Corporate upskilling entrepreneur awarded Job Creator of the Year

Michael Roberts, owner of Khonology, has been named the 2016 Job Creator of the Year® at theEntrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS awards ceremony held in Johannesburg this morning. Roberts was recognised due to the significant role he is playing in bridging the gap between academia and corporate expectations for graduates entering the workforce.

Founded in early 2013 in response to the skills shortages in South African technology landscape, Khonology is a multi-faceted African services company that provides world-class business solutions with the vision of empowering Africa through the upskilling of local talent and the creation of employment opportunities.

Khonology is carrying out this vision by allocating local talent to projects, which also drives employment throughout the continent. The candidates that are deployed to projects are trained with a particular focus on technological and financial skills which are required within the broader financial services industry.

Although the chosen candidates already have the relevant academic qualifications, these individuals are often not perceived as being attractive to employers, as they do not have the necessary professional experience. Khonology trains and converts this raw talent into competent and hardworking problem solvers for clients, specialising in delivering projects focused on the following streams; data intelligence and reporting, trade/transaction applications, reconciliation, CRM, finance and accounting systems.

With the company having already directly impacted over 120 individuals, with 100 being employed by Khonology over three years, the judging panel was impressed that Khonology has managed to show impressive results in a relatively short period of time. “Michael is clearly onto something unique here, in that he’s recruiting individuals based on their mind sets and qualifications, and refining their professional skills in order to develop more well-rounded employees that can be better marketed to big corporate employers.

“Certain accountants, for example, have all the necessary qualifications, but cannot meet the clients’ needs because they lack practical exposure. This is a situation where a business like Khonology can make a major difference and literally create employment for individuals who may otherwise be seen as ‘unfit’ for the corporate world,” explains the judges.

Roberts believes that this award brings to light the gap between small and big business in terms of the value chain. “Entrepreneurship in South Africa comes with its share of challenges and requires resilience in tough conditions. I believe small and big business need to embrace the notion of working together to explore emerging trends which will in turn help small and medium enterprises to better contribute to the eco-system.

“Winning this award is a multiplication factor for my business in terms of branding and recognition, and speaks volumes about what we trying to achieve by highlighting the successful change that we have managed to bring about thus far,” he concludes.

For more information on Khonology, please visit

Technology can be a business enabler

Article written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
Bill Gates

Whenever I think about the application of technology (hardware and software) I follow a specific thinking process – something which might also be of value to other business owners.

1. Assess your needs

It is a good practice to start with the end in mind. This means that you need to understand what business outcome you want to achieve. You can then proceed to evaluate which technology application will support you in achieving the business imperative.

For example:

  • You want to record client information: MS Excel might just do the job for now, but a more robust CRM system might be the ultimate solution.
  • You have shrinkage of stock in your business: Electronic stock control will give you a handle on stock levels and movement of stock into and out of your business.
  • You want to publish a weekly article/newsletter: Depending on the volumes involved and the graphical presentation of the article or newsletter, you can use MS Word, or MS Publisher, or customise the information in HTML (requires programming skills).

2. Take stock of what you have

Do you have a gauge on the hardware and software applications used in your business? I have seen equipment standing around in businesses having no productive use. It is even worse with software applications. Different versions of standardised software applications are used in the same business. Knowing if technology is functional and compatible goes a far way to avoid challenges leading to inefficiencies.

Do you know what the use of each piece of technology in your business is? (E.g. lead management, financial reporting and sign-off, HR admin, safekeeping of information)

3. What is available?

There are infinite solutions available for technology enablement and advancement. If you are not tech-savvy, I propose that you identify someone who is. Pay them a consultation fee, if necessary. It is important to note that you are still the person responsible for verbalising the business outcome

you want to achieve with the application of technology. It is not wise to delegate this responsibility to someone else.

4. The cost of ownership

Sometimes you do not need outright ownership of software or even hardware components. A licencing right, leasing agreement, or “pay as you go” utilisation might be the right option for you. In this way you only pay for usage and always have access to the latest version or development.

If the application is business critical or very unique, it makes sense to consider developing it in-house, or have outright ownership thereof. Bear in mind that the redundancy cycles of technology is short. Most technology applications and equipment have no or little second hand value.

Let me conclude with another statement by the ubiquitous Bill Gates: “Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other.”

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success. Go to to download your free copy.