Redpeg, a training and service provider that operates in the HIV/Aids arena, has won Cisco's Extreme Business Makeover competition and will soon take possession of R300 000.00 worth of networking products and solutions.
Cisco runs the competition to stimulate economic growth by making technology more accessible to small and medium businesses (SMBs). Launched in March, the initiative invited local businesses to compete for the first prize of a complete networking transformation worth R300 000.00. Cisco received hundreds of entries from SMBs across the country.
Redpeg, an accredited education and training service provider that offers training programmes and workplace interventions, was named the winner of the competition at a gala event hosted in Johannesburg. The company broadly operates within the workplace HIV/Aids arena and consults to businesses of all sizes to enable them to build capacity to implement manageable and sustainable HIV/Aids workplace programmes.
According to Val Moodley, regional sales manager of commercial business at Cisco, a common challenge faced by small businesses is finding the right technology tools that will increase productivity and efficiency across the organisation.
"As part of our ongoing commitment to the SMB segment, we are pleased to be playing an important role in assisting Redpeg to transform the way it does business. Cisco's technology solution will provide Redpeg with the tools needed to increase productivity and competitiveness and develop quality materials and reports that will create competitive distinction," she says.
Tracy Jean-Pierre, founder and director of Redpeg, comments: "As our business grew, so did our requirement for a reliable, well integrated and cost effective networking and communications infrastructure. Managing the vast amounts of data we work with in a secure, reliable and cost effective manner is key to our business and so is the ability for employees working remotely to access this information."
A panel of ICT and SMB industry experts assessed the entries and evaluated it against various criteria to determine the competition winner. The company's technology experts will now conduct a detailed analysis of Redpeg's needs and instigate a renewal of its technological platform with Cisco integrated solutions including a fully integrated Cisco network with voice, video, wireless communication and desktop applications.
"As our existing system no longer meets our business requirements, we are thrilled to be the winners of this makeover," says Jean-Pierre. "The new Cisco network will enable our employees to remain connected, productive and able to access the information they need in an efficient and reliable manner.
"Additionally, the ability to collaborate with various stakeholders in creating up-to-date and quality HIV/Aids material and reports is essential in maintaining a competitive advantage."
Ken Jarvis; CEO of Jika Africa, ex CIO of the South African Revenue Service and an adjudicator in Cisco's Extreme Business Makeover competition believes that more companies need to create initiatives to boost local SMBs.
He says one of the biggest challenges facing SMBs in South Africa is late payment. This may cause SMBs to go under, as they often do not have sufficient capital to sustain operations should payment not be received in a timely manner.
"From both a private and public sector perspective, SMBs need to be categorised to be paid faster – for example 14 to 30 days – to ensure that their financial stability is not put at risk. The public and private sector have an obligation and need to work together to help drive business towards SMBs and in so doing, help stimulate the local economy."