They say that a business is only as good as its people, and for South African entrepreneur Julie Cassidy and her company ProFlex People, those words were the inspiration needed to create an innovative and highly flexible resourcing solution tailor-made for small businesses.
LoA found out more about this niche service business that is on a mission to help grow SMEs through a more flexible approach to upskilling their workforces.
What does your company do?
ProFlex People is a new and innovative resourcing solution that provides small businesses with high quality professional services on a completely flexible, by the hour basis, at affordable rates in the areas of Human Resources and Accounting, through an easy to use, online platform. ProFlex People is a unique service that offers a flexible solution to small businesses by allowing them to choose the skills they need, for as long as they need, with no additional overheads, employment challenges or excessive rates. Our solution opens up access to a skills base not previously available to small businesses on such a flexible or affordable basis. By making it easier for businesses to access these skills we aim to improve success rates and grow this important sector within the South African economy.
"ProFlex People is a unique service that offers a flexible solution to small businesses by allowing them to choose the skills they need, for as long as they need, with no additional overheads, employment challenges or excessive rates. "
What inspired you to start your company?
The business was established in September 2015 by husband and wife team Patrick and Julie Cassidy, who having spent time working abroad realised on their return to South Africa that there were limited opportunities for Julie to work part-time while raising their young child. Julie, a qualified professional with over 23 years’ experience in Human Resources, wanted to get back into the workplace but did not want to do so on a full-time basis. She set about creating a concept where professionals could keep their skills up to date by working on a more flexible basis and contributing to the success of the growing SME Sector, resulting in the creation of ProFlex People.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Small business will use our service because they need access to professional accounting and human resource support on demand at affordable rates. There is a real gap in this type of support for small business owners. Our professionals are thoroughly screened and vetted to ensure that only the highest quality candidates are made available. Our professionals are able to share their expertise and keep engaged with the workplace whilst maintaining a positive work-life balance. Professionals are rated by the business after completing each assignment, which is then made available through an Approval Rating on their profile to guarantee complete confidence in the quality of the professional on future assignments.
"By making it easier for businesses to access these skills we aim to improve success rates and grow this important sector within the South African economy."
Tell us a little about your team
The business was started by a husband and wife team who are both passionate about developing the small business sector, as well as reducing unemployment levels for graduate professionals who want to work flexibly. The business recently welcomed a Marketing Director into the fold as we realise the importance of marketing for our business concept and we also wanted to support black female entrepreneurship in South Africa. The team is supported by a part-time office administrator.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Both founding Directors have worked in the Corporate world for over 20 years which has been a strong foundation for business knowledge and skills. For the most part this corporate journey has been about transformation and change, by always looking for ways to improve and enhance the divisions that we worked for. There have always been entrepreneurial tendencies and it was all about finding the right opportunity. Ultimately the corporate world just became too restrictive and South Africa presents many opportunities for someone with the drive, tenacity and ambition to make an impact.
"Small business will use our service because they need access to professional accounting and human resource support on demand at affordable rates. There is a real gap in this type of support for small business owners."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Following our launch in Gauteng, ProFlex People will be expanding our services to include the fields of Legal, Marketing and IT in addition to Human Resources and Finance in order to meet the critical needs of SMEs. We expect that within the next 6 months, we will roll this model out to other parts of the country, focusing on those regions with the highest concentration of SMEs, specifically Cape Town, Durban and Bloemfontein. More longer term we will create a central hub for small business to include support for business set-up, placements and other services.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Being my own boss and seeing first hand the difference you can make to people's lives and the success of small businesses.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Don't give up! As hard as the struggle seems to get your business off the ground and become your own boss, the rewards far outweigh the efforts.
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Why LoA loves it….
As the SME sector grows in Africa, so too does the need for specialist business service providers that cater to the specific challenges facing small to medium sized enterprises, across a range of industry sectors. Julie Cassidy and her team at Proflex People, recognise that the SME sector needs great people with great skills, capable of taking those businesses to the next level. This is one company bringing those HR and skills development solutions to the table, and making them SME centric to make a difference. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa