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 Success stories




A business rich in emotional fulfilment business rich in emotional fulfilmentOften business owners describe the relationship with their staff and even their customers as family. For Marlene and Johan van Niekerk, that experience is so intense that they find running their business completely enveloping, and utterly fulfilling.2021/03/16 10:00:00 PM
From school drop-out to business leader school drop-out to business leaderWhen Joe Afrika arrived in Thembalethu township in George to live with his uncle in the early 90s he had nothing, not even career prospects. The troubled fifteen-year-old had dropped out of school, and his mother, in desperation, had sent him to live with her brother in the hope that he might find employment. 2021/03/16 10:00:00 PM
Business driven by a mission to serve driven by a mission to serveMost dads would at the very least be relieved, if not bursting with pride, to hear that their son had found a job at one of the big four accounting firms. Not Mokgadishi Makola’s. He remembers returning to his family home in a village in Limpopo to tell his father, Isaiah Makola, that he had just got a job at Deloitte. From the expression on his face, he could see that his father was thinking: “You are making a mistake.” It took Mokgadishi years to realise just how right his father was.2021/02/16 10:00:00 PM
Restaurant owner finds her home in the heart of the business owner finds her home in the heart of the businessProbably the most intense time in Nicolette Fouche’s career was when her chef husband fell ill and she, a front-of-house manager at their restaurant, had to jump in and take over the kitchen. She had never trained as a chef and had never run a restaurant kitchen.2021/02/16 10:00:00 PM
When your core business is starting businesses your core business is starting businessesWhile most business owners find themselves hunkered down and salvaging what they can after a punishing year, a remarkable trio of entrepreneurs are as fixated as ever on the growth of their mind-boggling array of companies. 2021/01/26 10:00:00 PM
Can SAs tourism sector survive 2021 without international visitors? SAs tourism sector survive 2021 without international visitors?Pre-COVID-19, South Africa’s tourism industry accounted for roughly 3 percent of national GDP, having contributed 725 000 direct jobs and over 8 percent of total investment spend in 2019 according to the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan. The sector now faces a potential 73 percent revenue reduction in 2020 in the worst case scenario, with 438 000 jobs and R82.5 billion in foreign capital at risk, unless a massive recovery is realised in this year’s remaining quarter. 2021/01/26 10:00:00 PM
Restaurant entrepreneur ready for post-pandemic bounce-back entrepreneur ready for post-pandemic bounce-back Amid all the usual uncertainties of running one’s own business, Neelesh Harduth has found an unexpected certainty: no matter what happens in future, chances are very good that things cannot possibly be as difficult as his first two years. If his business could survive that, it will survive anything.2020/11/25 10:00:00 PM
Restaurant owners only regret-I should have started sooner owners only regret-I should have started soonerDespite having just been through the most difficult period of his business career, restaurant entrepreneur Dunga Hlabangane has only one regret about leaving his high-powered corporate career seven years ago - he should have done it much earlier. 2020/11/25 10:00:00 PM
Formal systems, staff relations help resilient company bounce back systems, staff relations help resilient company bounce backA few months ago, Tshepo Mekoa was worried at the speed with which his company Brima Logistics was growing - would the intricate systems and procedures that he had set up over the last decade and a half hold under the weight of his rapid expansion?2020/10/25 10:00:00 PM
No rest for this 60-year-old livewire rest for this 60-year-old livewire“My entrepreneurship is beyond my control,” says Iris Makanya-Dikha, a 60-year-old business owner from Umtata whose various businesses employ more than 800 people throughout South Africa.2020/10/25 10:00:00 PM
Positive outlook enables way out of crisis for restaurant group outlook enables way out of crisis for restaurant groupThe Covid-19 lockdown started as a double blow for Reshan Myasur and his group of franchise outlets. Not only did it wipe out weeks of turnover of his family’s Steers, Fishaways, Milky Lane and Debonairs franchise outlets in Johannesburg, but it started at the worst possible time of the month.2020/09/15 10:00:00 PM
Top guest house carefully weathering the storm guest house carefully weathering the stormThe pandemic, which has hit the tourism trade harder than any other industry, has made things very uncertain for the Williams family and their sparkling Blue Diamond guest house in Springbok in the Northern Cape. But they are not letting the crisis go to waste. Pauline and Tony, together with two sons, are using the downtime during the lockdown to increase the green credentials of their business by setting up herb and vegetable production on the Blue Diamond’s beautiful 1000 square meter garden which will supply the establishment’s eatery when business gets going again. Another project is the redesign of the Blue Diamond’s kitchen, led by Pauline and Tony’s youngest son who has recently qualified as a chef.2020/09/15 10:00:00 PM
Answering adversity with entrepreneurship adversity with entrepreneurshipLike thousands of South African business owners Elizabeth Baillie stared into the abyss as one of the strictest lockdowns in the world shut down the South African economy and her business.2020/08/18 10:00:00 PM
Finding the silver lining of lockdown the silver lining of lockdownWhen President Ramaphosa announced the nationwide lockdown back in March, Natalie Gabriels knew that her corporate and events photography business would be hit hard. Like many other local business owners, Gabriels was initially anxious about the uncertain future, but she soon realised that a reflective hiatus was exactly what her business needed.2020/08/18 10:00:00 PM
Level 5 and 4 lockdown no time to sit idle, say business owners 5 and 4 lockdown no time to sit idle, say business ownersNo business is unaffected by the unprecedented lockdown and the resultant great economic freeze. But characteristically, business owners are not sitting still. All are busy drawing up applications for emergency relief, while some are making plans to diversify, negotiating with suppliers, catching up on paperwork, thinking about marketing campaigns and new ways of doing things, and even making plans to start new businesses. 2020/05/11 10:00:00 PM
Manufacturing success for rebel business owner success for rebel business ownerPaul Pretorius is one of the small breed of people who have always known that they want to run their own business. Over his entire career, the 51-year-old business owner only ever worked for six months for someone else.2020/02/24 10:00:00 PM
Relationships central in this thriving factory central in this thriving factoryLance Luiters is experiencing a problem that not many business owners think about. As his Cape Town based clothing factory, called Season’s Find, grows ever closer to employing 300 workers, he is finding it increasingly difficult to keep track of all his workers’ names.2020/02/24 10:00:00 PM
Industrial business built through relentless struggle for survival business built through relentless struggle for survivalA young Sipho Radebe might have laughed in disbelief if anyone had told him that he would one day build Mbali Industrial Solutions, a R140m-a-year engineering firm. More likely, he would just have ignored such an impossible dream, put his head down and continued working.2020/01/19 10:00:00 PM
Pioneering engineers doing it for themselves engineers doing it for themselvesIn the early nineties, when the brutal conflict in KwaZulu-Natal was at its peak, it was no surprise that Bheki Lembede, the son of a domestic worker and a truck driver in Durban, scored low in almost every subject at school. Schooling in the killing fields of the war between the ANC and IFP was severely disrupted, and there were widespread fears that thousands of young South Africans’ futures would be destroyed even if they survived the conflict.2020/01/19 10:00:00 PM
Integrating technology and happiness into business technology and happiness into businessAs a school boy, Brendan Bossé got his hands on the first rudimentary personal computers that came onto the market in the ‘80s, and was immediately smitten by the idea that they could be used to control the physical world.2019/12/12 10:00:00 PM
Twelve years of growth, and no end in sight for branding company years of growth, and no end in sight for branding companySo unstoppable has the growth of Basically Branding been over the last twelve years that it has had to move no fewer than seven times, each time with a bigger collection of machines that can print a logo on almost anything. Last year, the Johannesburg-based branding company moved for the first time out of rented premises into its own building, but not with any sense of settling down, it seems. 2019/12/12 10:00:00 PM
Difficult start makes entrepreneur and business stronger. start makes entrepreneur and business stronger.Like so many business owners, Abegail Nakedi’s start-up experience was much harder than she ever could have imagined. In fact, her difficult start in business was probably worse than that of most business owners.2019/11/26 10:00:00 PM
This business owner wills his own luck business owner wills his own luckThe story of the extraordinary rise of Steve Mululu from the slums of Nairobi to owner of a fast-growing group of upmarket gyms in Johannesburg contains a number of amazing lucky breaks. Look a bit closer, though, and you realise that this is a man who inserts himself into luck’s pathway by sheer force of will.2019/11/26 10:00:00 PM
Entrepreneur tells of hair-raising race to find finance tells of hair-raising race to find financeHaving been in the Johannesburg property industry for more than twenty years, Gigi Demetriou immediately saw the potential in a dilapidated guest house he found in Rivonia. But he had no inkling of the hair-raising struggle that lied ahead before he would own it. 2019/10/23 10:00:00 PM
Adventure-seeking trio cooks up a storm of a business trio cooks up a storm of a businessOne way of explaining why some people start their own businesses rather than working for others is their sense of adventure. The Maré siblings, who have been building a thriving catering company called D.O.U.G.H. in Pretoria over the past ten years, is strong evidence of a link between adventure seeking and entrepreneurship. 2019/08/20 10:00:00 PM