By Fiona Wakelin and Nicole Forrest
For the final instalment of our wiGroup blog series, we take a look at CEO Bevan Ducasse’s approach to people and profit in his business, and how he created a winning formula that gives returns and gives back.
This is part three of a three-part series. Click here to read part one: From inspiration to implementation.
wiGroup’s tagline, “We pride ourselves on creating remarkable solutions”, rings true both in and out of office.
On a shelf in this light and airy space filled with greenery, hanging plants and a sense of energised calm, sits a crystal trophy. The prize was given to wiGroup in 2016 when the company was named FNB Business Innovator of the Year for demonstrating a trajectory of innovation from its inception.
“It’s great to be recognised and to be able to come back to the team and say, ‘We did it!’ Being externally celebrated brings with it a sense of pride – and PR. Because of the FNB accolade, people are reading and talking about wiGroup, which brings with it more business, building up momentum,” says Bevan.
The award came the year after wiGroup had sold a stake to Investec for just under R400-million, which has given the start-up opportunity to grow. “Always do deals that are win-win. The Investec stake of more than 25% in our company is just that. It’s a wonderful opportunity that will lead to future growth and expansion.
“Before the Investec deal, the business had already grown organically. We had broken even by 2012, expanding to 80 people. Then, in 2016, we grew by 50% from 85 to 135. The deal enables us to invest more in products and people and off-shore expansion. We are already in London, Amsterdam, France, Ghana and Mauritius, and are looking for opportunities to grow.”
Looking at the business’s growth and how this spurs employment as well as the working environment he has created, Bevan’s passion for people once again becomes clear.
Testament to this is the Giving Hope, an online platform that enables people to give to charities of their choice, which he launched with project manager Skye Venter.
By providing charities with exposure on social media platforms and ensuring that donations are completely traceable, Giving Hope increases the likelihood of sustainability for these organisations. With sponsorship from Zwelethu Enterpise Development, donors are reassured that all administrative costs are covered and the full amount donated goes to the intended charity.
Having achieved this remarkable balance between people and profit, Bevan advises aspiring entrepreneurs to find the thing that you’re passionate about and “surround yourself with brilliant people” to achieve your dreams.
Read part 1 of the wiGroup blog series, Innovation to implementation, here.
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