13 February 2018: Since the dawn of the digital age, the ability to constantly evolve along with the ever-changing technology landscape can be the difference between success and failure for any entrepreneur.
Bongumusa Sono, Co-Founder and OD-Operations Director of CABE Designs, said that many of the challenges he faced when he started his company in Durban in November 2010, was at a result of having the essential start-up knowledge he needed.
“I had to learn everything the hard way. For example, at the time I never knew that certain lending institutions offer up to R100 000 in loans for start-ups without a credit record. By the time I realised, it was too late and the offer expired. Things like this can really make a difference when you are starting out,” says Sono.
Constant personal development has been crucial for Sono’s success. His company, CABE Designs, specialises in professional website designs, digital marketing. “You have to keep up to date with all the developments in the industry. It is crucial that we provide our clients with state-of-the-art services to ensure they have the best marketing tools at their disposal. Having a business without marketing is like shooting in the dark - it will never work and therefore, we ensure our clients are noticed,” explains Sono.
He further explains that self-development has been crucial for him. “Your business will not be able to grow beyond what your brain can’t fathom. So I made it a point to start reading business and related books, and learning from my experiences. It helped me to deal with the constant technological changes that come with specialising in the ICT industry,” he says.
A high staff turnover is problematic at the beginning stages of any organisation. “One of our employees told me a day before we re-opened in the new year that they found a new job. I was devastated - I was forced to fill the gap that was left by the employee, and this kept me from doing what was most needed to grow my company even further,” he says.
Sono believes that organisations such as The Innovator Trust play an integral part in adequately preparing young entrepreneurs to face the daily challenges that come with being an ICT entrepreneur in South Africa.
“It is essential that more workshops or platforms are created where entrepreneurs are taught the basics of starting their own company. The Innovator Trust has helped me to make a success of my company and without this knowledge, I would have struggled, especially within the current economy,” explains Sono.
Tashline Jooste, Chief Executive Officer of the Innovator Trust, believes that more is needed to be done to better equip young entrepreneurs to make a success of their ventures. “Not only do we provide Sono and other like-minded entrepreneurs with the technical support to adopt new technologies to constantly develop their businesses, but we primarily provide entrepreneurs with the business support programmes needed to flourish. Nobody knows their products like the entrepreneurs do, however, we often find that entrepreneurs are not aware of business basics,” explains Jooste.
“Through the programmes we have implemented, we are assisting entrepreneurs with basic business skills. This allows black-owned SMMEs in the ICT sector such as CABE Designs to reach success,” she says.
The Innovator Trust was established in 2014 through Vodacom to nurture and grow SMMEs into sustainable businesses, through training programmes and networking opportunities. In doing so, The Innovator Trust has successfully incubated 67 SMMEs in 2017 including Alumni.