Jabu Blose is the founder of Video Remote Communications (Virecom), a deaf-owned video remote communications company that provides modern solutions for remote language services with the support of technology.
Virecom provides high definition, instant, convenient and affordable Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) services using online video technology, with real-time text and voice simultaneously at the touch of a button. The hearing and deaf persons are in the same location, whilst the VRI is located remotely at the Virecom call centre.
Growing up in Madadeni, KwaZulu Natal, Jabu became hearing impaired at the age of ten. He went on to complete his studies at the University of Johannesburg in Accounting and worked for 11 years as Deputy Director for Growth and Development in the Gauteng Office of the Premier.
The idea of remote language services first came to Jabu in 2006. He took the concept to the late Minister of Communications, Dr Ivy Matsepe-Cassaburi. Despite receiving support from the minister, the concept fell into the departmental maze.
“As technology continued to move towards the concept of video relay and as many countries were already using it to benefit their deaf communities, I decided to revive the idea in 2015,” says Jabu.
“We hired our first interpreter in 2019 and launched our product using online video technology, which wasn’t that popular then. I realised we could customise our technological offering by developing a user-specific product. This resulted in the development of our Virecom app.”
In 2019, Jabu entered the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards. He was awarded R500 000 in grant funding in the Disability Empowerment Awards category.
The award has assisted Jabu by connecting him to business coaches and mentors in the field. It has also exposed him to a variety of technical knowledge as part of the business development services. The award funding will be used for the development of a customised Virecom app that responds to the communication needs of the South African deaf community.
“I can confidently say we have the right people, systems and services in place to follow the vision of the company. This however needs be complimented by the sales growth of our product,” explains Jabu.
“Being an entrepreneur can be tough, as you have to be an all-rounder at the initial stage of the business. You have to self-motivate whilst you grow your business.”
”You need to believe in yourself and have faith in your abilities. You need to work hard and keep refining your business. I encourage other entrepreneurs to enter competitions or apply for entrepreneurship programmes to test the viability of their business. And above all, never lose sight of success,” he concludes.