Dropout now boss with brains

Sunday Tribune - - ENTREPRENE­URS -



AUNIVERSIT­Y dropout, who doesn’t en­cour­age oth­ers to fol­low his ex­am­ple, is the brains be­hind a web ser­vices com­pany, Joren Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, founded in 2013.

Ren­dani Nevhu­laudzi, 29, who dropped out of Unisa af­ter three years of study­ing IT, said he had al­ways been in­ter­ested in cre­at­ing things.

Work­ing for an em­ployer is re­stric­tive, he said, “You fol­low pro­ce­dures and you can’t re­ally cre­ate what you like.”

In­ter­viewed by Busi­ness Re­port, at his of­fices at the Soft­start Busi­ness and Tech­nol­ogy In­cu­ba­tor in Midrand, Nevhu­laudzi said he wanted to con­trib­ute to so­ci­ety and have the free­dom to cre­ate his own de­signs.

Bu­reau­cratic pro­cesses in for­mal em­ploy­ment sit­u­a­tions in­hibit cre­ative ex­pres­sion, he ex­plained. “But when you have your own busi­ness, you can evolve and cre­ate your own things. This brings me joy,” he said.

Nevhu­laudzi had a lot to say about pol­i­tics dur­ing the in­ter­view. He ar­gued that politi­cians were self­serv­ing and be­cause of this there were not many black com­pa­nies do­ing well in his sec­tor.

“I saw a gap and that is what prompted me to be part of this busi­ness,” he ex­plained.

“We want to be an ex­cel­lent com­pany that pro­vides ex­cel­lent web­sites,” he said.

In the com­ing year, Nevhu­laudzi ex­pects his com­pany to evolve into a “more in­te­grated digital agency” to suit the chang­ing needs of his clients. “We are al­ready man­ag­ing digital projects for our clients,” he said.

“We are re-brand­ing and re­ally go­ing into the digital space.”

Ser­vices of­fered by Joren Com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­clude web­site de­vel­op­ment, in­tranet de­sign and de­vel­op­ment, and web ap­pli­ca­tions. Key ser­vice ar­eas are web host­ing and sup­port.

The young en­tre­pre­neur’s clients in­clude the School of Jour­nal­ism at Wits Univer­sity, Jo­han­nes­burg City Parks, the Com­pa­nies and In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Com­mis­sion (CIPC), Dit­song Mu­se­ums of South Africa, Lovelife, Smart­start, and the South African As­so­ci­a­tion of Youth Clubs (SAAYC).

Nevhu­laudzi re­cently re­turned from Dubai, where he at­tended the Gulf In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Ex­hi­bi­tion (GI­TEX), an an­nual global con­sumer com­puter and elec­tron­ics trade show, ex­hi­bi­tion, and con­fer­ence held at the Dubai World Trade Cen­tre.

“Any tech­nol­ogy that you can think of is show­cased there,” he said. Net­work­ing was a ma­jor ob­jec­tive for Nevhu­laudzi and his team. The ex­hi­bi­tion pro­vided a plat­form to po­si­tion the com­pany and find out what was hap­pen­ing in the sec­tor.

“We want to grow our busi­ness of­fer­ings and cre­ate new part­ners in­ter­na­tion­ally. I’m par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in the In­ter­net of Things and Aug­mented Re­al­ity,” said Nevhu­laudzi.

“Our plan is to grow the busi­ness to com­pete with big busi­nesses and be­come a fully in­te­grated digital ICT com­pany.”

While he was in Dubai, Nevhu­laudzi’s of­fices were bro­ken into and all the com­pany’s com­puter equip­ment was stolen.

“Our com­pany was down for three days. They stole ev­ery­thing and I was dev­as­tated, man. I didn’t know what to do. We didn’t even have in­sur­ance for those things,” he said.

Joren Com­mu­ni­ca­tions em­ploys a team of 10, mostly young peo­ple un­der the age of 30.

“They have en­ergy and are full of cre­ativ­ity,” Nevhu­laudzi said of his team, adding that they hoped to ad­dress the prob­lem of un­em­ployed youth in the coun­try.

Nevhu­laudzi ad­mits to be­ing a univer­sity dropout but has­tens to add: “I’m a self-ed­u­cated per­son. I read a lot of busi­ness books on mar­ket­ing and en­trepreneur­ship. I can run this busi­ness from any­where in the world be­cause we have sys­tems in place that al­low for that.”

The out­spo­ken en­tre­pre­neur boasts that self-ed­u­cated peo­ple nor­mally do well in life.

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma re­port­edly taught him­self how to read and write Zulu in the bush while the other chil­dren went to school, but nev­er­the­less he speaks French, Rus­sian, Xhosa, Zulu, Por­tuguese and Swahili flu­ently.

De­vel­op­ing a thick skin and be­ing op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture are what keeps him go­ing.

Joren Com­mu­ni­ca­tions busi­ness en­tre­pre­neur Ren­dani Nevhu­laudzi with his team.

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