The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about massive shifts both locally and internationally for all media owners. The new normal, as it is termed, means that creativity, agility and adaptability should be at the forefront for businesses as well as individuals who are looking to get employed.
Media stakeholders have had to adapt and reinvent their strategies. Cinevation is no different. Cinevation is a female-owned media powerhouse, started in 1997, by Marisa Torrani and Karen Bailey. Both ladies are ambitious and passionate about entrepreneurship, media and customer service. They thrive on offering the best solutions to their clients.
Marisa and Karen believe in seeing opportunities where others may see challenges. Both ladies used to work for an agency, working on well-known brands such as Coca Cola and more. They saw an opportunity to combine their experience and skills to package media and production to service both SMEs and corporates. Agility and a diverse offering are what set them apart.
We wanted to find out what this award-winning agency's recipe for survival is, to inspire graduates and entrepreneurs who want to go into media.
What does it take to make it in this sector?
Understanding media is the first step. This can be reading, researching and talking to people with experience in the industry to stay fresh and relevant. Endurance, patience and grit are also an advantage as a career in media often involves long working hours and tight deadlines. A mentor is essential to assist with keeping one grounded and navigating the world of work. The internet has made life easier as information is now easily accessible.
What challenges have you faced, and how did you overcome them?
We are entrepreneurs at heart, so we understand that challenges are part of owning a business. We have faced, and overcome, many challenges over the years. We adapt, re-engineer and move on. I believe that what has kept us going is our strong partnership. Our strength lies in the fact that our skills and personalities are different, yet so complimentary. We balance each other. Our friendship has never interfered with our vision – to see our business, staff and clients succeed.
How do you keep your business current?
It is critical to stay in touch with local and international media trends. Serving on boards, reading on the industry and attending industry events has been a winning formula for Cinevation. Karen serves on the board of the Advertising and Media Association of South Africa (AMASA). AMASA's purpose is to educate the media industry, and Karen loves empowering people. Being part of the board also keeps her connected with senior industry players and exposes her to changing media trends.
Cinema is a big part of our business. To keep abreast of changes in Cinema, we are part of the Screen Advertising Worldwide Association (SAWA). SAWA is an organization of cinema media owners and affiliated companies from around the world. This enables us to stay in touch with what is happening internationally, giving us the edge to stay relevant and on-trend for our clients.
Zanele Zulu, an IIE Rosebank College alumni, has a fighting spirit and her passion for life and getting things done, always inspires. She is also an entrepreneur who will have to pick up and move past the COVID-19 pandemic. She shares some insights on how she will take her business forward.
HOW HAS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS?
Pre-COVID 19, I was preparing to share some exciting news regarding the growth of my brand. Due to the pandemic, I have had to put my plans on hold and rethink the way forward. Luckily, winter was not the best time for events – I had the opportunity to realign my strategies to the new norm. Thankfully I did not have the added stress of paying salaries as I still work alone. The time will come for me to employ others.
IT MIGHT TAKE A WHILE BEFORE LIFE GOES BACK TO WHAT WE ARE USED TO, ESPECIALLY WITH EVENTS. WHAT IS YOUR PLAN GOING FORWARD TO KEEP YOUR PASSION ALIVE?
I have used this time to do my research and fuel my fire by reading more and listening to business podcasts. I have also had the time to explore my new venture, Enhle Beauty. Being at home has afforded me the opportunity to findnew beauty remedies and hairstyles to create magic for my clients when the time is right, and it is safer to do so.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO AN ASPIRING ENTREPRENEUR?
Everyone’s journey is different. Be intentional about your passion and what you want to achieve. Never dismiss your craft and do not compare your step two with someone else’s step 15. Run your own race and take calculated risks. Also know and understand that sometimes you will have to put some plans on hold and in some cases come up with a new idea. Innovation and diversification are the order of the day.
Up until a few months ago, learning online was a choice. An individual could choose to study full-time, part-time, online or choose a combination of online and face-to-face, also known as blended learning. The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the move to online teaching and learning, which brings with it a world of opportunities and challenges.
IIE Rosebank College believes in the value of online learning to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing between educators and students. “Producing world-class IIE graduates is our mission. We believe skills such as online collaboration can prepare students for the new world of work”, says Adrian Garden, Teaching and Learning Manager at IIE Rosebank College.
At IIE Rosebank College, we have long embraced online teaching and learning for our IIE Distance Learning and blended learning students. Most full-time IIE qualifications include an online module empowering our full-time students to also collaborate and learn online. A fundamental tool to support this experience is the Blackboard-based Learning Management System (LMS), called RCLearn.
What is Blackboard?
Blackboard is a Learning Management System (LMS) that can be used for teaching and learning online or in a blended environment. It encourages collaborative learning and knowledge sharing proving that education can be both versatile and flexible.
How does it work?
The IIE LMS content is designed to encourage 21st century skills. Students engage with the content, their lecturers and each other using designated tools within the LMS platform to support learning. These tools include discussion forums, wikis, blogs and journal entries. Another feature of Blackboard is Blackboard Collaborate, in which participants do not meet face-to-face but rather interact, collaborate and communicate online. Lectures and assessments also happen online.
Benefits of using the Blackboard App
Using Blackboard has many advantages, such as collaborative learning and the ability to study while off-campus. Given the cost of data in South Africa, we found the offline capability of Blackboard quite impressive. The offline content feature empowers students to download course content while online, and then to continue working while offline, using the downloaded material. The auto-sync feature enables downloads to be updated the next time there is an online connection. In addition to viewing downloaded course content offline, one can navigate some portions of the Blackboard App without an active network connection. These include assignment due dates and announcements.
Online learning is convenient and has an element of collaboration encouraging students to acquire soft skills such as teamwork, creativity and problem-solving. IIE graduates from Rosebank College attest to the benefits of studying online.
Saving is a lifestyle choice. Like most things, saving takes practice and discipline. The Savings Institute of South Africa has designated July on the South African calendar as “Savings Month”, to promote a culture of saving in South Africa.
Deciding to further your studies after high school is not only complicated; it can be costly too. It is essential to choose the right qualification to fit your abilities, personality and passion. It is even more critical to select a registered higher education provider to ensure that your money is well spent.
Saving hacks for higher education:
Planning is everything. Apply early to secure your place. Some tertiary providers offer early-bird discounts for learners who apply early. The internet is a good starting point to compare tuition fees, check the registration status of institutions and the accreditation of qualifications. The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) websites are good sources of information for aspiring tertiary students.
Compare modes of learning
There are some cost differences when it comes to modes of learning. Modes such as online and blended learning are, in most cases, more affordable than traditional face-to-face studies. Compare modes and fees from various institutions to make sure you are getting good value for your money.
Take note of additional costs
Textbook costs are often a pain point when it comes to your tertiary studies. Some tertiary providers include textbooks in their tuition fees. This can be a significant saving on your tertiary education costs. Do your homework and make sure that you are comparing apples with apples before committing.
To ensure that you are making the right choice, verify all information directly with the institution or the relevant regulatory body e.g. the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
According to research, the most sought-after skills for the future will be creativity, emotional intelligence and project management. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has catapulted everything forward and pushed the world out of its comfort zone. The future is now.
It is essential to reflect on one's career - your current skills versus the skills set you will need. Check how you can fill the gaps to remain employable during and beyond the pandemic. Some principles stay the same. Hard work and the right attitude are always at the top of the list, whether you are running your own business or working for someone else. Most other skills can be taught or learnt.
We spoke to the owner of SR Promotions, Shireen Farinha, a hard-working and inspiring entrepreneur. She is an inspiration to individuals young and old and is known for fantastic customer experience. Her commitment to making sure her clients are happy is what has made her business stand out and thrive in the competitive corporate gifting and printing sector.
She is an employer in her own right and offers the following advice for graduates looking to find employment.
Experience is useful in today's fast-paced world of work. As a graduate, you will not have the experience you require. However, an excellent way to gain experience is to start with holiday jobs and part-time work while you are still studying. You could also volunteer your time to gain experience. This will ensure that you begin building a network you will surely need along with your career.
A formal qualification is always an advantage as it formalises your craft and skills. Make sure you get a qualification from an accredited provider to ensure that your hard-earned money is well spent and can serve you in the future.
Understanding the industry you work in, or aspire to work in, is vital. It gives one insight into the target audience, clients, competitors and the needs of the market. In this way, you can provide the right products and services at the right time. Today's graduates are fortunate to have the internet. You have a world of information available at your fingertips - use it and stay relevant.
Honesty and Trustworthiness
There are certain skills you cannot teach or learn. Trusting someone with your business and your clients is a big deal. This requires trust and commitment from both parties. It is essential to showcase your character in an interview so that your traits are evident.
We are living in challenging economic times, now more than ever, it is clear how essential it is to save for a rainy day.
It can be tricky deciding on how to start saving, like any goal - it's best to jot down your long and short-term saving goals. Have realistic money goals and commit to achieving them. Discipline is everything as it can be tempting to spend your savings if you have no clear goal of what you want your savings to do for you. In the spirit of savings month, we have outlined some saving tips to get you started.
1.Re-evaluate your spending habits
It is essential to ensure that you are spending your money on items that matter the most. Re-prioritise to make sure you can cover the essentials first, save a little and then spoil yourself.
2.Compare brands and products
Brands and retailers often offer the same products at different prices. The internet is useful for comparing and evaluating products before making a purchase. There are various websites that you can use to compare and evaluate product features to ensure you are comparing similar products. Look out for seasonal sales and discounts.
3.Think twice before you take on debt
Taking a loan is a big financial decision; it can make life easier if planned accordingly. It is also essential to pay back the loan when you can. Never take a loan to cover your lifestyle.
4.Open a savings account
Life is unpredictable, prepare for unforeseen circumstances. Save for raining days.
5.Keep receipts of your purchases
Keep track of when and what you spend on. Keeping your receipts will help you manage your money throughout the month and keep track of your savings.
6.Use your student card
There are benefits to having a student card, use them. Shop where you can use your student card and make a saving.
Why not start saving this savings month and beyond? Saving is a lifestyle, and it becomes easier with time. Write down your saving goals and commit to achieving them.
Zanele Zulu (24), is an IIE Higher Certificate in Business Principles and Practices, and an IIE Bachelor of Business Administration graduate. Zanele is a passionate entrepreneur who is determined to make it against all the odds. She is intentional about her craft and firmly believes that no matter how good you are as an entrepreneur, you need to have some formal training to perfect your craft and elevate your business.
WHAT DID YOU STUDY AND HOW DID YOUR QUALIFICATION GROOM YOU INTO THE ENTREPRENEUR THAT YOU ARE TODAY?
After high school, I was not sure what to do, so I studied an IIE Higher Certificate in Business Principles and Practices at IIE Rosebank College. After completing this qualification, my sister suggested that I consider that I study further for an IIE Bachelor in Business Administration degree. I firmly believe that some formal training or a business qualification is essential for a business/career to thrive. My two qualifications gave me the knowledge and understanding to run my own business.
WHAT TYPE OF BUSINESS DO YOU RUN AND WHY?
I run an events and décor company called Enhle Events. My passion for décor came to life when I was planning my sister's bachelorette party on a student's budget. I learnt how to work with a budget and used my creative skills to make it look beautiful. I was also inspired by a group of ladies who planned my sister's dream wedding. My sister is my biggest fan and has always inspired me to reach for my dreams. She suggested I start an Instagram page and showcase some of my décor ideas. This is where, and how, it all began.
DID YOU ALWAYS DREAM OF BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR?
I am an entrepreneur at heart. I always knew I would become an entrepreneur. When I was in primary school, I wanted to become a doctor. I have always had big dreams, instead of working at a hospital or clinic, I wanted my own doctor's practice.
HOW DID YOU MANAGE RUNNING A BUSINESS AND STUDYING?
I love this question. It always brings back great memories of my tertiary years. It wasn’t easy, but like I said, I love what I do. I maintained a great relationship with my lecturers and class representative. This allowed me to stay informed if I was not be able to make class because of a business commitment. I also used the campus library between classes to research ideas for any event I needed to host.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN YOUR BUSINESS?
I had to learn to juggle my time, especially while I was still studying. If my class started at noon, I would leave the apartment at 8 am to run my business errands first - so I could make it for class on time.
When I started, it was amazing. I loved the rush and the fulfilment it gave me to see my ideas come to life. I really worked and pushed hard, even taking gigs to sustain my small business. I found myself burning out because I would take on any and every client and try to make a reality of their not so real budget. I even had clients that would doubt my ability or look down on me because of my age and my experience in the industry.
The more events I worked on, the more I realised that I needed to define exactly what I wanted my business to look like and achieve. I took a breather, reflected on my journey and focussed on empowering myself as a businesswoman and defining my intent for what I would like Zanele I’mbalenhle to become. My passion for entrepreneurship extends beyond Enhle Events and Zanele I’mbalenhle Beauty Bar. There will always be more to follow from Zanele Zulu.
With the rapid change in technology, Online Learning is a feasible option. There is no doubt that online education will be a game-changer for generations to come.
IS ONLINE LEARNING THE RIGHT OPTION FOR YOU?
Deciding on a mode of study such as online learning requires a thorough self-check and some sacrifices on the student’s part. The learner needs to have the right tools, set study goals and a study plan. There are a few burning questions when it comes to online learning, and we have demystified some of the questions below.
HOW IS ONLINE LEARNING ASSESSED?
Before committing to Online Learning, it is essential to know and understand what you are signing up for. It is crucial to understand the scope of work, the nature of assessments, and what support is available.
As a student, it is essential to check the programme specific Formative Assessment Schedule to diarise important dates such an assignment submission dates and online assessment dates. These assessments are crucial for entry into final examinations. They may also contribute to your continuous assessment mark, which could determine whether you pass or not.
At IIE Rosebank College, we have online tutors who use BlackBoard Collaborate to initiate online discussion forums with students on different modules. These online tutors also give students guidance and feedback on how to complete assignments. The tutor also creates Integrated Curriculum Engagement (ICE) tasks to enhance learning.
SUPPORT / RESOURCES TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN CHOOSING TO STUDY ONLINE
1. An online tutor to provide cognitive module teaching and learning support.
2. A Programme Success Tutor to provide onboarding, orientation, motivation and other teaching and learning support.
3. An online librarian, for support relating to library resources, writing and referencing workshops.
4. A Student Relations Manager for student wellness e.g. counselling.
5. Interactive WhatsApp messaging support.
We are delighted to introduce Marjorie Tlali, the new Head of IIE Rosebank College Bloemfontein campus. She has a world of experience, and her passion for youth and education is sure to add value to our students. In this interview, we get to know her better.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a humble soul who is passionate about education. No challenge is too much for me, and I am dedicated to making a difference in the lives of ordinary people. I am very excited to join IIE Rosebank College as I believe in lifelong learning. True humility is staying teachable, regardless of how much you already know. I hold the empowerment of youth very close to my heart, and I am grateful to be in a role that enables me to contribute to their prosperity.
What are you looking forward to the most in your new position?
I can't wait to learn, grow and inspire - and I’m ready for the challenge. I aim to lead by example and to be a positive influencer. I want to inspire students and show them that they can achieve anything they desire if they put their minds to it. The most significant reward I could ever get from this position would be the continued growth of our campus.
What would most people be surprised to learn about you?
I very family orientated, my husband is my biggest supporter, motivator and friend. I am humble, assertive and strict, all at the same time - which is a unique combination. I'm compassionate and caring, and I love helping others. I love learning and have no problem receiving constructive criticism - that's how one grows.
What do you do in your spare time?
I am an aspiring chef. My goal is to have a fine dining restaurant when I retire. I spend some of my free time trying new delicacies - my poor hubby must eat all of this. I also love travelling, locally and internationally, creating special memories. It is also essential for me to take time out - read a good book or spend time with loved ones.
What motto do you live by?
The quality of a great leader is not personality, but humility!
Written by Wanga Nemavhola
In 2019, Rosebank College, an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), opened its Port Elizabeth campus situated centrally on 3 Rink Street. At the helm is Clinton Appalsami who is the newly appointed campus principal. We got to chat to him, to get to know him a little bit better.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a family man. I have a lovely wife and two precious sons. My favourite part of the day is getting home to my family. I am currently completing my MBA in Entrepreneurship. I’m passionate about developing the skills needed for people to be able to contribute positively for themselves, their family, their community and their country because developing a nation starts with developing its people.
The reason I got into education is because I believe that by educating the youth, we can change the world for the better one student at a time.
What would most people be surprised to learn about you?
I love martial arts. I practiced Judo, Karate and by far my favourite was Muay Thai.
What are you looking forward to the most about your new position?
I am looking forward to building an environment where students can thrive and not just survive.
What motto do you live by?
To try and leave the world in a better place than I found it.
What do you do in your spare time?
I don’t have much free time, but I love playing good music and dancing with my family.
Written by Karabo Keepile