Searching the twisted streets of Johannesburg for a place called the JG Group centre, we’ve been told to look for a triangular building on Blairgowrie Drive, and there it is, the home of JG Novelty Print Systems.
The J and the G in the company name belong to John Georgiou, who once attended a workshop where Paul Dunn of Buy1GIVE1 talked about how businesses can have a daily impact on people around the world, just by doing business. “His excitement was contagious,” John says, “and I wanted to get my company involved as soon as I got back to my desk. I wanted to inject more meaning and purpose into my work, and change lives in the process.”
His company works out of that three-storey building in J-Burg, where they sell printing systems that print images or slogans onto novelty items in two or three dimensions. Any fabric, almost any ceramic, wood or metal surface, vinyl, poster, plastic, crystal, glass, button badges, plates, and of course – those ubiquitous mugs! John founded the company back in 1990, and they now have customers throughout Southern Africa, including all of the neighbouring states – North Africa, the Middle East, Portugal, Mauritius, Seychelles, even Ireland and England.
John says that he’s always felt the need to help change the world, and when B1G1 came along it was a pretty good fit. For every printing system that their customers purchase, the JG Group helps fund education for an underprivileged child through B1G1.
“We support education in South Africa.” John told us, “We like to try to focus on our own country to try and get our customers involved with something local and get a better buy-in that way.”
“I should point out that EVERYBODY asks for charity here. At every traffic light that you stop there are a minimum of two people begging for spare change and then there’s a whole horde of people who are trying to sell you something.”
“We chose to get involved with B1G1 because they are completely transparent and don’t use the proceeds of the donations to fund their organization. They’re funded by a separate membership and charities that they support need to pass a rigorous auditing processs so that 100% of the funds actually goes to the people being supported.”
“B1G1…. Because your business can change lives”. Now that would look good on one of those JG mugs!