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At 21, Zareef Minty Works Harder Than Most

At 21, Zareef Minty is young. Very young. He’s also phenomenally busy, juggling countless responsibilities daily. Entrepreneur finds out what drives him, and how he manages his diverse duties.

Monique Verduyn




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He’s been named one of the Top 200 Young South Africans by the Mail & Guardian; he’s a former chairperson of the Black Lawyers Association Wits Branch and the Student Discipline Committee, as well as a former treasurer of the Law Students Council; he’s also a motivational speaker, owner of a clothing and talent company called SMB (self-made billionaire), author, talk-show host and general whiz kid.

Oh, and he was also the national youth president of the Patriotic Alliance (PA). Meet Zareef Minty (21), a final-year law student who has done more in his young life than most people three times his age would ever dream of. We asked Minty what drives him and how he manages to do it all.

Related: David Perel Of Obox On Chasing Multiple Dream

1. Manage your time efficiently

I have an electronic diary and I use it. It’s always up to date because I refuse to be late for anything. I never miss a deadline either. I may be a student now, but I know that I’m unlikely to succeed in business in the future if I don’t deliver on time.

2. Prioritise

Don’t say ‘yes’ to everything. Choose what is important in your life. What are the actions and commitments that will enable your vision to become reality? When you know what they are, take steps every day to move yourself closer to your goals.

3. Choose to make a positive impact on the world

I was 12 when I spotted someone begging for money on the side of the road. I knew that I never wanted to be in that position, so at 16 I started a clothing brand. I’ve always been a great networker and I contacted celebrities like Kenny Kunene, Nicky van der Walt and Lee-Ann Liebenberg to introduce the brand to them. They started wearing my gear and promoted it in a way I could not have done.

4. Do things differently


I spent two years working on my book, Empire, which aims to help young people become financially savvy and adept at self-branding so that they can reach their full potential.

Then I discovered that monopoly publishers and distributors were going to claim 70% of the profits from the book sales. I followed the example of DJ Sbu — I self-published, and I sell the book through my own distribution channels on social media.

I also sell it through Exclusive Books, since I achieved a better deal. The book has sold more than 9 000 copies, making it a South African bestseller.

Related: How AutoTrader Anticipated Change

5. Learn to network

I have spoken to many students in poor areas around the country and I was shocked to discover how few know anything about the concept of networking. This places them at a terrible disadvantage.

It’s something that successful people do from an early age, and I would like to see young South Africans being taught the value of making connections with people.

From when I was very young, I believed that whatever you want to became, you have to attract it to yourself. I got close to people I admired and asked them to mentor me.

6. Get an education

That’s the most important thing for every young person in this country. I know I will diversify in my career, but I have the safety net of a law degree for the rest of my life. To cease being job seekers and rather become job makers, we need to be educated. That is the key to moving South Africa forward.

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.


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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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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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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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.


“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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