Highly Dedicated (HD) is a creative advertising agency that offers a range of services from digital marketing and public relations, to photography and analytics. The company, now over 7 years old, was founded by Joel Baloyi, who is also its Managing Director. Since inception, HD has serviced over 80 businesses in industries such as retail, engineering, finance and technology. With a track-record for providing creative advertising solutions to B2B and B2C clients, HD has established itself as a vibrant agency with a wealth of talent.
As a young boy, Joel Baloyi had confidence in leading a life of entrepreneurship. His first venture began at the tender age of 9, when he sold everything from snacks to concentrated juice to make some pocket money. The passion and independence that came with his early childhood endeavours are the same values that drive his business today; but, of course, there is a lot more maturity and knowledge involved in the running of the HD agency.
Although the company has been around for a significant amount of time, Baloyi quickly realised that there was plenty to learn in growing the business and expanding its reach. “Access to markets and business mentoring were challenges I was experiencing but not aware of”, he said. Before joining the Black Umbrellas programme, these challenges remained consistent for Baloyi and his team. “The business took a turn for good once I was able to access industry and business knowledge from the mentorship and training received through the programme”. Today, Highly Dedicated is at the proof of concept stage, with impressive plans for additional growth in the near future. By helping Baloyi to formalise his business, Black Umbrellas has practically prepared the company for opportunities available in the market. “The assistance received from Black Umbrellas also includes seed funding for sustaining the business and also getting better access to market for business traction,” Baloyi said.
Having grown the business in leaps and bounds over the last few years, the founder is still able to acknowledge the tense economic climate in which he operates. This awareness has made is imperative to maintain the sustainability of Highly Dedicated. For now, growing the business and ensuring that it is sustainable entails growing its clientele. Baloyi also cites strengthening HD’s service offering to ensure market success as a key objective now and in the future.
Despite having to manage the risks and challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant economic turbulence, HD shows no signs of stopping. The company now employs 4 individuals, with a goal of creating more jobs as it grows. More than anything, the increased success of Highly Dedicated emphasises the value of training and mentorship in ushering in a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa. South African entrepreneurs are innovative and capable; it is only a lack of knowledge, resources and support that often leads to high business failure rates in the country. By continuing to partner with black-owned SMEs in ensuring their success, organisations like Black Umbrellas play a vital role in economic recovery.