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How did SPARK Schools evolve?

Businesses can help each other adapt to a new normal post Covid-19

As the COVID-19 infection rate slows down and recoveries pick up, so too many businesses, in the SME sector particularly, are starting to find their new normal in a relaxed lockdown scenario. Companies will likely need to rebuild their business models post the outbreak to adapt to a fundamentally different business environment. This means that in addition to financial support businesses need access to guidance around efficient resource management and robust business decisioning-making concepts. "This translates to a critical need for focused, practical, and freely accessible non-financial support at scale to assist all business owners in retaining the sustainability of their businesses," says Jesse Weinberg, Head of the SME Customer Segment at FNB Business.

Weinberg notes that the FNB Business Toolkit can go some way towards meeting this critical need. "Content includes a range of videos, articles, tools and templates to help your business respond to the current environment and provide you with relevant advice that will make a difference to your business and its growth," he says.

How did SPARK Schools evolve?

A prime example of a business that evolved during the Covid-19 national lockdown is the SPARK private school model, where Education Strategist, Jocelyn Logan-Friend, comments that Covid-19 has forced society to re-evaluate the way things are done. "This means we also have to think differently about the way we do education," she says. Moving forward with a revised education model, SPARK Schools created a website for SPARK scholars as well as any other scholars outside the network to access academic content during the lockdown period.

The schools also rolled out printed learning packs that parents could collect directly from the schools. The product offering has also evolved to include online videos and assessments for scholars to do themselves, freeing up parents to focus on their work. Trends that are driving change. A recent study by Ernst and Young (EY) found that COVID-19 has accelerated two trends driving change in business models: digital transformation and a corporate shift to long-term value. "The ability to deploy computing power, bandwidth, the cloud and cybersecurity will define winners. Success will depend on continuous business model innovation with agile, open collaboration," the study says. Trends can clearly be seen in the Sparks School model. The bank's ability to achieve sustainable economic growth is highly dependent on the success of our country's local enterprises, irrespective of size. The best way to move forward is to step forward together.