During the course of this year, we have profiled entrepreneurs who despite criticism and challenges, started businesses in unique industries. These entrepreneurs are proof that it is possible to find success anywhere.
Nic Haralambous, socks designer
30 year-old Cape Town-based tech entrepreneur, Nic Haralambous, found a way to turn a common piece of clothing like socks into a niche business.
NicSocks is an online retail store that sells custom-made, quirky and colourful socks. Haralambous, an experienced entrepreneur, started in just six weeks.
“I got tired of paying a fortune for imported socks and I knew we could do it cheaply and better locally, which is why I started the business,” Haralambous says. Read more
Malope Mojapelo, Sanitation
Mojapelo’s company, Magmoon Pty Ltd, provides a wide spectrum of sanitation services like portable toilet hire, underground sanitation solutions to rural schools, construction sites, mining companies, restaurants, corporate businesses and government departments in Gauteng and Limpopo.
Many people may see the sanitation business in a negative light. But Mojapelo sees it as a perfectly legitimate and dignified venture
“It’s actually quite a lucrative industry,” he said. “Everybody needs hygiene and someone has to provide it.” Read more
David Shmukler, bike courier business
Shmukler launched Dash Couriers, an eco-friendly courier service which uses bicycles to beat the traffic in the rapidly expanding business district.
This is after he identified a need for a faster courier services in Johannesburg’s Sandton often traffic congested CBD.
“One of the challenges we’re facing currently is making people realise how much time it costs their lives to be running around and stuck in traffic,” he said. “[But] my wish is to develop the current employees to run their own courier services.” Read more
Mogau Seshoene, Food preparation
25 year-old Mogau Seshoene saw first-hand how the kitchen struggles her friend endured when she had to cook for her in-laws after getting married.
This encounter inspired Seshoene to start a cooking project, which later developed into a fully-fledged cooking lessons business based in Pretoria, The Lazy Makoti (makoti is IsiZulu word for bride).
“I do cooking classes for modern women,” said Sesheone. Read more
“I didn’t know anything about mechanics, but I had determination”
Zahier Davids, Custom bike designer
5 years ago Zahier Davids, who is self-taught, founded Flywheel Custom Chariots. The company, based in Cape Flats suburb of Kensington, designs and manufactures bikes, including lowriders, cruisers, choppers and motorised bikes.
Davids’ interest in bikes was influenced by the neighbourhood trend of customising cars into lowriders.
“I had no business knowledge. I didn’t know anything about mechanics, but I had determination,” he says. Read more.
Tshonto De Wet, Diamonds and precious stones
Tshonto was motivated to enter the diamond industry after seeing the precious gems extracted literally from his backyard in Wolmaransstad, a mining town in the North West, being sent to Johannesburg for polishing because of a lack of local diamond polishers.
28-year-old shonto co-founded a diamond cutting and polishing business, Borobalo Co-operative.
“The miners polish their diamonds in Johannesburg and they pay high prices for importing polished diamonds from big brands even though [the diamonds] are mined here in South Africa,” Tshonto says. Read more