For South Africa to achieve economic growth we need between “twenty and twenty-five out every hundred people to be entrepreneurs” says UP’s webpage Entrepreneurship 101. However, only about 7% of South African citizens are entrepreneurs. Despite these statistics, UP has several students who have started their own platforms or businesses.
BCom Investment Management student, Zach Wolpe, launched Bid4Books at the start of this academic year. The free online platform allows students to buy and sell their second-hand textbooks with “no middleman”. Wolpe started Bid4Books because he felt that “there was a serious inefficiency in the transaction of second-hand study material” and that many “students cannot afford brand new textbooks annually”. Although there is an “informal marketplace” where “students attempt to sell their second-hand books”, Wolpe says that Bid4Books “makes it much more efficient for everyone involved”. Wolpe describes trading second-hand books with bookstores as a “sour experience” which is “designed to make the bookstore as much money as possible”. He adds that buyers can buy second-hand books but not at “second-hand rates” and sellers receive “a small pittance of the full selling price”. Contrary to this, Bid4Books allows sellers to have full control of the sale and keep 100% of the selling price. The Bid4Books team has expanded from one to five students and has over 700 books listed from universities across South Africa. The site is “growing like crazy” and has achieved over “10 000 site visitations in two weeks,” says Wolpe.
Zintle Iintokazi sells t-shirts which “uniquely [identify] with African, influential personalities”. Zintle Iintokazi, which translates to “the girls are beautiful”, was started by BIS (Hons) Publishing student, Mpumi Mgidlana, and her cousin Bukwase Mgidlana. Mpumi says that South African youth “tend to look at international influences and acknowledge their work and successes”. Zintle Iintokazi want their clothing “to change this mindset and make people aware that there are amazing influences in Africa and Asia”. Zintle Iintokazi officially started trading on 5 January 2018 and plan to expand to an online store which has more than just t-shirts.
Happy Shoes was co-founded in August 2016 by Peter Magomarela, a BCom (Hons) Internal Audit graduate, and Kgoaile Molaba a third year BCom Agricultural Economics student. Magomarela describes Happy Shoes as “a convenience shoe care and maintenance company” which cleans, fixes, refurbishes and customises students’ “dirty, torn and out of touch shoes” at “an affordable price”. Magomarela conceptualised this business while observing “very dirty shoes stuffed up in most people’s rooms after late parties” at his former residence, Kollege. Magomarela says many students could not find time to clean their shoes and would sometimes “discard their shoes” because they could not find shoe care businesses or “businesses around are just too expensive”. Happy Shoes closed this gap by creating their online platform, www.walksmiling247.co.za, “where people can order for any shoe care and maintenance service” at any place and time. Happy Shoes provides free drop-off and collection for areas close to Hatfield and their turnaround time is “less than 48 hours”. Happy Shoes has “expanded quite tremendously” and earlier this year won “second place in the South African round of the Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards”, says Magomarela. Here, they lost to Palesa Motaung, a Soil Sciences student at UP who founded Desert Green, which aims “to create new young farmers and develop existing small-scale farmers, while repurposing under-utilized land in rural Africa for food production”, says LeadSA. Magomarela says “there’s never a right time to start a business” and that businesses start “with an idea and you maintain the idea with consistent actions”.
Deliquory Services was started in March 2016 by Savva Pouroullis, a 2017 Mechanical Engineering graduate, and Dylan Mackenzie who is a third year BCom Investment Management student. Pouroullis and Mackenzie originally “wanted it to be exactly like a food delivery service” where alcohol could be delivered to peoples’ doorstep. However, the business “started branching into other aspects of the entertainment and hospitality industry”. After the team was “asked to manage a bar at a Polo Club”, their “events management branch was born”. Now Deliquory Services “hire out bartenders, waitrons, promoters and [their] own unique vibe-improving characters”. Deliquory Services have also started sourcing “students with a large social media presence [to] pay them to mingle and promote [Deliquory Service’s] brand”. Pouroullis and Mackenzie are “constantly experimenting with new features” and have “all sorts of ideas” but “eventually want to come back full circle to [their] original idea” and “develop an app for liquor delivery”.
Nobilmen (Pty) Ltd
Nobilmen (Pty) Ltd was started on 30 November 2016 by Luvuyo Diko and Prince Tshweu who study BCom Financial Sciences and BSc Medical Science respectively. Diko describes Nobilmen (Pty) Ltd as “a corporate identity and branding company which seeks to establish and enhance the visual image and brand of businesses”. Diko says that “a well-established brand could indirectly assist you in turning [a] potential client into [a] paying client”, which is why the company offers a variety of brand-related services such as conceptualisation of brand and image, establishment of a corporate identity, logo design, web user interface design and business card design. Diko says that in “South Africa there is a growing interest among young people, including students, to ‘be their own boss’” and Nobilmen (Pty) Ltd “seeks to assist these students who have taken an entrepreneurial leap”. This is done by ensuring that those who have started online businesses have a “relevant look and feel for their page” and those who have started traditional companies have a “clean and professional corporate identity”. Diko says that the long-term goal for Nobilmen (Pty) Ltd is to be “the leading international corporate entity which […] provides long-lasting and value-adding products and services to various markets and sectors through a diversified offering beyond corporate identity and branding”. Diko encourages “more students to get into the world of entrepreneurship” as it gives you a sense of fulfilment and develops you personally. Nobilmen (Pty) Ltd can be contacted through their website nobilmen.altitudec.co.za.
Third-year BCom Investment Management student, Robin Titus, founded the platform Reference Buddy. The free website makes the tedious task of referencing more efficient. The user simply has to “choose a referencing style”, “create a reference list” and add sources. From there, the website will do the rest, including in-text citations and arranging sources alphabetically. Titus says that the information you add “can also be edited” and if you have any missing information the website will “still structure that reference entry in the correct manner”. Styles supported by Reference Buddy “include APA, Chicago, the popular Harvard Methods, MLA, and Vancouver,” but “a new style can actually be added within five minutes.”
Titus “wrote the first lines of code for Reference Buddy in October 2014” and in February 2015 a “basic version of Reference Buddy officially went online”. The website has grown considerably since then and Titus says that “just last week someone signed up from the University of Antioquia in Columbia” and there “have also been hits” from the “University of Southern Nevada and Maastricht University”.
BScAgric Food Science and Technology (Hons) student, Stellar Frisby, started Stellar’s Staples in July 2015 as a food blog. Since then, Stellar’s Staples has progressed into a bakery business which is based in Pretoria. Frisby says that in 2016 her friends “began insisting that [she] charge people for the cakes [she] created”. From there, Frisby “started getting orders by word of mouth” which prompted her to eventually “create a Facebook page for [her] business”. Frisby’s specialises in “chiffon cake” and differentiates herself from other bakers by using “fresh, edible flowers on [her] cakes”. Frisby has been “working on developing other products such as biscuits and lollipops”. In the future, Frisby wants to “have a range of baked products, confectionary items and preserves as part of a successful premium brand and potentially a physical store”.