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(Watch) Franchising Refuelled: The Road To Tshepo Maboa And Andrew Sehata’s Partnership

Tshepo Maboa and Andrew Sehata have gone from an independent business owner and petrol attendant respectively, to running two successful fuel retailer franchises in Pretoria. Eight years later, their partnership is growing strong — both within their businesses and with their banking partner.

Nedbank Franchising

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Watch this video on Tshepo Baboa and Andrew Sehata, Engen Fuel Retailers

Vital Stats

  • Tshepo Maboa and Andrew Sehata
  • Franchisees since: 2009

What made you decide to become franchisees?

Tshepo: I found it difficult to run a business from scratch having attempted to keep a laundromat and pub, among others, afloat before joining a franchise. I had all the business knowledge I needed to grow the businesses, but found myself lacking in terms of systems required to drive the business, and I learnt the hard way that it can be a dangerous combination.

Andrew: I used to be an employee at a fuel retailer franchise and my dream was always to be my own boss. By owning a franchise I knew I’d be able to create a steady income and help those in need of employment, as our country is facing an unemployment challenge.

How did you secure your first, and subsequently second, franchise?

Tshepo: I attended a lot of seminars and used any information I could get my hands on. The capital required is high, especially the unencumbered funds, so when Andrew told me he needed a partner for a fuel retail franchise he had been offered, I was already looking around.

Andrew: I think my journey from being a petrol attendant helped me to get to where I am today. I already knew the franchise basics so it became much easier for me to adjust to being a franchisee.

Related: Ocean Basket’s Top Lessons Learnt From 21 Years Of Being In Business

What has been the most challenging part of your journey?

Tshepo: Raising the capital to finance the business. Our first site was small, comparatively speaking, and we had to grow to acquire a second site. Rapid growth required a capital injection to keep up with the pace of growth. For example, our second site had a very primitive design when we acquired it, and with the revamp, the whole site had to be completely knocked down and rebuilt from scratch, and we added a fast food franchise in the process. All this was a very costly exercise. 

Andrew: Money is tight all around, but more so in the township. This often makes it difficult to sell items in our area of trade. Sometimes we have robberies late at night and shoplifting is rife.

Why did you opt for a partnership?

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Tshepo: Andrew needed a partner because he didn’t have enough cash to open a franchise on his own. I didn’t either, so it made sense to join forces.

Andrew: Tshepo helped in raising the franchise fees, and as you know, two minds are better than one. That’s why we are running two sites today.

How do you run the two sites jointly?

Tshepo: We have a 50% stake in both businesses. I manage the site in the CBD, because I live in Midrand and it’s easier for me, while Andrew runs the Mamelodi site as he lives in the area.

Andrew: We have been faithful to each, and sometimes we swap the running of the sites.

Related: Pick n Pay Franchisees Share Powerful Insights Into Running a Pick n Pay Franchise

Why is it important for successful franchisees to have a strong relationship with their banking partners?

Tshepo: When we moved our banking from our previous bank, the funds needed for any upgrade were easier to acquire. Nedbank really understands the nature of our business. They have a team that specialises in fuel retail so it’s made it easy for them to ask the right questions.

Andrew: Nedbank has put some orderly daily systems in place to make it easier for someone to understand his business needs. They also provide you with a professional team of staff.

Nedbank recognises the contribution franchising makes towards growing South Africa’s economy. Nedbank Franchising is all about partnerships – a concept we pioneered in the area of business banking in South Africa. With our client-centred philosophy ‘partnering with you to grow your franchise’, Nedbank Franchising offers clients a banking partnership founded on our willingness and ability to understand your franchise and provide you with a solution-driven service. Our unique approach allows us to deliver, through a single contact point, an integrated franchising solution centred on three key principles: localised decision-making with national support, access to specialised expertise and customisation.

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Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect

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Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.

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“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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How Lexus Is Emphasising Quality And Taking Craftsmanship To New Heights

The seventh generation Lexus ES is crafted to the last millimetre and is the essence of comfort​.

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The seventh generation Lexus ES ushers in an era of performance, mirrored by design that stirs the soul. The exceptional body rigidity allows for incredible design freedom, resulting in design that has the confidence to stand out. The brave new design that is lower, wider and sleeker, giving this sedan a coupé-like silhouette.

The 2018 Lexus ES range has no space for mediocrity – every vehicle excels and provokes. The petrol ES 250 EX and hybrid ES 300H SE set a standard of excellence with unparalleled levels of sophistication, elegance and performance. The Lexus ES range places all available performance in the driver’s hands for an intimate experience. It is performance that can be heard and felt.

The new Lexus ES has a profile that is impossible to ignore. The striking signature spindle grille is a significant feature, a sculpted form that speaks of inherited architecture and meticulous craftsmanship. It is the embodiment of provocative elegance, of finesse and sophistication.

Every curve builds from the grille. Athletic headlights flow from the spindle grille, emphasising the sleek lines of the three-dimensional front-end while tracing the outline of the lowered roofline.

The Lexus Takumi craftsmen embody the quest for perfection by carefully refining design elements. Boldness is balanced with elegance, and innovative design characteristics are made possible by the new chassis platform that allows the New Generation ES to be longer, wider and more spacious than ever before, but with a sleeker and lower silhouette. The fastback roofline captures the glamour of a coupé and emphasises the low stance, while the interior roominess is all premium sedan.

Related: 10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing

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The meticulous attention to detail of the Lexus Takumi craftsmen is evident in every inch of the Lexus ES interior. In a physical manifestation of Omotenashi, the Japanese philosophy of warm hospitality where your every need is anticipated and catered for, the Lexus ES offers a personal comfort zone, an escape from the ordinary.

The ES seduces you with details such as embossed stitching on semi-aniline leather-trimmed* seating and real wood trim*. The door panels flow into the instrument console, creating a sense of spaciousness, and at the same time placing all controls of the navigation*, Multi-information and entertainment systems within your grasp, while all driving related functions, as well as those for communication, are controlled from the leather-trimmed steering wheel.

Define your own personal climate with automatic dual zone climate control. The innovative nanoe air-purifiers cleanse the air and moisturise your skin, which is why stepping out of the new Lexus ES, is just as invigorating as stepping into it.

For further individual comfort, the front seats of all ES models have adjustable lumbar support, with standard heated and ventilated seats.

At Lexus safety is of paramount importance, which is why the new Lexus ES features the most advanced passive and active safety and driver support systems available. This is the most technologically advanced Lexus ES ever, with traditional measures of comfort merged with cutting-edge technology for all-encompassing driving pleasure.

* Available on ES 300H only

Read next: 10 Dynamic Black Entrepreneurs

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Rethinking Learning In The 21st Century

The changing world of work has disrupted the three elements of the traditional ‘career’: Expertise, duration, and rewards.

Wits Plus

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Vital Stats

Traditionally the concept of a ‘career’ was considered to include three elements:

  1. A career represented our expertise, our profession, and ultimately our identity.
  2. A career was something that built over time and endured. It gave us the opportunity to progress and advance.
  3. A career gave us financial and psychological rewards. It made life meaningful and paid us enough to live well.

The changing world of work has disrupted all three elements: Expertise, duration, and rewards.

A career can now be as long as 60 years; at the same time, due to rapid advancements in technology and the changes that bring about in the workplace, skill sets can become obsolete in as little as five years.

Increasingly, companies need to rethink the way in which careers are managed and learning opportunities are delivered, and many have already begun to overhaul their career models and L&D (Learning and Development) infrastructure in line with the digital age.

Related: Your Investment In Knowledge

Employees’ learning behaviour is also changing. In the past, employees were able to obtain the skills required for their career early on and as a once-off; now, the career itself is a journey of learning, up-skilling, re-skilling and continuous reinvention to remain relevant and to thrive in the changing world of work.

Older employees who studied at a time where most of one’s learning occurred prior to entering the workplace, find themselves working alongside millennials who place greater value on learning and progression rather than on earning potential as a first priority.

Eighty-three percent of the respondents surveyed in Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends survey say their organisations are shifting to flexible, open career models that offer enriching assignments, projects, and experiences rather than a static career progression.

However, in today’s fast-paced business world, even if companies are restructuring L&D delivery, no one is going to make you engage in a strategy that is essential to your future success – continuous learning. You will have to take the initiative yourself.

Noted self-help expert W. Clement Stone, in his many writings on this topic, recommended that one spends anywhere from a half-hour to two hours a day in study and thinking time. This tireless dedication, combined with an insatiable curiosity, will equip you to excel in the future world of work. What’s more, learning new skills and knowledge can be fun!

The good news for both companies and for employees is that an explosion of high-quality content and digital delivery models offers employees ready access to continuous learning. The Wits DigitalCampus offers a range of accredited and fully online short courses to support your continuous learning.

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