Entrepreneurs Julie Mathieson and Ingrid Osborne, who met while they were both completing their university degrees, founded Saryx Engineering Group (SEG) in 2007. Initially, SEG provided process control and automation services for large corporates in the mining and minerals sector.
The team developed long-standing relationships with these companies and secured long-term support contracts, which they service to this day. It was in this environment that the idea for the revolutionary HSEC Online platform was born.
“Like many entrepreneurs, we faced many challenges, especially working as two women in a very traditional engineering environment. The journey is all-consuming, but the rewards far outweigh the hard work,” says Osborne.
When the two started developing HSEC Online, they knew they had a world-class, scalable product that could penetrate global markets on their hands.
“When you believe in something so wholeheartedly, and when technology support the idea and the whole system works, there is simply no looking back,” she says.
HSEC Online is a web-based system that automatically digitises company safety and compliance, allowing a company to track document compliance, as well as securely sharing these documents with clients in a collaborative, digital workflow platform, accessible at any time.
Due to the nature of the business, most of the SEG employees work on various client sites, away from the office and access to many of these sites requires a load of legal and compliance documents, which were carried around in numerous lever arch files.
As a software engineering company, document safety and compliance are critical aspects which enable the business to perform its daily duties on-site. More than once, SEG was caught off-guard with costly expired documentation. This led to the decision to build a web-based system which automatically digitises company safety and compliance.
HSEC Online was initially developed as SEG’s in-house, web-based automated workflow product. The system worked so well for these entrepreneurs that they believed other companies would be prepared to pay for the functionality.
Osborne and Mathieson decided to invest SEG profits in developing the product to its full potential and marketing it commercially. HSEC Online has quickly become the industry standard. It helps save lives by compelling industrial businesses to stay compliant within safety laws and their own standards.
It allows companies to update their expired documentation and offers the client/end-user the opportunity to review and either approve or reject the submitted information.
The system provides an effective, affordable solution for both corporates and users to ensure 100% health and safety compliance. “Our start-up capital was zero – we are a completely internally funded company. HSEC Online has acquired over 1 000 customers and has launched an additional eight modules since its creation,” says Osborne.
The business has undergone a number of changes, such as the introduction of a dedicated development team and help-desk support centre. This has resulted in 277% growth in the past year, as well as major traction in the marketplace. The product is moving onto a mobile application platform to enhance the service.
The FNB Business Innovation Awards provide a rich and extensive network of support services that young companies, like SEG, require to ensure maximum impact and product awareness. This award has enabled the company to network with like-minded businesses and industry leaders to build a better, bigger local business with a global footprint.
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“The awards offer an incredible opportunity to showcase our company and our product on a global scale. FNB Business will sponsor us to participate at the coveted two-day Endeavor International Selection Panel (ISP) in Argentina in September,” she says.
The pair believe that innovation is the key to growth, and growth leads to a sustainable economic value, which ultimately leads to job creation.