Turn your passion into your pay cheque!
Turn your passion into a pay check; this is the advice from Devina Dawkinum, a top five finalist for the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2017.
Durban resident, Devina Dawkinum, is the founder of Gemkids Entertainment and Education Centre which combines entertainment with education to stimulate early childhood learning and development. She founded the company back in 2007, after deciding to pursue her dream of being an entrepreneur through making a meaningful difference to the youth of South Africa.
“I took a leap of faith in what I believed in, which was South Africa’s children needing a new way of learning, one that combines the learning of theory and the element of concept in an easy, fun and long lasting way,” says Dawkinum.
To pursue her dream, Dawkinum left her job as a lecturer in Economics, at the then University of Durban Westville (UWD) and Nelson Mandela University (NMU). “It was not easy. It was a lonely road and there were plenty of times when I could have thrown in the towel. But I kept at it because this was my dream and no one was going to make it come true but myself.”
Like many entrepreneurs in South Africa, Dawkinum faced a number challenges. A recent report on a survey of entrepreneurs in South Africa compiled by Seed Engine, indicates that the five main reasons for business failure include; the lack of financial support, poor planning, limited access to markets, little or no operational experience and poor financial management.
“I was aware of SUNCOAST’s commitment to aiding South African economic development by assisting small businesses that would have a positive impact on their communities and so I proposed opening up a centre where children could be entertained and learn at the same time. It is the nature of children to be looking for something fun and entertaining to do,” adds Dawkinum.
Her entry into the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award was based on her unique approach to education. “We have had an association with Devina for the past two years and have witnessed the positive impact of her interaction with the children in her care,” says SUNCOAST Marketing Manager, Louise Howell. “There is no doubt that this is a result of her passion for what she does. We are extremely proud of her and we look forward to her reaching greater success.”
“I am grateful to have been nominated by Tsogo Sun and the fact that I made it to the finals,” says Dawkinum. “Entrepreneurs are generally not fortunate enough to be recognised, so this really meant the world to me. It was not only the recognition, but also sharing the stage with other like minded entrepreneurs.”
Dawkinum has the following advice for anyone wanting to be an entrepreneur. “If you are a thousand and one percent positive in your dream or business idea, take the leap and do not give up. Your dream may very well make a change to your community, the country or the world, so hold it close.”
The winning entrepreneur for the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year award was presented to Hezron Louw at a gala banquet at Tsogo Sun’s hotel in the Jacaranda city, Southern Sun Pretoria. Hezron is the owner and manager of Sumting Fresh, a gourmet street food catering company that specialises in catering for festivals, pop ups and launches, as well as corporate and private catering.
ABOUT SUNCOAST CASINO, HOTELS AND ENTERTAINMENT:
Influenced by the Art Deco style of Miami South Beach, SUNCOAST Casino, Hotels & Entertainment is Durban’s leading gamer-tainment destination. It boasts unparalleled atmosphere from its location on Durban’s stretch of palm-lined beaches known as the Golden Mile and is within walking distance of the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Winner of the BMW Supertech KZN Top Business Award – Tourism Category 2014, voted KwaZulu-Natal’s “Best Casino” for the 14th year running, in the 2017 Daily News Your Choice Awards, the 2014 Ask Afrika Orange Index customer service award winning in the Casino Industry category, and recipient of the 2016 certificate of excellence by TripAdvisor.
SUNCOAST Casino, Hotels and Entertainment continues to be an integral part of the Durban entertainment scene.
SUNCOAST has a gaming floor of over 7,000m2, with coinless SMART technology, 1,600 slot machines, 67 gaming tables, and an exclusive Salon Prive called 77 Ocean Drive for higher limit slots and tables.
SUNCOAST’s leisure, dining and retail options include 13 restaurants and fast food outlets, a kids’ entertainment arcade and an 8-screen Cinecentre cinema complex.
SUNCOAST opens onto a boardwalk which links to uShaka Marine World to the south and Moses Mabhida stadium and Blue Lagoon to the north.
There is a superb grassed area between SUNCOAST and the beach offering loungers and umbrellas for the beachgoer.
The SUNCOAST Durban complex also offers 5-star conference and eventing venues plus superior accommodation at the sea-facing Suncoast Towers and SunSquare Suncoast with its Balinese-style spa and stylish Jeera Restaurant.
SUNCOAST Casino, Hotels & Entertainment is owned by Tsogo Sun Gaming.