Assisting South Africa’s tech start-ups: Exclusive Networks Africa offers financial support and mentorship
Trusted cybersecurity specialist Exclusive Networks Africa is simultaneously a member of a listed global enterprise as well as a locally-founded and proudly South African firm, with its business values firmly supportive of the ongoing economic empowerment of the country. The company has an established Supplier Development Programme in place, to offer mentoring and financial support to chosen entrepreneurs and small business suppliers with whom it partners.
“The aim is to increase the participation of black-owned SMEs within both our own supply chain and the wider economy,” says Managing Director Anton Jacobsz. “Currently, we have partnered with Digital Stream, a digital marketing and website development agency, to assist them on their business journey. We are now in our third year of offering them financial support by using their services, as well as providing business mentorship to assist with the nitty-gritty of economic understanding and required practices.”
According to a recent report by the Competition Commission South Africa, the Online Intermediation Platforms Inquiry of July 2022, the support of historically disadvantaged persons’ (HDP) start-ups within the digital economy in South Africa is facing strong barriers to entry when it comes to sourcing and securing funding .
According to the report (Provisional Summary, page 62): “Digital markets are the fastest growing segment of economy, and there is a real risk that a failure to ensure greater participation by HDPs will result in growing inequality in future. It is therefore imperative that remedial action is taken now to address the funding gaps that exist for HDPs.”
Jacobsz comments: “This makes it even more imperative that black-owned SMEs in the digital space are given the encouragement and support that they require, and Exclusive Networks Africa is very proud to play our part - as an IT company ourselves - in supporting this young and vibrant digital SME on its business journey.”
Digital Stream describes itself as a B-BBEE Level 1 digital marketing agency specialising in design, development and digitisation, and is based in Centurion, Gauteng.
Founder and Creative Director Dillon Adams explains: “We pride ourselves in being a young, vibrant and modern digital marketing agency. I began the agency in December 2019 with a planned focus of giving young South Africans the opportunity to work. We offer various digital marketing services, including website development, graphic design, social media support and maintenance services, and search engine optimisation (SEO) marketing.
“With regards to the latter, this is such an important part of today’s digital marketing requirements in order to make sure that your business’ online presence is as prominent as possible, and we take pride in staying up to date with Google’s ever-evolving certification requirements.”
Adams notes that Digital Stream is very competitive with regards to pricing, adding: “I believe that our pricing, when compared to other agencies, as well as our Level 1 status, gives us a unique differentiator. We offer quality work at a good price, and our status allows companies that use our services to benefit by getting back up to 35 percent of their procurement spend.
“We are also very well versed in the requirements of the wider IT channel, and understand the security and networking landscapes. This additionally allows us to offer uniquely tailored marketing to potential clients within the IT space.”
Jacosbsz endorses this, adding: “We have been very impressed with Digital Stream’s understanding of our business needs and our place in the wider channel network. I believe that this makes for a unique offering, and we are very pleased to continue supporting them as they carve out a niche for themselves within the IT networking and security landscape overall.”
“I am extremely grateful to Exclusive Networks Africa for its support,” says Adams. “The company’s initial start-up funding, together with its ongoing support of our business offering and the business mentorship, have been invaluable on the business journey to date. Scaling up can of course be challenging, but I am now proud to have five employees on my books, including myself, and I look forward to growing the business within this niche IT environment into the future, with the ongoing support of Exclusive Networks Africa.”
In addition to its Supplier Development Programme, Exclusive Networks Africa supports Literacy for Life, a non-profit organisation involved in early childhood development (ECD) education since 2015. Further, the company has partnered with another non-profit organisation that supports ECD learning, The Love Trust, as its Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) partner.
“Our relationships with The Love Trust and Literacy for Life allow us to continue with the ongoing educational upliftment of vulnerable communities,” explains Jacobsz. “We are passionate about the role that ongoing education must play in the present and future development of South Africa, to achieve economic possibilities and prosperity right down to grassroots level.
“We are proud that our Supplier Development Programme, together with our support of these non-profit ECD organisations, have all played a role in the maintenance of our B-BBEE Level One status, which in turn offers a preferential procurement rating to our business partners. This rating comes as a result of much hard work and investment across a number of pertinent criteria in order to be able to interact positively with our business partners while contributing towards the communities in which we operate, and the country overall,” he concludes.
For more information on Digital Stream, please see https://digitalstream.co.za/ or contact them via firstname.lastname@example.org