The South African SME toolkit

first_img6 September 2007Global computer giant IBM, local company Business Partners, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Department of Trade and Industry have come together to offer South African entrepreneurs and small enterprises a free web-based toolkit to help them start, finance and grow their businesses.The South Africa Business Toolkit, launched on Tuesday, contains “the latest information and communication technologies to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets learn and implement sustainable business management practices”, IBM said in a statement.The aim, IBM said, was to increase the reach of South African small business into the global economy by improving the productivity, efficiency and capacity of the estimated 600 000 active small businesses in South Africa, as well as by improving their access to capital and new markets.The South Africa toolkit was developed by IBM and the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. It is available both as online and offline modules which include the website, offline CDs, mobile alerts and classroom training.“The SME Toolkit is a particularly powerful combination of technology and business expertise in a country such as South Africa, where there is so much potential for small and medium business growth,” said IBM South and Central Africa MD Mark Harris.Specially designed free toolsThe toolkit website contains information and tools to address accounting and finance, business planning, human resources, legal and insurance, marketing and sales, operations, and technology needs. For example, a business owner can quickly go to the site, find templates for employee evaluations, then log off.Among the specially designed free tools are:An online calculator to help businesses determine their readiness for financing.Software to build a website.Business forms for employee performance evaluations.Community tools such as online conferencing, blog capability, group calendars.Survey and quiz builders to help small businesses make decisions.A multilingual business directory to help small businesses link locally, regionally and globally.“Small businesses are the growth engines of the world’s economies, yet their success rate is not as good as it could be simply because of a lack of access to good business management practices,” said IFC director for Africa Thierry Tanoh. “Giving small businesses the information and new collaborative technologies they need will help them grow and prosper.”Small businesses can, through the toolkit, receive business training delivered via classroom workshops and partnerships with local support providers. The toolkit can also help small businesses go global by providing detailed market access, investment and trade information for the 64 countries most exported to.In South Africa, where an estimated 70% of new businesses fail within 18 months, the toolkit has been designed to provide the access and expertise to enable small business to connect to the world economy.“Many entrepreneurs struggle through their challenges laboriously, and many of them get it right, after they have tried and failed a few times,” said Ferose Oaten of Auto Vehicle Test Centres AVTS. “Some don’t get it right at all, as they think that a good idea is enough.“This toolkit should go a long way in taking away the obstacles and goes further than just the starting, establishment phases, but goes on to provide the tools for maintenance and sustainability.”Customised for the SA marketAccording to IBM, its local partners in the countries hosting the toolkit – such as Elite in Nepal, Dunn & Bradstreet in Singapore, and Business Partners in South Africa – are responsible for making sure the more than 500 pieces of content, tools and resources are customised, localised and available in the language of their respective markets.“These partnerships provide small businesses with local support, thus nurturing their businesses to improve their chance of survival and to generate more jobs,” IBM said.“When a business is in trouble one of the most important things needed is advice from someone who cares, who has been through it before,” said Jo’ Schwenke, MD of Business Partners, a specialist investment company for small and medium businesses in South Africa.“The Web 2.0 collaborative features of this toolkit provide that advisory service by allowing small and medium business owners to interact with each other as well as access data normally available only to Fortune 1000 companies,” Schwenke said.Plans for wirelessSince the toolkit was launched by the IFC in 2002, IBM has spent more than US$1.6-million on rebuilding it on open source platform “using top talent in IBM research.“The Toolkit now includes new Web 2.0 features such as live chat, online forums, business directories and survey capabilities to create a community where small and medium-sized business can collaborate – anywhere around the world,” the company said.There are also plans to allow users to connect to the toolkit using wireless devices such as cellphones.“This truly is one-stop shopping for small businesses, and it levels the playing field,” said IBM vice-president of corporate affairs Stanley Litow. “We know the tools that large businesses use mostly and we know the role technology can play in leading to growth.“Now, every business can have the same chance to succeed.”SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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Helping animals, helping people in Khayelitsha

first_imgAt Mdzananda Animal Welfare Clinic, the only permanent animal welfare support centre in Khayelitsha, an impoverished township in Cape Town, residents’ pets are cared for and appreciated. (Image: Mdzananda Animal Clinic) • Mdzananda Animal Clinic +27 21 367 2302 mdzananda@absamail.co.za • Climate park to cool off animals • New animal rehab centre for CT • New lost and found website for pets • Kruger’s animal populations growing • Local solutions for animal healthMelissa Jane CookIn helping others, we should not forget man’s best friends; after all, dogs offer unconditional love and are known to alleviate suffering and bring joy to the lonely. Animals help us be better humans; they show us how to be our best selves.At Mdzananda Animal Welfare Clinic, the only permanent animal welfare support centre in Khayelitsha, an impoverished township in Cape Town, residents’ pets are cared for and appreciated. Mdzananda means “distemper” in isiXhosa, a fitting name as the clinic provides primary veterinary health care services – spaying and neutering, dipping, deworming and vaccination for dogs and cats in this sprawling area that is home to more than a million people. Mdzananda runs from six recycled shipping containers and seven of the nine staff members are Khayelitsha residents.The clinic embraces these animals, and holds the philosophy that human health and happiness improve in meaningful ways from pet ownership. Mdzananda is a partner organisation of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Highly respected and supported by the community, it was founded in 1996 in response to the need for veterinary services in a fast-growing community that had no access to help for their animals.Initially it worked from a single donated shipping container and with no running water or electricity. Today, thanks to the support of IFAW and others, the project runs on its own land and is fully serviced. It receives no financial support from the city of Cape Town. Mdzananda’s services are provided five-and-half-days a week, and an emergency service operates after hours and on Sundays. The project has a vibrant and busy volunteer programme and regularly hosts visiting veterinarians, veterinary nurses and vet techs.Mdzananda: Pets In Poverty Find LoveMobile clinicsKhayelitsha is huge. To help its many pet owners, many of whom are too poor to take their pets to large clinics in Cape Town or are unable to reach even Mdzananda, the centre has mobile clinics that go to the outlying areas and provide services such as dipping, deworming and vaccinating of dogs and cats. Mobile clinics are conducted Mondays to Friday afternoons and the staff constantly try to extend services to many communities in need.Staff working in the mobile clinics also go door-to-door teaching people about pet care and identifying pets for sterilisation. Sick pets or those due for sterilisation are taken to Mdzananda’s home base for hospitalisation and treatment.Neutering campaignsA key part of the work at Mdzananda is encouraging pet owners to agree to allow the professional sterilisation of their dogs and cats. Every pet owner who brings their dog or cat to the clinic is encouraged to have it sterilised. Sterilisations are carried out from Mondays to Saturdays.The clinic also holds spay campaigns, when residents are taught about the importance of family planning for their pets. During these times, a team of volunteer veterinarians can sterilise up to 100 dogs and cats in a single day. Mdzananda’s sterilisation drives try to focus on a single area at a time to make an impact on a localised population of dogs. Sterilisation is entirely free.Kennels and gardensBig companies have added Mdzananda Animal Welfare Clinic to their social outreach portfolios. From time to time, Mdzananda organises “kennel building” events for their staff, local residents, members of their donor organisations and volunteers to build and decorate kennels from scrap wood.These kennels are then given to deserving pet owners in the community. The clinic also has its own vegetable garden. Veggies are grown for staff, and nutritious soups are made during the cold and rainy winter months. In this way, the clinic takes care of its people as well as its four-legged friends.last_img read more

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Hanyu defends Olympic gold medal in men’s figure skating

first_imgOnyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Jarencio, Globalport welcome long break before crucial battles ahead 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan reacts as his score is posted following his performance in the men’s free figure skating final in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Yuzuru Hanyu was introduced as the Olympic gold medalist, skated over to the podium and jumped high onto it. With a perfect landing, naturally.He also leaped into the figure skating history books Saturday, becoming the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952.ADVERTISEMENT Adam Rippon doesn’t do quads, but his presentation and dramatic flair earn him points. The 28-year-old dropped from seventh to 10th, but these were successful games for him, and his arm pumps to bolster the audience’s cheers when he was done lent a comical touch.“They usually say that like, after the Olympic Games, somebody’s life changes forever,” Rippon said. “A lot of times it’s the gold medalist, but I have a feeling that my life has changed forever.” Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises View comments Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH “Just happy. I can’t say anymore, just happy,” Hanyu said through his ever-present smile. “I just did my best today. I don’t know if this is the best of my skating life, but I can say from my heart that I skated my best today.”He held off countryman Shoma Uno and Spain’s Javier Fernandez in the free skate.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCoach Brian Orser met Hanyu as he left the ice after his strong but slightly flawed performance. Then Orser, a two-time Olympic silver medalist who also coaches Fernandez, rushed back to behind the sideboards to help encourage the Spaniard.Fernandez couldn’t match Hanyu. Read Next NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencerscenter_img As always, Hanyu skated to raucous support from the crowd , with thousands of Japanese flags filling the stands. He was terrific, though not perfect, particularly messing up a combination jump.As always, he left the ice to a swarm of cascading Winnie The Pooh dolls flooding the ice.Uno might have won the gold if not for his magnificent countryman. His energy throughout, particularly in the back end of his routine to “Turandot,” permeated the arena, and he pumped his arms wildly when he finished.Fernandez, skating to “Man of La Mancha,” was a worthy medalist, finishing just 1.66 points behind Uno.“It means a lot for my country,” Fernandez said. “We’ve never had a figure skating Olympic medal. We have such few Winter Olympic medals in any sports, so I hope it means a lot to everyone back home.”The 18-year-old Chen had succumbed to the pressure and massive expectations in the short program, a day earlier . On Saturday, he nailed virtually every element. He even did the sixth quad, a loop, getting full credit for the four rotations though he put his hands down on the ice on it.“I think after having such a disastrous short program and being so, so low in the ranking — lower than I usually ever am — it allowed me to completely forget the results and focus on enjoying myself out on the ice,” Chen said, “and getting rid of expectations helped a lot.”He led all three U.S. skaters into the top 10 as his 127.64 points for technical virtuosity put him in another stratosphere, and his 215.08 points for the free skate were a personal high.Chen’s 17-year-old teammate Vincent Zhou, put down five quads — as if to say, “Hey buddy, I can do this, too” — in another spectacular jumping show. Zhou also soared in the standings, winding up sixth.“It’s been such a wild ride over my short 17 years,” Zhou said. “I’ve been through so much, it would take me hours to say it all. But to skate like that, to have a successful performance means so much to me.” Hanyu later congratulated Fernandez and told him he wished both of them could have won.“I told him, ‘Yes, Yuzu, but only one can be champion. Only one can have the gold medal,’” Fernandez said.Uno moved from third Friday to second, loading a high-scoring quad and three triples into the final minute of his routine.“I knew which level of performance I performed,” he said through a translator. “I did what I intended to do.”American Nathan Chen surged from a fiasco of a short program, when he was 17th, by winning the free skate to wind up fifth. He did it with an historic routine featuring six quads.ADVERTISEMENT John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC AFP official booed out of forum Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 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