Since 1990, we’ve built a rich heritage of positively impacting businesses with bespoke solutions that deliver real value and a return on
investment. Blake’s corporate mission – to make communication easier and more effective – forms a thread that runs throughout our history.
Our story began around a kitchen table with an old typewriter. Our Founder, Howard Blake, set out to encourage people to pay their debt using quasi-legal processes delivered to them on a scooter. His success put Blake on the map and spawned a period of steady growth. It was during these formative years that The Blake Group was born.
In the early 1990’s, Durban was a lively city buzzing with development. Located in KwaZulu-Natal along the east coast, the city was primed for explosive growth having plentiful supply of both skilled and trainable labour and being home to one of Africa’s busiest and largest ports.
Ask Howard what made him launch his own business and he’ll tell you it was desperation. An attorney by profession, Howard started out in estate administration, and then became a legal advisor before joining a firm of attorneys in KwaZulu-Natal. Not happy there, he left. With a wife, two kids and few resources at his disposal, he started Blake and Associates in 1990, working from his kitchen on an old typewriter. What began as a sole proprietor debt collection business would eventually grow into one of the most respected business process outsourcing and contact centre companies in South Africa, focusing on all aspects of customer lifecycle management and not just debt collection.
The idea came about after Howard identified the need for a debt collection service without high legal costs. His clients were doctors and service stations. Soon the list grew to include vehicle dealerships and furniture retailers. Then the explosion of store credit cards between 1993 and 1996 boosted the business. Retailers across the spectrum turned to the firm for debt market advice to minimise risk. The business doubled every year from 1993 to 1997.
Recognising that innovation is the key to growth, Howard sets out to successfully diversify Blake’s offerings by launching new divisions to support the company’s philosophies and meet the needs of our clients. So Interactive Solutions was launched in 1996. This new division served to create innovative software solutions in-house, which meant that tailored offerings could be developed for our clients at quick turnaround times.
Blake expands and diversifies through innovation, setting up abroad in countries like Namibia, Botswana and Mauritius. The company also begins to service international clients in the USA, Spain and Latin America.
Known for our forward-thinking spirit, this has been a time of booming development for Blake. Internally, new technology and business intelligence extended our growing list of impressive services. Externally, Blake has become a recognised force behind digital disruption. It was here that Howard Blake decided that in order to stay ahead, he needed to disrupt his own company. By identifying trends before they emerge, Blake has been able to stay well ahead of the game.
In 2007, Blake creates Blake Connect to provide a full range of traditional and digital converged contact centre solutions, including in and outbound sales, business process outsourcing (BPO) and customer service.
In 2009, Traceps is introduced as a leading pioneer in the debt tracing industry. With accurate and reliable data at the core of this service offering, Traceps provides clients the details they need to successfully trace debtors, all in a way that’s legally compliant.
In 2011, Wi-Fi marketing and analytics technology is specifically designed to offer businesses a means to better understand their customers and to communicate with them in real-time, when it matters most. Wi-Fire not only revolutionised the guest Wi-Fi experience, but provided businesses with a means to generate a return on their network investment.
In 2015, Blake took the real estate industry by storm. The Virtual Agent was introduced as the leading data and CRM tool for estate agents in South Africa. It’s accurate, reliable data and time-saving tools fast proved to be a must-have for all in real estate sales.
Blake introduces another technology breakthrough truly meaningful to all South Africans. This groundbreaking Wi-Fi advertising network not only provides equal access to free and secure Wi-Fi, but also provides brands with a context-aware
platform to reach South Africans and visitors.