Square pegs

‘Work hard, quietly and develop a thick skin’

Pat Duxbury knows the look that says “But you're a woman!” in the face of a client whom she meets at the start of a tour through the Kruger Park. “As a woman, you always have to prove yourself. You work hard at the beginning of a tour, and after a day or two they (the tourists) settle down and are happy with you,” says Pat, who has built up Themba Tours and Safaris over the past two decades. As the owner-manager of a guest house in Br...
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Born teacher finds her roots the entrepreneurial way

Judy Janse van Rensburg comes from a distinguished family of teachers who can trace their lineage several generations back to the time of governesses, but she herself only lasted six months in her first teaching job. “It was the system that got to me,” says the Kempton Park based entrepreneur who has recently taken over an innovative franchise aimed at teaching children arithmetic and analytical thinking through the use of a Chinese abacus. ...
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‘Consistent persistence’ ensures survival in a land of giants

The first thing he asked me when we sat down is what my passion was and where I wanted to go. I looked at the guy and realized this was the first financier I came across who took this approach and actually wanted to hear what my vision was before getting to my balance sheet. Warren Fernandes Admadmedia It must be the sheer size of Gauteng's huge billboards that seems to warn that outdoor advertising is the preserve of the corporate heavyweights ...
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Thriving guest house group built on teaching and training

I know that with the tremendous support of my employees, clients and suppliers, and my belief that God is the "silent partner" in my business, I can adapt to any challenge Nomsa Mazibuko Visit Vakasha It is hard to tell sometimes which businesses really mean it when they say “our people are our greatest asset”, or “empowerment is what we're all about”. But with Nomsa Mazibuko, owner of the guest house business Visit Vakasha in Mpumalanga...
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Stranded patients inspire young entrepreneur to start own venture

To her surprise and relief, the small and medium-business financier [Business Partners] decided to back her business based purely on the market potential and on her experience in managing dialysis centres. Ncamisile Maphumulo Coastal Nephrology Centre The day that the health company closed down the dialysis centre where she worked as a young medical technologist in deep-rural KwaZulu-Natal, Ncamisile Maphumulo decided to start her own business on...
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Study business before you start, advises experienced entrepreneur

One of Enver’s strengths is that his company is family run, with a strong management team, he says he is fortunate that his daughter manages the administration and his son the overall operations at the Tomco factory, a 3000 square metre automated plant with 70 workers. Enver Munshi Tomco You would think that a businessman who had cut his teeth as a young entrepreneur in the harsh 70s when South Africa's economy was strangled by racial laws an...
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In property, there is an upside to a downturn

While the passion for property investments gets him up in the morning, it also occasionally keeps him up at night as well. But the best part is the satisfaction of taking something that is broken, fixing it, creating jobs and boosting the local community and the wider economy. Gary Gould Unity Properties If you play your cards right, the property market is one of those industries where you can do good business both on the gentle upward slopes of...
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Wide-ranging skills aid survival in the building business

La Fleur's wide-ranging skills built up throughout his career has enabled him to survive the ups and downs of the construction industry. Leon La Fleur When you start wielding a welding rod at the age of nine, you are pretty much destined for a career of building things, as the life of Leon La Fleur attests. The reason he remembers how young he was when he started welding, says La Fleur, was that he got arc eyes, a painful condition caused by the...
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Big bet on the future of fast-food franchising

Business Partners won her over with their speed and efficiency, and she decided to take up their offer of financing the full purchase price of the Debonairs. Mogani Padayachee Steers and Debonairs After a tough many years in which the restaurant industry was among those hardest hit by the global financial crisis, Mogani Padayachee, an experienced owner of many eateries, believes that the corner will be turned within the next year – and she is ...
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Building a business on the bedrock of service

Two years later he embarked on another huge expansion, almost tripling his store space. This time, however, he needed outside finance. After scouting around, he found that Business Partners' service was better than any of the banks, and took his first loan with the entrepreneurial finance house. Dries Coetzee Honolulu Mica It may seem strange that an entrepreneur would name his business after a parched desert farm that had succumbed to drough...
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