‘Passion, not money, behind creating successful business’
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.
REACHING OUT: Nelson Mandela Bay businessman Asa Mazomba gave a motivational talk