‘Pas­sion, not money, be­hind cre­at­ing suc­cess­ful busi­ness’

The Herald (South Africa) - - News - Yolanda Palezweni PalezweniY@ti­soblack­star.co.za

De­spite strug­gling for four years and tak­ing ma­jor fi­nan­cial strain af­ter he turned down an op­por­tu­nity to be a di­rec­tor in a con­struc­tion com­pany, a young Nel­son Man­dela Bay en­tre­pre­neur says the pain was worth it.

Asa Ma­zomba, 31, a con­struc­tion in­dus­try pro­fes­sional and the founder of Ten­derPoint South Africa, shared his story and gave tips to as­pir­ing en­trepreneurs at an event hosted by Startup Grind Port El­iz­a­beth at Kwantu Tow­ers.

The Startup Grind is a global startup com­mu­nity de­signed to ed­u­cate, in­spire and pro­vide a plat­form to al­low bud­ding en­trepreneurs to con­nect and net­work with the gu­rus of the in­dus­try.

Ma­zomba went to Port Rex Tech­ni­cal High School in East Lon­don, where he was ex­posed to in­te­rior ar­chi­tec­ture, and later stud­ied quan­tity sur­vey­ing at Nel­son Man­dela Uni­ver­sity.

His big break came in 2014 when he made it to the fi­nal round of the En­gen Pitch and Pol­ish com­pe­ti­tion.

“It was not an easy road. In 2010, I de­clined a po­si­tion to be a part­ner and di­rec­tor of a con­struc­tion com­pany I was work­ing for in East Lon­don and, months af­ter, left my job,” Ma­zomba said.

“Since then, it was straight down­hill.”

He said know­ing him­self and his ca­pa­bil­i­ties played a huge role in shap­ing what he is to­day.

Ma­zomba’s now suc­cess­ful on­line pro­cure­ment com­pany helps small busi­nesses land con­tracts with govern­ment en­ti­ties.

He said he had al­ways wanted to do some­thing of his own and so be­gan vis­it­ing the Mugg & Bean in East Lon­don where he would sit, drink cof­fee with a friend and start col­lect­ing a database of con­trac­tors, send­ing them SMSes with in­for­ma­tion about avail­able ten­ders.

He said the long walks to Mugg & Bean helped him think thor­oughly about his busi­ness.

Ma­zomba said af­ter three years of not work­ing, he ap­proached a con­trac­tor in Cala, Whit­tle­sea – through his SMS set-up – with in­for­ma­tion on a huge ten­der.

The con­trac­tor loved his idea and, in re­turn, Ma­zomba made a sub­stan­tial amount of money out of the deal.

He said the deal helped him win the Pitch and Pol­ish com­pe­ti­tion in 2014.

“I un­der­stood my busi­ness so well and that also had an im­pact in [terms of] its suc­cess,” Ma­zomba said.

He said he out­sourced ten­ders to emerg­ing con­struc­tion com­pa­nies and helped them with any in­for­ma­tion they needed re­gard­ing par­tic­u­lar busi­nesses.

He said that read­ing busi­ness books also helped him and he en­cour­aged those who have an in­ter­est in start­ing a busi­ness to read lots of busi­ness pub­li­ca­tions.

“Ev­ery­one wants to be an en­tre­pre­neur. You can be a pain­ter and know how to paint but it’s a dif­fer­ent story to run a paint­ing busi­ness,” Ma­zomba said.

“There is a lot of ad­min­is­tra­tion in­volved.”

Ma­zomba also en­cour­aged those present at the event to make use of YouTube tu­to­rial videos on how to be a suc­cess­ful en­tre­pre­neur and urged them not to fo­cus on money, but rather on pas­sion.

“Be­ing driven by money will bring prob­lems but rather fo­cus on help­ing out the com­mu­nity,” he said.

Aside from work­ing at Ten­derPoint, Ma­zomba said he was a very ac­tive sup­porter of the creative econ­omy, es­pe­cially when it came to mu­sic, de­sign and fash­ion.

Siphosethu Mfabe, 35, from Lor­raine, said the event was ex­cit­ing and in­for­ma­tive.

“It’s al­ways nice to know about the story be­hind en­trepreneurs be­cause we al­ways hear about the end prod­uct,” she said.

Mafabe said that shar­ing the ups and downs of start­ing a busi­ness was help­ful, es­pe­cially for those who wished to do so.

Jer­maine Charles, di­rec­tor of The Startup Grind Port El­iz­a­beth, said it would host reg­u­lar busi­ness talks to help con­nect en­trepreneurs and al­low them to net­work.

Pic­ture: EU­GENE COET­ZEE

REACH­ING OUT: Nel­son Man­dela Bay busi­ness­man Asa Ma­zomba gave a mo­ti­va­tional talk

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