In SAVCA’s latest survey of the private equity industry we found that we have a 20% representation of women in South Africa. We are ahead of the international average, but it is still a male dominated industry.”

She shares her dismay at how often women abdicate wonderful speaking opportunities, passing them on to their male counterparts. Aware of the male dominated space she works in, van Lill helps to practically empower female fund managers and professionals working in private equity through SAVCA events held exclusively for them.

Daku adds that globally only 12% of CEOs are women and that in South Africa this figure is even less, 10%.

“We have to struggle against the long-established stereotypes about what women can do and what industries we can work in,” says Daku.

The challenge for women in the workplace is not solely external though. Both Daku and van Lill mention the self-inflicted pressure they have felt to be “perfect” in all spheres of life.

“My work-life balance suffered a blow a few years ago because I wanted to achieve everything at the same time,” says Daku. Van Lill adds: “I have learnt that you just can’t be a top achiever at work and also make it to every single sports match your child plays; you can’t study an MBA and run with all the biggest projects at work. As women we need to be okay with not being excellent at everything all the time, and find a balance that works for us in the different stages of our lives.”

Daku and van Lill are living examples of hope for other women with great aspirations to make a difference and achieve success in their careers. Daku is the winner of the Top Performing Entrepreneur prize at the 2017 National Business Awards and the 2018 Gauteng Business Achiever of the Year award. As CEO and Founder of property company Daku Group, she has a passion to “lift others up while you climb” and is mentoring 20 young business women, sharing from her wealth of experience.

According to Daku, the biggest challenge to women’s success is “believing in themselves. In most cases their self-esteem is very low, but it need not be so,” she says.

Van Lill has risen from working in a temporary position at a bank with no tertiary qualification to being head hunted for the position of CEO at SAVCA. She shares the same sentiments as Daku:

“I think as women we are often our own worst critics, we criticise ourselves far more than we should and are more risk averse than men. We need to look at why this is the case and find solutions to these challenges.”

Her advice to young women looking to enter the business world is to accept every challenge that will take you beyond what you know you are capable of and help you to learn on the job.

“I didn’t have the funds to study and only started studying after working for a few years, so I had to find ways to upskill myself. I just said ‘yes’ to every opportunity and learnt a lot,” she says.

Verhaeghe, awarded the Women in Leadership Award at the Women in Excellence Awards 2018, believes that women should find their own, authentic way to lead.

“Emulating men will not bring balance or authenticity to the workplace. We need step up as women and bring powerful, uniquely feminine flavoured leadership to bear at work in issues such as work and life balance, better communication, better connectedness and better co-creation,” Verhaeghe concludes.

The SA Innovation Summit strives to be gender inclusive: in addition to Daku and van Lill, delegates at the Summit can look forward to hearing from inspirational women like:

  • Mamokgethi Phakeng: University of Cape Town Vice Chancellor
  • Graça Machel: Former first lady and activist for the rights of women and children
  • Yolisa Kani: Head of Public Policy at Uber South Africa
  • Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela: Executive Director at CSIR Biosciences
  • Aunnie Paton Power: Founder of Intelligent Impact
  • Patricia Gouws: Senior lecturer at UNISA’s College of Science, Engineering

To find out more about the Innovation Summit and register, visit or follow SA Innovation Summit on Twitter (@InnovSummit) or Facebook (@SAInnovation).

How disruptive technologies are transforming education

[CAPTION] According to a popular statistic provided by the World Economic Forum, 65% of today’s primary school children will be working in jobs that do not exist yet. Advanced technology, while presenting the challenge of preparing children for an unknown future, also presents opportunities for their development that have never existed before, such as robotics (pictured above) and virtual reality. The Disrupt Stage at the SA Innovation Summit, taking place in Cape Town in September, will explore some of these opportunities.  

How is your spelling? Or rather, how is your spelling when you are lying on your back remote-navigating a virtual paper aeroplane? This integration of the motor senses with learning is one example of technology challenging traditionally accepted teaching methods. Another is a virtual chemistry lab table, where children interact with elements and create chemical reactions by placing physical cards on a glass projection screen and watching to find out what happens next. That is one way to teach chemistry, without the potential of burnt fingers and at a much lower cost than a full-scale chemistry lab. Both of these ‘edu-tech’ teaching tools already exist; innovations designed by Formula-D Interactive to supplement and enhance children’s learning experiences while preparing them for a tech future.

For many, this future will require hard skills like coding and programming. However, with technology developing at its current speed, they will all need to be able to figure out how technology works without a manual, says Patricia Gouws, Senior Lecturer in the College of Science Engineering and Technology (CSET) at the University of South Africa. For this reason, CSET are teaching children robotics by giving them the opportunity to build and code robots themselves. This not only teaches them about teamwork, it also teaches them engineering and programming principles. More importantly, they are trained to figure things out for themselves – learning through doing.

“We are preparing children to think and learn, and we are teaching them that programming is not difficult or scary,” says Gouws.

This technology is not available to the average child yet, especially in previously disadvantaged communities. One challenge is accessibility: moving entire computer labs or virtual reality sets from school to school is no small feat. UNISA is solving this challenge by stocking a mobile unit that brings robotics to children who would otherwise not be able to participate. A second challenge is the cost of getting advanced technology into impoverished areas, which is why solutions like the virtual chemistry lab table are designed to be more affordable. Marco Rosa, Managing Director at Formula-D Interactive, expects these types of solutions to become more common in future. A further challenge is mindset:

“Some people, including teachers, often connect ‘education’ with ‘books and pens’, while technology like games and computers are categorised as fun entertainment and even a distraction to the learning process”, says Rosa. “However, this technology can be a fantastic way to enhance the learning process. The more people who realise that, the more we can use it to prepare children for the future.”

A powerful way of overcoming these challenges is to shift the mindset from using edu-tech as a community or social investment project, to it being imperative for achieving the business goals of corporates. It is also not limited to children. For example, South African consumers owe R1.78 trillion in credit: increasing their financial literacy is not only good for them, but also for the banks who provide credit services. Sea Monster therefore created Moneyversity, a mobile and web interactive platform featuring engaging and educational animated content, articles and interactive elements to enhance personal finance, for Old Mutual. The learner management system platform offers 14 courses covering the basic of personal finance, to help customers to be financially smart. This enables them to understand and use products like credit responsibly.

“By doing this, you are not just building a more responsible consumer base today and letting them interact voluntarily with the brand, but you are creating a new market in future,” says Glenn Gillis, CEO of Sea Monster. “Traditionally edu-tech is narrowly defined as ‘How can we use the technology for school children?’ It now includes how companies use education (of both children and adults) to unlock strategic value. The opportunities are endless!”

To find out more about and interact with the innovations impacting on education and training, delegates at the SA Innovation Summit 2018 with have access to the Disrupt Stage. The interactive Disrupt Stage will consist of a showcase, master classes and a deep dive that will provide delegates with a blueprint for disruption for their concept, product or new venture. The Summit, taking place at the Cape Town Stadium from 12 to 14 September 2018, will feature UNISA’s robotics classes, as well as Formula-D Innovation’s Life’s A Breeze innovation. Sea Monster’s animation, games, and augmented and virtual reality disruptions will also be part of the experience. For more information, keep an eye on or follow SA Innovation Summit on Twitter (@InnovSummit) or Facebook (@SAInnovation).

Rotary helps establish Khomani San community in Botswana

The Rotary Club of Table Bay, together with the Rotary Club of Claremont, donated a solar panel, charger, battery and inverter to the Khomani San community living in Botswana. Two donkeys, two portable composting toilets and initial costs for repairing an existing borehole have also been made to the Botswana community, living 120 kilometres from the Gemsbok border post, close to the town of Struizendam.

“The Khomani San is one people group split across three different countries: Namibia, South Africa and Botswana. This is because of conflict, formation of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and a lack of water supply. The community living in Botswana have found a suitable site where they can continue living in their old traditional ways and we have been able to help them establish their new home,” explains John Britz, from the Rotary Club of Table Bay.

The solar panel will provide the power required to operate the borehole, once it is fixed. In the interim, the donkeys will be used to transport water supplies to the community from the nearest town. Each donkey will carry two 25 litre containers of water along an 8 km path through the desert. The portable composting toilets will be used mainly by visitors to the community, as there are no ablution facilities to accommodate large groups.

“There are many people from around the world interested in visiting the San people and learning more about their traditional way of life and wisdom which is passed down orally to the next generation. It will be much easier for the Khomani San in Botswana to communicate with visitors now that they have a solar panel and are able to charge their phones and electronic devices,” says Britz.

The donation was made possible with funds provided by the Rotary Club of Claremont’s Outreach Committee. Its Chairperson, Monique Stuart-Fox says, “It is wonderful to see how lives are touched in some of the most remote parts of District 9350. We are pleased to partner with other Rotary Clubs in completing important and worthwhile projects that help others.” Over the past six years, the Rotary Club of Claremont distributed R1.5 million through its Outreach Committee.