[Startup Interview] Deon de Swardt, Co-Founder, Africa People Advisory Group, South Africa
Africa People Advisory Group is a South Africa Human Resource Advisory firm whose primary focus is to deliver consulting and product solutions to organizations operating in and across the African continent.
It has offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town South Africa, and representative offices in Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The firm’s Co-founder Deon de Swardt explains the company’s business model and plans moving forward.
Introduce your company
Our company is called Africa People Advisory Group, we are a pan Africa Human Capital Advisory firm who supports organisations across Africa to ensure that they have stable, reliable and practical HR and People practices and processes in place.
Who are the founders and what are their professional backgrounds?
How Africa People Advisory Group financed?
Each partner put capital into the business because we are a service-based business we didn't require significant capital investment.
What are, in your opinion, the dynamics of the HR industry?
The key dynamics playing out in the HR world currently is COVID - 19 and the impact on where people work from, i.e. remote and flexible working. Furthermore, we work firmly in the New World of Work and changing practices related to it.
What opportunities inspired you to start Africa People Advisory Group?
In our industry there typically are two types of firms, the large global firms, which include the big four and some other global firms, and then small local players in the country. There are very few firms with good skills and great products that operate across the continent. It is our intent to bring an Africa-wide perspective to clients, but at a reasonable price point, which often is not achievable with larger firms.
What problem or problems does Africa People Advisory Group solve?
In the modern world of work, companies are having difficulty attracting, motivating and retaining the right employees, the work we do addresses these challenges.
What gives Africa People Advisory Group the competitive edge?
Our company brings an Africa wide perspective to local firms which enable them to perform at the next level. Our consultants are all well-travelled across Africa and bring real insights because we have solved similar problems for clients in the past. We will also be launching a first of its kind HR Metrics benchmark study in Q1 of 2021.
Who are your customers?
We work across all industries. Our typical client is either a large local company in an African country or has multiple offices across a number of countries. We work with the likes of Britam, Ecobank, Vivo Energy to name a few. We have also worked with smaller clients with specific needs.
What does Africa People Advisory Group need in order to grow?
We need to grow our brand recognition, we need to ensure clients and prospective clients know who we are and what we do.
What is your growth strategy?
Our intent is to have offices in East, West and Central Africa in the next three to five years and to ensure we create employment opportunities. We are also expanding our product range and we continually look for partnership opportunities to drive growth.
In which markets are you looking to establish a foothold?
We would like to have offices in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Ivory Coast.
What are your plans for the coming 12 months?
We will publish our first pan-Africa HR Metrics report in quarter one which will provide benchmark data across Africa on 25 HR metrics.
We have also strengthened our South Africa business with the addition of a new entity focused on South Africa. Our plan is also to introduce more products and to strengthen the relationships with the companies we have worked within our first year of operation.
We are also intent on carrying out an insights study focused on the new ways of working in Africa.
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