Shell LiveWIRE’s South African Entrepreneurial Cohort Thriving
Sep 23, 2020
Despite COVID-19, the current cohort of Shell LiveWIRE South Africa entrepreneurs is making excellent strides.
Currently, Shell LiveWIRE counts 18 country programmes among our ranks. Since 2014, Shell LiveWIRE South Africa has been facilitated by Raizcorp, Shell’s enterprise-development partner in-country. Over time, LiveWIRE South Africa’s offering has evolved from a basic business-awareness programme to a full three-year enterprise and supplier development programme designed to equip entrepreneurs with the competencies needed to enhance and scale up their businesses.
As in the rest of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the South African economy, resulting in job losses and the closure of many businesses. Despite this reality, the current cohort of Shell LiveWIRE South Africa entrepreneurs is making excellent strides. Below are a few highlights of 2020 so far:
Solomon owns Phakama Industrial, an earthmoving business. In the past, he had been rejected for financing because he lacked a credible financial history and was regarded as high risk. Based on his learnings from Shell LiveWIRE, Solomon was able to approach a large financial institution using new management accounts and proof of business insurance as motivations and, with the necessary financing secured, was able to acquire new agricultural equipment. He credits the programme for an increase in his business credibility and believes that clients and funders trust him more because of his commitment to empowering himself. Solomon’s sales mentor on the programme, Tshepo Serokolo, says, “Solomon shows resilience, resourcefulness and fighting spirit, and is someone who is viewing the glass as half full during the pandemic.”
Val Moonsamy of Val Moonsamy Attorneys offers a range of legal services including debt collection, labour law and general litigation. Until recently, Val had been running her practice somewhat informally, as a sole proprietor. She faced difficulties separating her personal and business expenses, as everything was being run through one bank account. With the help of Shell LiveWIRE, Val has formally registered her business as an incorporated company, meaning that she will no longer conduct legal work in her personal capacity. This has represented a great shift, and she is hard at work hard setting up formal business processes and banking accounts.
Aeysha’s business, Azra Developments, offers project management, quantity surveying, civil engineering and consulting services. After receiving no income for the month of April 2020, Aeysha made a truly impressive recovery. Given these remarkable shifts, Azra Developments was promoted within the LiveWIRE cohort from the enterprise development programme to the accelerated growth programme. Now, LiveWIRE and Raizcorp will provide her business with the support it needs to enter a new phase of growth and to scale its operations.
Harmonius (or Harmony as he is known) runs BotsZa Projects, an IT research and development company that specialises in applications to improve productivity, efficiency and customer experience. He has had to overcome serious challenges since enrolling in Shell LiveWIRE. His strategy guide, Jennifer Steyn, remarks, “Harmony is a young man who has grown this business from zero to hero.” A year ago, his partner decided to leave the business, owing to the lack of revenue, and Harmony had to find the funds to pay him out. Because the business had already secured contracts with two major South African banks, he was required to complete the development of a new application without the support of his partner. A month later, he was hijacked and had his laptop stolen, and the hijackers cleaned out his bank account. He had to borrow a laptop from a friend and still managed to complete the application on time. As of April, Harmony employs seven full-time developers and two contractors, and his current turnover is over ZAR 1 700 000 per quarter! Jennifer continues, “Harmony has demonstrated the most exceptional strength and determination. He achieved his annual turnover target within the first four months of 2020. A soft-spoken man, he is now able to firmly negotiate with clients about payments and the costs of his products and services. A huge financial and personal shift!”
The success stories shared by Shell LiveWIRE South Africa are inspiring and provide a dose of optimism as economies around the global continue to face volatility. We look forward to continuing to track the progress of these entrepreneurs, and more, over the rest of the year.