What we’re proud of
Like any business, Omnicor strives to sell what we can, pay our staff, and make a profit. It allows us to live our lives, pay school fees and hopefully have a holiday once a year. It’s quite tough at times, easier now and again, and constant stress. Providing great customer service is always hard. It comes at a price. We are always reluctant to say “no”, our teams can work into the night, and whatever it is, we try and find a way. We want all our client interactions to be a win-win, and normally they are. So, I am proud of the work we do, the technology we have built, the staff who go to the ends of the earth to deliver, and the fact that we still have a running business 2 decades in. I’m proud that we are always learning, always pushing to do better, and that in some areas we believe we have the best of what is on the market.
But there is something that I am even more proud of, and it’s got nothing to do with business really. It’s that on the first day of February 2021, Bandile* put on his best clothes, caught a taxi from the township, and showed up to teach high school maths in a prestigious school in the suburbs.
Bandile is an orphan. His father worked for us as a security guard over 10 years ago. His mother had died a year before and Bandile and his 4 siblings lived with their father in Alexandra township. Disaster struck when his dad took ill and died suddenly from an illness. As you can imagine their lives were thrown into disarray. The community and relatives looked after the young family. Bandile must have been 15 at the time. His older brother was just finishing high school. As a matter of course, Omnicor had taken out an assurance policy for Bandile’s dad when he worked for us, and when he died, the funds we placed into a trust until each child turned 18. At this age, they were entitled to do what they wanted with their share.
As it turned out, Bandile was a smart kid. One of the cleverest in the township, and when he excelled with his matric results, he was given a bursary to study. He kept in touch with us at Omnicor and we discussed the best career options for him. It is not easy for someone to come from a modest educational background, not the best schooling environment, and then succeed at university. Just being at university for Bandile was a minor miracle itself. It was tough going. He found some subjects difficult, changed courses midstream, but always kept going. Needless to say, the fund money ran out after a year or so, the bursary was finite, and through a combination of sponsorship from Omnicor and student loans, Bandile soldiered on through his life. Living in a very difficult environment, hardly conducive to studying, and with just enough to make it through the month, travel to university, and squeak by, Bandile learned in the hardest way what it is to be resourceful. One way or another, he finished his high school teaching degree. Qualified to teach high school maths and science, he was suddenly able to earn an income, make a contribution, and of course, keep studying at a post-grad level.
Omnicor was hardly heroic in helping Bandile. We could have done more, and it was fully through his sheer determination, intelligence, and perseverance that he pulled it off. When I think of Omnicor, I feel so lucky. Lucky to work with great people, to bring innovation to our industry, and lucky to have the clients we do. Of course, it’s more than luck – I know we provide a great service. But more than anything, when I think of Omnicor, it’s what we helped Bandile achieve that makes me glow with pride. In a few months, he’ll be on his feet financially, used to the responsibility of teaching and slowly building his career. At that point, we’ll look around, and find another Bandile to support, and hopefully keep going as a great business.