Giving people the skills development they need to fulfill their potential and live meaningful and productive lives is at the heart of DR VS Mncube Consulting, a 100% black female owned company making a difference in South Africa.
LoA chatted to the passionate Venessa Chetty, Chief Operations Officer, about the big vision for this impact focused business.
What does your company do?
We change people’s lives and how we do this is through the services we offer by empowering the youth, women and differently abled people. We deliver world class and cost effective solutions by empowering our team and remaining true to our values. Our service offerings are:
"We change people’s lives and how we do this is through the services we offer by empowering the youth, women and differently abled people."
DR VS Mncube Consulting (DRVSM) provides professional services and subject matter expertise in the delivery and support of leading tailor made enterprise technology infrastructure systems and networks, business software application development, customization and implementation of bespoke systems in the private and public sector.
With years of proven ICT outsourcing experience, DRVSM has delivered custom ICT infrastructure services as well as tailored Information Systems for large multifaceted contracts, with a wide knowledge base that covers the Financial Services, Banking, Educational and Training as well as Government lead sectors.
Products and Services include:
- ICT Connectivity and Networking Solutions
- ICT Hardware Infrastructure Implementations
- ICT Cloud and Hosting
- Specialized Resource Outsourcing
- Business as Usual Support
- Information System and Workflow Management Development
- Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing and Analytics
- ERP, CRM, HR Consulting Services Industry Specific
- Process Optimisation, Automation and Re-Engineering
- Advanced business, Financial Services and Debt Collections Systems and Services.
- Training through Applied Computer Sciences, Software Engineering and Accredited with MICT SETA.
The company is process driven and applies tried and trusted methodologies that ensure well-constructed, managed and deployed projects in the areas of Business Analysis, Project Management, Information System Development, Process Engineering, Testing and Deployment.
Data and Analytics Services
Data warehousing, Big Data Analytics, Business Intelligence, Custom Reporting, Modelling and Trend analysis.
Dr VS Mcnube Consulting, in partnership with Green Skills Consulting, is a socio-tech enterprise that focuses on the empowerment of women, youth and differently abled people, through technology. Our goal is to provide tailored courses in different areas of IT such as Rapid Application Development, Web Development, Business Intelligence and Data Analytics and to further grow our service offering as we grow our businesses. Our journey started through the Standard Bank & Liberty, Lionesses of Africa Accelerator programme, where we connected through our passion for technology, empowerment and making a difference in the African continent.
As a forensic service provider and detective agency with extensive experience, we provide an independent, proactive and responsive service with credible forensic results. Our team is innovative, flexible and quality conscious with a strong focus on value creation. We service clients in both the public and private sectors.
The company follows the best project management practices and utilizes advanced project management processes and tools, to optimize the use of the company’s, client and third party project management resources. DRVSM project management strengths, solid industry expertise and project team credentials are supported by professional certifications from leading industry institutions, such as Project Management Institute, IBM and others.
BUSINESS PROCESSING OUTSOURCING (BPO)
DRVSM offers a broad range of customer contact services through the fully blended multichannel inbound, outbound and/or blended contact centre. We work closely with clients to understand and drive their business initiatives in debt collection, account management, customer administration, prospecting, back-office administration, physical trace and pension fund tracing. Tailor made solutions are often born as various businesses have specific needs. We also have skills to set-up call centres as required by our clients. We partner with our clients either on an outsourced or co-source basis.
Our strength is our ability to offer complete tracing solutions, having a vast foot print in townships, informal settlements, rural areas and neighbouring states and the credibility of our shareholders. We are credible in terms of the companies and the individuals involved in the industry, diverse experience, relationships and technological capability.
Our physical tracing model is Level 3 in our overall tracing process which kicks in once all other the efforts to trace the person has failed. In Urban areas, we use dwelling information from step 2 to hone in on the physical location of the person.
For clients with home loans, the owner trace process is segmented into 2 streams:
- Owner living in property
- Tenant living in property
Where the owner lives in the property, all attempts will be made to obtain contact details by:
- Visiting during leisure and business hours including weekends
- Approaching neighbours to ascertain owner whereabouts and/or contact details
Where the tenant lives in the property, our expert tracers will obtain as much information as possible from the tenant and/or neighbours to ascertain owner whereabouts and/or contact details.
For clients with no linked home loan, our process involves linking transaction history to frequent locations to hone in on the location of the person.
Agri-Funding and Incubation Services
This involves funding rural communities to establish agricultural projects and providing business and technical support services to ensure that those farms grow to become commercial entities.
TRAINING, EDUCATION AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
ICT Training –Training through Applied Computer Sciences, Software Engineering and Accredited with MICT SETA.
Soft Skills Training
- Business Value Programmes include: Organisational Development; Finance for Non-Finance Managers; Tender & Procurement; Project Management; Performance Management; Debt Collections; Customer Service; Culture & Diversity and Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace.
- Corporate Life Skills include Conflict Management; Personal Branding; Negotiations Skills and Business Writing Skills.
- Wellness Training include HIV/AIDS workshops; Cancer Awareness; Drug Abuse and Resilience Training
- Coaching include Life /Career Coaching; Image Coaching; Leadership Coaching and Group Coaching.
"Our team is made up of dedicated, talented, innovative leaders that have vast knowledge and experience in their respective fields."
What inspired you to start your company?
Dr. VS Mncube Consulting t/a Uzulu Business Solutions was initially founded by Dr VS Mncube, to drive the project of bridging the skills gap between the University of Zululand Computer Science Students & the market place. Dr Mncube was involved with the academic institutions and youth groups in relation to skills development within IT. His main concern was that the material being lectured at these institutions was very academic given that even the teachers were academic with little or no experience in the real world. ICT was starting to be flagged by the likes of NEPAD as one of the key foundations of African development. There were big hopes around ICT in relation to the development of our continent. There was a big gap between what was happening in the institutions of higher learning and what the market place demanded. He then started a project that was born out of that need to create a vibrant working environment within the university and invite the market place to leverage the services the university could offer. Subsequently he also looked at the different profiles of these young graduates and realized that some could make it as entrepreneurs who went to start their own businesses, others could play a meaningful role in employment. He was then inspired to start his own business from seeing these graduate-entrepreneurs becoming successful in business. The business started as a small ICT consulting outlet. After a few years, he realized that the company was not leveraging several opportunities that are in the market and in 2016 he saw an opportunity to contribute positively towards key problems in the market place i.e. debt collections being a big issue in the municipalities.
He therefore founded the Debt Collections business on that basis. There were challenges working with the public sector and with the political landscape changing, with municipalities under immense pressure to generate meaningful revenue and there is still a big role we can play in addressing the issue of debt collections in several of these municipalities. In order for us to survive as the business we had to start exploring opportunities in the private sector and are still hopeful that when the business is stable and able to sustain the long periods and bureaucracy that we see in municipalities in terms of business development we will be able to fulfill that objective of contributing meaningfully towards revenue collections within the municipalities environment. We’ve also seen an opportunity of contributing to the payment of beneficiaries through unclaimed benefits. We see this as part of our social responsibility to play in that space hence we’ve had to establish a platform and capability in terms of beneficiary tracing.
I was inspired to join the team in 2016 as a managing partner, with the vision to grow and expand the potential of the business to make a more meaningful contribution to the economy of the country whilst building on the strong foundation that Dr Mncube has created. Today, as a 100% Black female owned company we continue to be mentored by Dr Mncube and we strive to empower the youth, women and differently abled people through our service offering.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
a) Trace – special relationship with local Tribes/Council, access to credit and home affairs data, social media
b) Debt Collection Services - Overarching Principles
- Ensure best possible customer experience
- Avoid the drama triangle (Victim, Persecutor, Rescuer)
- Establish/enforce penalties for non-payment (where applicable)
- Ensure RPC (Right Party Contact) – contact details of the party responsible for the account/debt
- Understand/ascertain financial situation of customer in relation to debt (Propensity to Pay)
- Allow alternate payment channels to aid payment (Debit Order, EFT, EasyPay, POS)
- Employ extensive reminder campaigns (SMS, E-mail, Letter, MMS, etc.)
- Cater for weekly/bi-weekly payment arrangements
- Reward good behavior (discount, loyalty programmes, Settlement campaigns)
- Call (Priority)
- SMS (No contact, Welcome, Reminders)
- MMS (Statements + Collections)
- E-mail (Statements + Collections)
- Letter as per approval (Late Stage/Legal Collections)
- Social Media (Age/LSM dependent)
- POS collections
ICT – Young, vibrant talented team with agile delivery principles. Able to quickly adapt to new technologies.
Forensic Audit – The methodology we use combines important and relevant disciplines into one which includes Information, Communications & Technology (ICT), Legal and Finance. The main differentiator in our forensic audit methodology is that we apply forensic pyscho-analytics before we embark on an audit journey. These analytics help measure the possibility of potential syndicates that might be involved in corruption as well as their behavioural aspects. This has proven to be effective in getting to the crux of corruption. By using this approach, we are able to identify key players in these syndicates.
Training & Skills Development – Work integrated learning programmes through strategic partnerships for women, youth and differently abled people.
Tell us a little about your team
Our team is made up of dedicated, talented, innovative leaders that have vast knowledge and experience in their respective fields. They are not afraid to course correct and make difficult decisions. We believe in building a long-lasting team that is sustainable to take our business forward and therefore we work to each other’s strengths. Our team consists of:
DR VS Mncube – Founder & Mentor
Dr. Mncube was the founder and CEO of DR VS Mncube Consulting. He has extensive experience in facilitating various business transactions in various sectors. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, he spent more than 15 years in the corporate environment, specifically exposed to various roles in Financial Management, Credit and Payment Systems / E-business, Project Management, Innovation, and Executive Management. He holds, amongst others, a BCom (UZ), BCom Honours (Industrial Psychology & Business Management), MBA, and a PhD (Business Administration: E-Commerce).
Venessa Chetty: Managing Member & Chief Operations Officer
Venessa is a woman of many talents and skills and has held senior management roles in the Public & Services Sector, Retail and Banking Industries. She has over 16 years’ experience and knowledge in Credit, Collections, Human Capital, CRM and Operations. Currently she serves as Vice Chairman / Secretary of the Henley Business School, SA Alumni member and Alumni of the W&RSETA International Leadership Development Programme. Venessa won awards at W&RSETA for Good Practice & Women in Leadership. Her passion for transformational leadership, conscious consumerism, multi-culturism, and gender mainstreaming have shaped her into the dynamic individual she is today. Venessa is also a life coach and is registered with the Coaching and Mentoring Association of SA. She is the founder of Transform, Coaching for Success. Venessa is a key note & motivational speaker in SA & abroad and is registered with the Professional Speakers Association of SA.
Khuselwa Pupuma - Managing Member & Group HR Executive
Khuselwa has extensive knowledge and over 12 years’ experience in Human Resource Management, Training Facilitation, Talent Planning and Acquisition. She previously served in various roles, which includes the Retail and the Financial Services Sector. Some of her achievements include designing and implementing a Recruitment and Training Facility for a well-known retail company, which also led to her being awarded a few accolades on Excellent Customer Service. She completed her HR Management qualification at the University of Cape Town.
Neven Narayanasamy – Chief Executive: Advisory and Financial Services
Neven has over 10 years’ experience in the Credit, Analytics, Modelling, Statistics, Financial Services, and Technology industry. He is a strategic thinker with strong problem solving skills. He has also worked with companies such as the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, Standard Bank, Absa, MyRoof.co.za, MyCars.co.za, and JD Financial Services. He has a BSc in Applied Mathematics, Statistics & Economics
Roger Vieira - Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
Roger has extensive executive experience in working with various applications and infrastructure solutions. He holds a BSc in Computer Science and has more than 10 years’ experience in various ICT environments specialising in Application Support, Software Development, Software Analysis and Design, Database Design, Applications Architect and Integration Solution Architect and Business Analysis. He holds a BSc in Computer Science and has more than 10 years’ experience in various ICT environments specialising in Application Support, Software Development, Software Analysis and Design, Database Design, Applications Architect and Integration Solution Architect and Business Analysis.
Lazarus Baya – Chief Finance Officer (CFO)
Lazarus is known for his in-depth experience in setting up new businesses. His involvement begins from the determination of the purpose of establishing the business, conducting an operational environment and market analysis. He has an MBA with Regent Business School, Postgrad' Diploma in Business Studies with Nottingham Trent University. He is an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) and a member of the Institute of Tax Practitioners (SA).
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I am the youngest of seven children and growing up, my dad at a point in time in his life became semi-blind, and my mother was a domestic worker. Her social welfare grant to run the household was insufficient to meet our financial demands and hence she planted vegetables and made homemade food and after school, throughout the years, my siblings and I had to go door-to-door to the homes in the neighbourhood, to sell whatever she made. At that point in time, all I knew was that my mother needed my assistance to make ends meet and it never occurred to me just how significant this event would be in my life. Today I look back and reflect on one of the most beautiful memories I have of her. That warm hug when I returned home, the warm meal she had prepared and the warm bed that I had to sleep on, knowing one thing for sure that even though my life was a bit different from my friends next door, it was special. It was during this time that I realised that my mother was my greatest leader and mentor and that she taught me how to be an entrepreneur. So, yes it may not be the conventional way to learn entrepreneurship but boy was it worth it! Through this experience I learnt about product, pricing, promotions and customer service. I even understood risk, when it rained I would use my raincoat to protect my basket because I understood the impact the rain would have on my products. I had an appreciation for supply and demand and understood my supply chain from the purchasing and planting of the seed, to harvesting and packaging and selling and to the customer’ satisfaction in terms of quality. My mum was illiterate but she could count her money and her financial ability to run our business was second to none. I learnt how important it was to run a cost- effective operation, avoid wastage and make a profit. She often would negotiate when purchasing her raw materials and I remember feeling embarrassed and wished she could “just pay the price” but now I understand how amazing she was to have had the guts to do that in a market place such as the one we frequented. She taught me how important relationships and networking was and that in times of need your networks can come to your rescue to you to theirs. She definitely had a strategy and we had a definite focus on the goals that needed to be achieved in order to realise the strategic objectives. We each had our roles & responsibilities and we clearly understood what success looked like because goals with clear outcomes were defined. I often laugh when I think the only thing she did not expose me to was remuneration but on the flip side she taught me trade services.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We want be a recognised provider of BPO, training and professional services in the private and public sectors in South Africa and the Rest of the African continent. We want to continue to grow our business so that we can create employment and contribute to economic equality in our country. To be a living testimony that small businesses can thrive.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I am most satisfied at the fact that personal initiative, in terms of self-starting, being proactive and persistent has a definite place in small businesses. As an entrepreneur, I have wings, to create and innovate, to learn, unlearn and relearn and the ability strive to achieve success with great flexibility. There are immense challenges that we face but I now see the opportunities in these challenges. I am inspired that every day is not the same, I welcome the complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity but not necessarily the volatility, surrounding business which forces me to be prepared to respond. Through this process I am constantly rediscovering myself knowing that in my small way I too can influence socio, economic and environmental change in our country because I am a decision maker.
"We want to continue to grow our business so that we can create employment and contribute to economic equality in our country."
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Every single one of us has a race to run. We cannot run the race until we know what that race is. To determine that, we have to search within, because each of us has been born with a God-given talent – because we have been uniquely made. The most successful leaders in this world are those who had the ability to understand what their talents were and they “Dared To Dream! If it is your purpose to be an entrepreneur, stay true to your purpose no matter how tough it gets! Resilience and persistence is required to succeed. If, like me, you spent most of your working life in corporate, find a way to make a mental shift from “working in a business to working on a business”.
In the beginning, you may be drawn to tender for all types of services to survive but if you want to truly thrive you need to focus on what your key products and services are and master your ability to deliver a world class service. You may be required to “wear different hats” at different times meaning performing multiple functions or roles, some of which you may not be an expert in. Therefore, it is imperative that you surround yourself with a strong network of skilled people that you can call on for guidance and assistance when required. “I believe that if you want to go fast, then go alone but if you want to go far, then go together”.
Right now! The most important thing is for you to protect your mindset – to almost “bulletproof” your brain from the negativity surrounding the rhetoric that a startup success is not a possibility. As you change your thinking, you will change your focus, and then your behaviour automatically follows! As an entrepreneur know that there is no such thing as the ideal situation – BUT that the most successful people in this world have achieved their greatness in situations that were not ideal. This is a journey so embrace it! The most difficult choice is to decide to take the chance and start a business, from thereon if you consciously decide that failure is not an option, you will succeed! I think it was Henry Ford who said: "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
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Why LoA loves it….
Meeting entrepreneurs who are out there making an impact in the world and in the lives of others is always special, and in the case of Venessa Chetty, she is definitely one of those positively changing lives. Her belief in the power of equipping people with key skills and support systems that can help them to grow, thrive and become contributors to the economic future of South Africa is both inspirational and admirable. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa