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By 4 October 2019 | Categories: news

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There can be no argument that South African business face a number of challenges, not the least of which is a tough economic environment and a potentially looming global recession.

However, a few tech juggernaughts – Vodacom, Samsung, Business Doctors, WeAreMonsters, Google and Facebook - are banding together to give local businesses a helping hand up. More specifically, Vodacom is launching a series of workshops and interactive sessions called the Fast Forward Series, aimed at driving “significant growth and change within the South African business sector,” according to the company.  The series will target Small-to-Medium Enterprises, Large Enterprises, Public and Global Enterprises and offer everything from industry trend updates and workshops to innovation sprints, developer series and hackathons.

Collaboration counts

With the rise of the digital economy, comes the need for businesses, irrespective of size to acquire key skills to stay relevant. The Vodacom Fast Forward Series’ focus is on creating a collaborative environment with its partners, to develop tailored plans to help facilitate this skills development and information transfer to promote business growth and strategic decision-making across small, medium, and large enterprises in an ever-changing market.

According to Vodacom, the Fast Forward Series will ensure that all business-relevant stakeholders, looking to boost their knowledge on "digital transformation" and take their business to the cloud, can learn from these programmes, either by physically attending the sessions or by accessing them on a soon-to-be-launched business e-learning platform.

“As the trusted partner of choice for business in South Africa, we want to help them understand and prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution by adopting the technology that is being made available to optimise their business processes and efforts,” explained Fatima Hassim, Vodacom Business Managing Executive.

(sm)All welcome

The first part of the series is in collaboration with Samsung and an ecosystem of partners, including Business Doctors, WeAreMonsters, Google and Facebook. These initial sessions will see SA’s leading telco connect with small-to-medium businesses to provide them with the tools, skills and insights to assist them along their digital journey to success. This phase will see up to 480 businesses given free access to content and receive hands-on training from experts to grow their digital skills.

“Our objective here is to create an environment that will address key business challenges – focusing on helping them to develop strategies to survive and thrive in today’s digital economy,” added Hassim.

“We have partnered with digital pioneers, some of the best in the industry, to pave the way for South African businesses looking to undergo a digital transition. We look forward to a successful initial phase and are certain there will be room to grow in the future. Our ambition is to connect and grow South African businesses so they are able to meaningfully take part in the Fourth Industrial Revolution," she continued.

Moving forward

Vodacom will be breaking the initial series down into two parts. The Growth Hacking Workshops, facilitated by WeAreMonsters, will give 30 businesses the opportunity to book one session over a two month-period, that will comprise of an engaging eight-hour workshop followed up by an in-depth evaluation and plan of action that will recommend the best way forward for each business.

The Business Acceleration workshops comprise of four sessions, monthly, that are in collaboration with Google, Facebook and Business Doctors. These will facilitate workshops with 30 businesses per session and will provide them with tools to either evaluate their "Business Health" and give them key tools to create more efficient business processes or leverage Google and Facebook platforms optimally to reach the right customers at the right time through social media advertising and Search Engine Optimisation.

According to Vodacom Business, this type of hands-on engagement is priceless for small-to-medium business owners in need of advice and reassurance that they're up to speed with the new ways of finding, selling to and serving their customers. This is also the first time Google is collaborating with a telco to provide skills to small business owners in South Africa.

Mobility matters

Powered by Samsung, attendees will both gain access to first-grade content as well as  experience the new technology they have available and the power of mobile through an office simulation installed in the Business Experience Centre.  

“It’s an exciting opportunity and an honour for Samsung Mobile South Africa to once again work shoulder to shoulder with the leading telco in SA to launch a platform of this kind within the business environment,” enthused Justin Hume, Chief of Samsung Mobile South Africa.

“It is this type of progressive leadership that will make the biggest contributions to the change that we need to see within the SA landscape. We are looking forward to being a part of this programme and working with both Vodacom and the selected partners to drive this. There are some exciting surprises throughout the series that will be announced in due course." he hinted.

“As a support network for small businesses, we’re dedicated to helping SMEs and larger businesses successfully integrate into the digital economy and grow, “added Steve Sutton, Chief Executive Officer at Business Doctors, which an ecosystem partner for the Fast Forward series.

“By partnering with Vodacom on the Fast Forward Series, we will jointly set South African businesses up for future economic growth and help them succeed through applied business development solutions,” he concluded.

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