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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton

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20. GoMetro A Commuter-Driven Mobile App

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GoMetro already has more than 120 000 monthly active users interacting, collecting, and sharing information on public transport routes and delays.

This innovative platform links to a data manager and planning tool that generates maps and graphs in real time from data collected via the app. “Transport planners and software developers can use the service to track any form of transport, from walking to minibus taxis and buses,” says Justin Coetzee, Founder of GoMetro.

“This platform allows planners and developers to calculate things such as the revenue a vehicle makes on certain routes, to things like what the actual routes are that vehicles opt to take,” says Coetzee.

Bus companies can also use the app and platform to conduct inspections of their fleets in real-time, where the app can detect whether a bus is on route or not.

Related: The Definitive List Of South African Business Incubators For Start-Ups

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Nicole Crampton is an online writer for Entrepreneur Magazine. She has studied a BA Journalism at Monash South Africa. Nicole has also completed several courses in writing and online marketing.

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Ian Fuhr Explains Why He Likes To Launch Businesses In Unfamiliar Industries And How He Made Sorbet A Success

Ian Fuhr, a serial entrepreneur is not scared of opening businesses in industries he knows nothing about.

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We interview entrepreneur Ian Fuhr, who founded the Sorbet Group in 2005 which has now grown to over 200 stores in South Africa with stores in the UK. Ian is a serial entrepreneur who has launched many successful companies in industries he knew very little about.

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How Pepe Marais Went From Bankruptcy To Founding Joe Public And Becoming An Entrepreneurial Success

After being bankrupt in 2009 Pepe, along with his partners, turned their business around to being one of the best advertising agencies in South Africa.

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We interview entrepreneur Pepe Marais, who co-founded Joe Public, one of the biggest independently owned advertising agencies in South Africa. After being bankrupt in 2009 Pepe found his life’s purpose and not only turned his business around, but his entire life. It’s all documented in his booked titled Growing Greatness, which is a must read.

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Eustace Mashimbye Shares His Insights On Exporting Your Goods

Nadine Todd

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What sectors are best for South Africans exporting to other markets?

Almost any sector can compete in international markets, certainly on quality and often in technical innovation, but it’s always important for companies to do their homework first on prevailing conditions, competitive products, prices, import duties and so on in the country they have identified for export before they rush in.

How do local manufacturers benefit from exporting their goods?

An international profile is always a good thing for any company and for the country. We love seeing Made in SA products on shelves and in industrial applications overseas. Obviously, the opportunity to earn in hard currency — exchange fluctuations notwithstanding, is another benefit. The more diversified your markets, the better placed any company is if any one market should take a dip, so spreading the markets in which you are operating and selling is another.

Related: How To Leverage Partnerships, Industry Associations & Endorsements

What are the potential dangers business owners should be aware of if they’re interested in exporting their goods?

There is always the danger that without proper ground work, it can be an expensive exercise if the export project fails. Local agents, distributors and third parties can also prove difficult and expensive, so it’s important to source reliable local representation, if you need it. Translation of all packaging to the local language can be expensive and adherence to different local norms and standards must always be adhered to, and could push up the price of your product if you pass these costs on to the customer. Sales and after-sales service is something that also needs to be managed well.

What government-funded programmes are available to assist entrepreneurs access new markets?

There are a number of programmes of the dti, including Trade & Investment South Africa and the Export Marketing & Investment Assistance Scheme (EMIA). South African embassies around the world have trade attachés who are there to help and are a critical point of contact for any exporter.

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