I grew up in Umlazi, Durban and started my career studying medicine at UCT. While I was deciding whether I wanted to continue my studies, I flew down to Cape Town to conduct a feasibility study for a low-cost bakery. On the flight I saw those dropdown screens and thought it would be a great idea to put something like that in taxis. During my stay in Cape Town, the idea kept haunting me and that’s when I decided to go back to Durban and pursue it.
When we started with taxi TV, we thought funding was the biggest problem but actually this wasn’t as much of a challenge as finding the right clients. I now believe that, as an entrepreneur, the money will come but that convincing the client to use your services is the key. In the beginning, we were in a space where we had no relationships and this is incredibly important in building a business.
I was helping out a friend with his business in 2013 when we came across flyers advertising the ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme. At the last minute, I decided to enter.
The experience was fantastic! I learned so much that it’s hard to pick out just one lesson … Something important I learned was not to romanticise your business idea or its prospects. You need to be realistic about its prospects, the numbers and everything that goes into building it. Everything I learned during the programme has played an important part in building my business. It helped me to think more clearly about what I was setting out to do.
Since starting up, the business has gone through so much – both good and bad. We’re currently coming back from a bit of a dip after a few years of incredible growth. (At one point we were growing 560% year on year but that sort of growth is unusual and not sustainable.)
Resilience is definitely high up on the list of personal characteristics you need to be an entrepreneur. I don’t believe any entrepreneur can succeed without resilience because the path is not smooth. You need a deep conviction in what you’re pursuing so you can get up every day and do what you have to do. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted and that’s a fact!
I definitely recommend that anyone who is running their own business or thinking of starting one up participate in the ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme. It opens your mind to a variety of possibilities for any business.
I would like to thank Engen for giving me the opportunity and, even more, for supporting my business. Without them and their support, my story would literally be non-existent. After pitching an idea in 2013, I am now one of the suppliers to the ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme and have been for the past four years. To Nedbank, you have been my bank for every step of my entrepreneurial journey. I am so grateful to you both!