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Vodacom eyes more regions for digital workshop series

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Fatima Hassim, managing executive at Vodacom Business.
Fatima Hassim, managing executive at Vodacom Business.

Vodacom is looking at going national with its digital transformation workshop series, says Fatima Hassim, managing executive at Vodacom Business.

This after the telco initially introduced the business acceleration workshops in Johannesburg last year, extending it to Cape Town this year.

Dubbed the Fast Forward Series, the interactive sessionsaim to enable South African small, medium and large enterprises to enter the business sector with the appropriate tools, skills and insights to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).

Speaking on the sidelines on day two of the Joburg edition yesterday, Hassim said they saw a lot of tech entrepreneurs from Cape Town attend last year’s series, which was motivation to include the Mother City as well.

“We’ve introduced it in Cape Town and we are also seeing a very big ask from KwaZulu-Natal. People are coming through from other regions…we want to extend this [the series] so that we can become national.”

This year, the company planned eight workshop sessions, splitting them equally between Cape Town and Johannesburg. Yesterday, Business Doctors, the business mentor for small companies, was on hand toshare skills and experiences with the group of 15 firms that were in attendance.

Hassim explained it was decided to bring back Business Doctors for this year’s sessions to assist business owners to evaluate the health of their companies. “Businesses are very interested in determining what they need to focus on and how they should improve the health of the business.” This was the most attended session of the series, she adds.

The sessions also focus on digital advertising, something a lot of businesses are interested in, according to Hassim, adding that businesses are looking to market better in a more cost-efficient manner.

Although the series targets both small and large enterprises, the Vodacom Business executive said the company gets better attendance and response from small businesses.

“They [small businesses] are interested in enhancing their skills or learning new skills. They are very much interested in learning about new technologies.

“Bigger businesses leave it mostly to their CIOs and CTOs to figure that out, whereas the small business owner feel responsible and takes accountability and ownership themselves, to know how to take their business forward.”

She explained that while entrepreneurs want to attend all the sessions, the company understands people don’t have the time.

The sessions can’t be held over two or three days, which is the reason for the digital platform, she said. “We’ve got the digital platform. The workshop sessions are recorded and made available on our video platform called Videoplay, making sure they don’t miss the series.”

Commenting on the future, Hassim said Vodacom would like the series to become a platform for digital enablement, to enhance South Africa’s digital strategies as well as become active participants in the 4IR.

“Vodacom wants to become the strategic trusted partner by enabling and accelerating businesses’ digital transformation. The days of selling to customers and businesses are past; with the new era it becomes how you become the trusted partner to businesses and partner with them.” 

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