HARD work and a top-notch tertiary education have paved the way for two Nelson Mandela Bay businessmen's success.
Owners of The Code Group, a software and web development company in Port Elizabeth, Devereaux Joubert and Mohamed Cassim's journey into the business world started while studying accounting and information systems at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).
They began their studies in 2005 and it was not long before the two became good friends and teamed up to take on a third-year project.
The project involved a property management system, which clients could use to manage their properties and tenants and focused on invoicing.
Joubert, who matriculated from Grey High School, said through their project they were chosen to represent NMMU at the Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition.
"We went on to win the competition in 2007 and placed third with our honours project in 2009. With the work we produced in 2007 a Microsoft representative, David Ives, sponsored our Microsoft Partnership which led to the establishment of our business – the Code Group," said Joubert.
The Code Group started operating in 2010 directly after the friends completed their studies.
"We started in a very small back office in Pickering Street and the first commercial software system that we produced was for a private hospital."
He said they also designed various websites for local businesses and during their first year they created a touch screen squash system for the sport centre at NMMU.
"At the end of the first year we offered an internship to a BSc student from NMMU, who then became the first full-time Code Group employee in 2011."
Due to the steady expansion of their business they soon needed bigger office space and moved to Mangold Street.
"With the large number of systems and applications that were being developed we employed another two NMMU graduates that started full-time in May 2011."
Joubert added they then commenced the complete redesign and development of a secure payment portal for establishments in the accommodation and tourism industry through Booksure.com
They also developed a human resources intranet portal for the mining industry during 2011.
"The Code Group in 2012 grew even further with another two staff members, one of whom is also an NMMU graduate. With the tremendous growth that we experienced we moved into our own bigger offices in Pickering Street, Newton Park.
"Our client base now includes overseas clients, joint venture development and outsourced IT development."
The company has been very busy over the past year and has developed a number of interesting systems including an energy management system for a UK client as well as a singing competition and judging system, with a mobile website for the voting of the contestants on the shows.
They have also developed a race timing system for motocross, enduro races, off-road and mountain bike races, which is now in use by 17 racing clubs across the country.
"International race organisers have also shown an interest in the system due to its ease of use and effectiveness in a real time environment."
They also managed to fit in a cross-platform survey system for Blackberry, Android and iPhones as well as various other projects for NMMU.
"On our third birthday, on February 1, we saw the need to increase our team yet again and we appointed another two NMMU graduates."
Joubert said their success was due to a number of reasons including their background in computer science coupled with their knowledge of accounting and auditing which enabled them to produce business systems of the highest standards.
"Much of our progress is due to the high standard of graduates that NMMU has produced that make our team so successful."