South African asset management company has walked away with four globally recognised finance awards this year!

South African asset management company, Argon Asset Management, has walked away with four globally recognised finance awards this year!

Argon Asset Management recently won international recognition at the IAIR Excellence in Global Economy and Sustainability Awards held in Milan, Italy.  Argon won the accolade for Excellence in Asset Management and Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Africa category, and has won three more prestigious awards in 2014 alone.

Mothobi Seseli, Argon Asset Management’s Chief Executive Officer and co-founder said, “We are thrilled at receiving global and domestic recognition in a space that is very competitive.  We see the Excellence in Asset Management and CSI Award as a vote of confidence in our investment management capability and recognition of the work we have done to date. It augurs well for the future”

Since its establishment in 2005, Argon Asset Management has aligned itself with global investment management standards, always striving to take product offerings to the next level, with an emphasis on sound stewardship principles.  The firm currently manages ZAR 24 billion in committed client assets and is setting the industry standard among emerging investment firms in South Africa. With 24 employees and venerable global asset manager, Schroders, as an exclusive investment partner, Argon is leading the way.

The Excellence in Asset Management and CSI award is not the only recognition received by the company recently. This year alone has seen Argon rack up three other international and local awards, including the Best Asset Manager in South Africa for 2014 title, awarded by the Global Banking and Finance Review in July 2014.

These awards highlight the innovation, achievement, strategy and inspirational changes taking place within the global financial community. Wanda Rich, Editor of the Global Banking and Finance Review said, “Argon is committed to creating value for their customers and building long term relationships. They do this through research-driven investment strategies and by developing strong personal relations with investors.”

Argon also won the World Finance Investment Management Award for Best Investment Management Company in South Africa for 2014 in August 2014. The World Finance Awards have – since 2007 – been celebrating distinguished organisations that represent the benchmark of achievement and best industry practice. The competition is based on reader nominations and audited by a panel comprising more than 230 years of business and financial journalism.

The Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) Awards presented Argon with the Best Emerging Financial Services Sector Company Award at a ceremony in Johannesburg in September 2014.

The award is given to a financial firm between five and ten years old, which is owned and managed by its founders. This year, the judges sought a winner that displayed consistent industry performance in terms of both growth and innovation, as well as commitment to community and professional development.

For more information about Argon Asset Management, please contact 021 670 6570, email info@argonasset.co.za or visit the website www.argonassetmanagement.co.za.

Top Cape Town Business Coach sweeps up two national awards

Caption: Cape Town Business Growth Expert, Kathi Clarke – owner of Building Best Business – pockets two national awards at the annual National Coaching Conference, which took place earlier this month in Centurion, Johannesburg.

Cape Town’s very own Kathi Clarke has beaten top business coaches around the country to claim two national awards at the ActionCOACH National Coaching Conference earlier this month. Always one who practices what she preaches, Clarke won the Best Conversion Rate award and Brand Personality award.

The Best Conversion Rate is awarded to the business coach who excels in converting business leads and prospects into actual clients. In spite of economic winter and tough competition in the industry, Clarke enjoyed a whopping 92% conversion rate this year. Her clients can rest assured that they have an expert to coach them in their business when it comes to marketing and selling what it is they do.

The Brand Personality award is given to someone who represents what ActionCOACH stands for. The business coach who wins this award is acknowledged for not only helping their clients to build their idea of business success and to have a profitable, leveraged business that supports their lifestyle, but also for walking the talk by building a profitable, leveraged coaching business themselves.

Clarke comments, “It’s always equally motivating and humbling to be recognised for a job well done, especially on a national level where competition is of such a high calibre. Congratulations to all those who took home awards this year and may 2015 be equally fruitful.”

The awards given at the National Coaching Conference are judged on international criteria and similar year-end conferences take place in 53 countries around the world in which ActionCOACH is present. Award winners at country level are then well placed to go on to compete in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) International Awards taking place in April 2015 in Lisbon and the Global International Awards in August 2015 in Bali.

Kathi Clarke is an Industrial Psychologist, international award winning and certified ActionCOACH Business Coach and a business growth expert. With over 25 years’ experience in growing businesses in 5 African countries, she returned to Cape Town in 2010 and has successfully helped more than 140 entrepreneurs to significantly grow their profits, develop entrepreneurial muscle and enjoy the lifestyle which prompted them to start their own business in the first place. Contact her if you’re a small business wanting to get bigger or a bigger business wanting to get better.

Top five tips to keep your home secure during the holiday season

As many people prepare to go away during the Christmas holiday season, one worry on everyone’s mind is if their worldly possessions will still be there when they return. An unfortunate fact is that house break-ins are on the rise during the holidays when crooks can take advantage of the unlikely event of being disturbed as many home owners are at their holiday destinations.   

Holiday time is something we all look forward to during the year, spending time with family and friends and a time to relax and unwind from the stresses of everyday life. For many it means packing up and travelling to a holiday destination for some summer fun.

What many people are all too aware of, is that it’s this time of the year when home robberies increase as thieves cash in on unoccupied homes. Prominent estate agency in the Northern Suburbs, Cape Town, Realtors International Durbanville are warning home owners to be more vigilant this festive season.

CEO of Realtors International Durbanville, Manja Kritzinger offers the top five tips to secure the home while families are away. “They may sound obvious but you would be surprised how many people don’t think about doing the basics to keep their home secure during the holidays,” comments Kritzinger.

Here they are:

“Firstly, try to make your home appear as if someone is still living there while you are away. You can do this by automating your lights and sprinkler system to switch on at certain times of the day and night. This gives the illusion that someone is inside. You can also download apps which allow you to access these functions as well as the alarm and camera systems in the home for extra piece of mind,” advises Kritzinger.

“Secondly, stop all mail delivery services you may have such as newspaper delivery, as an obvious sign that you are not at home is when the mail is piled up at the door. Which brings me to the third tip – ask a trusted neighbour or friend in the area to pop in to your home occasionally to empty the post box and make sure everything is still intact inside. An even better option would be to ask someone to housesit for you, but this is not always possible as many people go away during this period,” continues Kritzinger.

“This one seems like a no-brainer but don’t tell too many people you’re going away and definitely don’t post it on social media. It’s also debatable whether it’s wise to tell your service providers such as the armed response company as there may have been instances in the past of ‘inside jobs,” warns Kritzinger.

“Lastly, test your alarm system before you go away to make sure all sensors work properly. Alarm systems degenerate with time and there may be a faulty connection or depleted battery with one or more of the sensors especially if it is an old system. Best to know it is working 100% before you leave,” concludes Kritzinger.

For more information about Realtors International Durbanville contact 021 975 5720 or visit www.realtorsdurbanville.co.za. Join Realtors International Durbanville’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RealtorsDurbanville.

Cricket legend Ray Jennings shows Wynberg Boys High cricket teams how it’s done

Ray Jennings shows the young cricket enthusiasts of Wynberg Boys High School how it’s done in a gruelling three hour training session which included theory and a practical session. Above: Ray Jennings and the teams at Wynberg Boys High School.  

First team cricket players from Grade 8 to Grade 12 from Wynberg Boys High School were treated to an epic training session with former South African cricket player, Ray Jennings. The school beat eight other Western Cape schools to win a Powerade Performance Session with Jennings as part of the Powerade Collect a Cap competition.

The Powerade Collect a Cap competition that ran in 51 enabled cricket playing schools from around the country to collect as many Powerade bottle caps as possible to stand the chance to host a training session with the well-known player.

The gruelling three hour training session laid the foundation for future cricket stars to shine as Jennings tested their knowledge of the game and their skills.

Marketing Activation Manager, Dan Davis at Peninsula Beverage Company (PenBev – local bottler and distributor of The Coca-Cola Company products, which includes Powerade, in the Western and Northern Cape) says, “The cricketers at Wynberg Boys definitely showed their enthusiasm for the sport and Jennings’ coaching tips as they took to the field. We at PenBev are incredibly proud to be able to contribute to the active healthy living of these and many other learners through our involvement in sport and sports development.”

“Powerade believes that by providing informative and interactive experiences like these to sportsmen, their passion for the game of cricket will be focused on a great future in the game,” explained James Maclachlan, IMC Marketing Assets Manager of Coca-Cola South Africa.

“We recognise that there is power in every game and through the Powerade Schools Programme, born sportsmen will be exposed to information and various means of training that will have long term benefits to their success,” Maclachlan concluded.

For more information about PenBev contact 021-936-5500 or visit www.penbev.co.za. Join PenBev’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PenBev

Zip Zap Circus School takes the STIGMA out of HIV at World AIDS Day Youth Concert

Local Cape Town talent will be showcased at STIGMA, a free concert promoting condom usage and Antiretroviral (ARV) adherence, this World Aids Day, 01 December 2014 at the O.R. Tambo Hall, Mew Way, Site B in Khayelitsha from 11:30 to 14:00. The show, which is presented by Zip Zap Circus School, in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and The City of Cape Town, aims to raise awareness about the need for condoms to be available in schools and targeted interventions and treatment programmes for HIV positive youth.

According to UNAIDS about six million people in South Africa are living with HIV and about two and a half million are receiving HIV treatment, making it the largest public HIV treatment programme in the world. In order to reduce the HIV infection rate, young people reaching adulthood need to understand their important role in preventing the further spread of the virus.

Youngsters from Zip Zap Circus Schools’ development programmes, Ubuntu and Ibhongolwethu, will open the World AIDS Day Youth Concert aimed at increasing condom usage and bringing an end to the stigma sometimes associated with HIV. The show will also feature talented local artists, Ikapa Dance, MAC Substance and Ubuntu Boys. The concert promises to be a high-energy, jam-packed schedule of fun events that will include young people in HIV treatment and prevention awareness activities.

Since 2005, Zip Zap instructors have been teaching circus acts to children living with HIV, through their outreach programme in partnership with Cirque du Monde, the social circus programme of Cirque du Soleil, Ubuntu programme takes place every Wednesday outside the Ubuntu clinic in Khayelitsha where children from the age of four queue to collect their ARVs – chronic medication used to slow down the progression of the virus and prolong life. Zip Zap Circus School Co-founder and Director, Laurence Estève says, “We’ve seen that the children who participate in this programme have increased self-esteem, a greater appreciation of teamwork, discipline and physical fitness.”

Once they have been through this programme, they can join the Ibhongolwethu project that further nurtures young circus talent, paving the way for a potential career in circus performance. Ibhongolwethu, which means “our pride,” is supported by MSF and Cirque du Monde.

Estève adds, “We believe in the power of performance that can break down barriers. When the youngsters get on stage to perform they change from being victims to heroes.”

Ruth Henwood, Child & Youth Patient Support Manager at MSF says, “13 years ago MSF pioneered ARV treatment in Khayelitsha. This ARV treatment programme has since become a beacon of hope and inspiration. Thanks to the Zip Zap Circus School, dreaded clinic visits have been transformed into thrilling adventures that children and even their parents don’t want to miss.”

TAC leadership, Amelia Mfiki says, “This event is a call to make condoms acceptable and accessible for young people and to encourageHIV positive youth to stay on treatment for life. We also want to encourage those HIV positive youth who have stopped treatment to return to the clinic before it is too late.” ‘No Condom, No Access’ underwear – for guys and girls – will be distributed for free at the event, which is expected to be attended by well over 3000 young people. “When it comes to ARVs, we need to educate people that they are just the same as any other chronic medication that must be taken daily. We need to empower and support young people living with HIV to continue take their ARVs,” says Amelia Mfiki.

“We can make condoms more accessible for young people by making them available in schools. This does not mean we support sexual promiscuity, but it will enable young people to protect themselves from HIV. Only an empowered and informed young person can demand condom usage,” says (Amelia. Mfiki).

World AIDS Day Concert Programme:

11:30                Welcome

12:00                Zip Zap Circus School

13:00                IKAPA

13:30                Jazzart

13:45                MIC Substance

14:00                Closure

Media representatives who wish to interview MSF’s Youth Club members are requested to indicate in advance. Representatives from MSF, TAC and Zip Zap Circus School will be available at the concert for interviews.

For more information about Zip Zap Circus School, please contact 021 421 8622 or visit the website www.zip-zap.co.za and find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/zipzapcircus.

About Zip Zap Circus School

Zip Zap Circus is a social circus that was founded in Cape Town in 1992, to inspire young people and help build a new culture of peaceful coexistence in South Africa. Working with a diverse community of children from all backgrounds, Zip Zap helps kids to ‘dare to dream’ and learn to make those dreams a reality. Zip Zap’s programmes are all free to participants, with financial and material support coming from individuals, organization, corporations and foundations. In South Africa and the world, Zip Zap is recognized across Governments, Ministries of Education, Tourism, Arts & Culture and private societies, as a major contributor to the development within the iconic ‘Mother City’ and providing sustainability of the circus arts in South Africa.

Mustadafin Foundation to reach out to Cape Flats children on ‘Positive Day’

With the festive season approaching, Mustadafin Foundation annually hosts a ‘Positive Day’, bringing smiles to children living in disadvantaged areas with toys and wonderful activities. The non-profit organisation’s annual Positive Day will take place on 10 December 2014 at Mnandi Pool in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain and is a celebration of the children in their various programmes. Over 300 children from the Cape Flats will enjoy the sun and have some fun!

Mustadafin Foundation will treat the young ones, aged from 3 – 14 years old, to a day focussed entirely on them. The little ones from Mustadafin Foundation’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, crèches and feeding schemes will take part in the programme where they will be given toys in celebration of the festive season. Most of these children come from poor, destitute and broken families        and have never received a gift in their life.

“Positive Day is an annual celebration for children that have conquered many things during their life. It’s about positivity and we also give safety messages to make sure that they are well equipped for the festive season. These safety messages are focused on drug awareness, how to be safe in the water and general safety measures when their guardians are not around. It’s also a day when a child can be a child and not have to worry about the shootings in their area, gangsters, drugs or whether there will be food on the table,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone, Director at Mustadafin Foundation.

Many of the children taking part in this programme have never seen or met their biological parents.  “These are the children we work with during the year, we give them a gift, meal and all the love and support that we can. Giving them a toy is one token of making them believe they are special and loved. The festive season is a time when giving and sharing brings joy, smiles and hope to children where they only know unhappiness, disillusion and despair,” explains Johnstone.

Johnstone adds that she will never forget when they gave a little boy a second-hand soft turtle three years ago. It was the first time he was given a gift and Johnstone reflects that that was when she realized the impact a gift has on a child. The little one forgot about his food and party pack and held on to the toy the whole day.

Mustadafin Foundation calls on all Capetonions to bring smiles and laughter to the Cape Town children this festive season. If anyone would like to donate toys, they can contact Mustadafin on 021-633-0010 or drop them off at 18 Belgravia Road in Athlone. Mustadafin Foundation will hand out 300 toys on Positive Day on 10 December 2014 and over 150 toys on 25 December 2014.

If you are able to help and donate toys, please contact Mustadafin on 021-633-0010. For more information on Mustadafin Foundation, visit www.mustadafin.org.za. Join their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MustadafinFoundation

Zip Zap Circus School scoops international prize for fighting youth unemployment

Zip Zap Circus School scooped the top prize recently as overall winner at the Saville Foundation Pan-African Awards for Entrepreneurship in Education in Kampala, Uganda. The social circus school received a prize of over R109 000 in recognition of its work in confronting youth unemployment and promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship in education. Above: Nik Kafka (left), Managing Director of Teach a Man to Fish, hands over the award to Natasha Meyer (right) from Zip Zap Circus School.  

The circus school has worked with high risk youth in the Western Cape for twenty two years, empowering young people with much more than just circus skills. With the confidence to reach for their dreams and rise above challenging circumstances, some of Zip Zap Circus School’s students have gone on to perform with the internationally renowned, Cirque du Soleil and have become role models in their communities.

Brent van Rensburg, Co-founder and Artistic Director of Zip Zap Circus School explained that, “circus magic just isn’t a phrase; it’s a feeling. It’s a way of life!” Van Rensburg said that, “from the beginning the emphasis had always been to create a Zip Zap family.”

The Pan-African Awards for Entrepreneurship in Education was established to reward organisations in Africa that take an innovative, entrepreneurial and sustainable approach to education. Over 380 different organisations from across the continent took part in the competition which showcased best practice in this sector. More than R624 000 was awarded to organisations from 40 different countries.

Natasha Meyer, Special Projects Manager at Zip Zap Circus School accepted the prize at the prestigious awards ceremony which coincided with, ‘Education That Pays For Itself,’ an international conference about sustainable education. It was at this conference that the Zip Zap Circus School’s success was showcased on an international stage.

The conference was arranged by international education charity committed to tackling global poverty, Teach A Man To Fish. The organisation’s Director, Nik Kafka said, “This competition draws international attention to organisations’ achievements so others can learn from their success and imitate their approach. All the evidence shows that programmes which are innovative and sustainable are the most effective way to address educational challenges.”

For more information about Zip Zap Circus School, please contact 021 421 8622 or visit the website www.zip-zap.co.za and find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/zipzapcircus.

About Zip Zap Circus School

Zip Zap Circus is a social circus that was founded in Cape Town in 1992, to inspire young people and help build a new culture of peaceful coexistence in South Africa. Working with a diverse community of children from all backgrounds, Zip Zap helps kids to ‘dare to dream’ and learn to make those dreams a reality. Zip Zap’s programmes are all free to participants, with financial and material support coming from individuals, organization, corporations and foundations. In South Africa and the world, Zip Zap is recognized across Governments, Ministries of Education, Tourism, Arts & Culture and private societies, as a major contributor to the development within the iconic ‘Mother City’ and providing sustainability of the circus arts in South Africa.

A circular economy promoted at WasteCon2014

Caption: One of the highlights of the 22nd biennial WasteCon was the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA)’s reporting session on the new National Environmental Management Waste Amendment Act, Act 26 of 2014 (NEMWAA 2014) published on 02 June 2014. Mark Gordon (above), Deputy Director-General: Chemicals and Waste Management at the DEA opened this thought-provoking session at the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA)’s flagship conference – WasteCon2014, which recently took place in Somerset West, Western Cape.

With over 450 delegates and 70 exhibitors, Africa’s leading waste management conference, WasteCon, did not disappoint. More than 90 seminars and workshops facilitated dialogue and presented a platform to share best practice in the waste industry. The topic of a circular economy, which focuses on extracting the maximum value out of a resource, received a lot of attention in the sessions and The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) confirmed that Government is promoting a restorative system in waste management.

The DEA’s two-hour awareness raising and reporting session on the National Environmental Management Waste Amendment Act, Act 26 of 2014 (NEMWAA 2014) gave delegates the chance to familiarise themselves with the new Act set in motion earlier this year. Mark Gordon kicked off the session by reiterating the Department’s commitment to sustainable development. Gordon emphasised that industry and Government need to work together to help protect the environment and encourage engagement to effectively implement waste management best practice. He also stressed that there needs to be incentives for industry when it comes to waste management.

“I think we are standing on the threshold of a new waste revolution in South Africa,” says Gordon. “There is a fantastic opportunity for the waste sector to chart its own path and Government is here to support you (industry),” adds Gordon.

Gordon also indicated the transformation of the waste sector in primarily three areas namely regulatory reforms (NEMWAA 2014, regulations and Industry Waste Management Plan), institutional reforms (Waste Bureau and the Waste Management Council for South Africa and Technical Advisory fora to follow) and economic reforms (pricing strategy, deposit systems, incentives and infrastructure).

Gordon highlighted that the waste sector has many challenges, especially with urbanisation and constant consumer and lifestyle changes, but Government and industry should view waste as an opportunity and renewable resource.

Another development is the introduction of the Waste Bureau, a specialist implementation entity of the Department. Kgauta Mokoena, Chief Director: Chemicals and Waste Policy, Monitoring and Evaluation at the DEA, said that the Bureau will provide specialist services on waste management and promote and facilitate minimisation, re-use, recycling and recovery of waste in South Africa. The Bureau has been established by NEMWAA 2014 and is being resourced like all government entities and through among other means, the secondment of DEA staff until the position of the CEO and other posts in the Bureau are filled.

Anben Pillay, Director: Waste Policy and Information Management at the DEA said their objective is ‘less waste, better managed’. He stated that waste is currently being undervalued and the objective of the new pricing strategy is to put a correct price on waste in order to divert it from landfill sites. The DEA encouraged industry to engage and communicate the value of waste and work together with Government. Pillay acknowledged that there are current systems in the industry that are working well and that the pricing strategy should not undo all the good work that has already been done.

“We would like to thank the DEA for their participation at WasteCon2014 and the promotion of dialogue during the conference. The IWMSA urges all industry players to participate in giving feedback and engaging with the Department to ultimately achieve a restorative, circular waste economy in South Africa,” says Dr Suzan Oelofse, President of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA).

For more information about the IWMSA, visit www.iwmsa.co.za. IWMSA is also on Facebook (www.facebook.com/iwmsa), Twitter (https://twitter.com/IWMSA) and LinkedIn.