Five Young entrepreneurs under 30 share their Start-Up secrets | Sunday Observer

Five Young entrepreneurs under 30 share their Start-Up secrets

Luvuyo Rani
Luvuyo Rani

Thabo Khumalo – ToVch

“I learnt to design and sew while assisting my mother who was a seamstress, and that is when I realised that I had a talent to create,” Thabo Khumalo explains. “But I never knew I was an entrepreneur.”

Thabo Khumalo started his company ToVch in 2010 and has since appeared in South African Fashion Week, Soweto Fashion Week and Mpumalanga Fashion Week. Khumalo has a small but engaged audience, who he communicates directly with.

“The brand has a dedicated audience, and the social media presence also allows me to continuously scan the fashion environment to keep up with external forces.”

The Lesson

One of the most challenging aspects of launching his businesses was marketing the brand with limited funds.

He used social media and word-of-mouth to market. “On social media, people share your brand with others simply because they want to,” says Khumalo.

“It’s a powerful platform, and it does not cost anything.” Khumalo built up his company using support from a strong online network, which became his marketing strategy.

Pivoting your way to success

 Luvuyo Rani –Silulo Ulutho Technologies

“We realised we had recognised a market but, that the market hadn’t recognised itself,” Rani explains. “People need technology, but we were pitching in to a market that simply didn’t know how to use what we were offering.”

In finding a way to teach his market how to use computers he discovered a marketable business idea that was in high demand.

Silulo Ulutho Technologies now has 40 branches and counting that teaches customers how to use computers as well as supporting 5,000 students a year.

The Lesson

“You can’t be too precious about your business model,” Rani says. “Sometimes you need to adjust your offering to suit the market. You can’t expect the market to adjust to you, simply because you are offering something.

Find what they want or need, and then give them a solution.” In creating a bridge between what Silulo Ulutho Technologies was offering and his market Rani managed to find his successful business idea.

“Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.”

Alex Fourie – weFix

Alex Fourie explains: “Initially, it was when I was solving my own problem. Then it was when I posted my first CapeAds ad and my phone rang 15 times on the first day. I thought that there might be a business here.”

Fourie’s business, weFix, now has 11 branches across the country and sells its own in-house product lines and insurance for selected products.

“We average about 10, 000 customers monthly, 75% of it from word-of-mouth.”

The Lesson

“Excellence isn’t a result of one or two good decisions. “It’s a result of thousands of small, good decisions.

A bunch of the above-average decisions will culminate over time. Everything you do, do it well and the rest will sort itself out.”

Fourie reveals that compared to 2010 when repairs could take up to 72 hours, 95% of weFix repairs are now done the same day. weFix also provides spin-off offerings linked to our core ethos, like out-of-warranty insurance because there are gaps that no other industry is targeting.

Your instincts will guide

your way

Rapelang Rabana –Rekindle Learning

“All I knew was that I needed to find a way out of what I perceived to be a life system that imposed rules and obligations I didn’t understand the purpose of,” Rabana explains.

“The idea of working my way through more and more systems, from high school to university to the corporate world, weighed on me. But I had no idea this would mean that I would want to be an entrepreneur.”

Rapelang Rabana founded Rekindle Learning, which offers learning and development through mobile and computer learning solutions. This offering assists the individual’s master knowledge in corporate and schooling environments.

The Lesson

“Almost 10 years ago I had made the decision to start my business despite the confusion, turbulent thoughts and emotions, not knowing what life would hold,” she said. “Now the trust I had placed in myself to chart my own path was reaping rewards I never could have conceived, all because I dared to listen to myself. Knowing the value of that choice 10 years on gave me great peace.” After achieving Entrepreneur for the World, she felt a deep sense of serenity about her choices and the path she was now forging.


Doing good, is good business Sizwe Nzima – Iyeza Express

“Iyeza Express is a community development project,” Nzima believes, “the purpose is also to employ members of the community to be runners, to deliver and to be management, making it not just about health care access but about job creation too.”

Raymond Ackerman inspired Sizwe Nzima and made him realise that he needed to act and make his community a better place. His company Iyeza Express, is a bicycle courier service that collects chronic medication from public health facilities and delivers it directly to patient’s homes.

The Lesson

“The aim of Iyeza Express is to give everyone health access,” explains Nzima. “People need good health access despite their income, despite where they live – it’s a basic human right.”

Richard Ackerman inspired Nzima to do good and in return Nzima grew a good business. He continues to build businesses to help the community and is working to create a solid business model to enable his delivery service to expand across the country for those who need it, by those that need jobs.