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EdgeRMS: Carel Herbst

Recently established, this information technology company is already making its mark




Karel Herbst

A key member of Blue IQ’s Innovation Hub,EdgeRMS is also the South African partner of Canadian IT giant, LeipacTechnology Inc. Amazingly, this highly successful company was started with justR10 000, and its founder, Carel Herbst, admits to having no prior training.What Herbst did have, however, was the needto succeed – a drive stronger than the will to succeed. It was this need thatpropelled Herbst’s rapid progress through the IT industry. Having started atthe bottom of the ladder as a cable technician, he worked his way up to becomea services engineer for Microsoft, overseeing multimillion-dollar implementationsin 12 different countries.

In spite of his successes, Herbst neverrelinquished his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. “I was simply waiting forthe right time. I knew I would eventually feel the need to leave my comfortzone,” he says. He was also waiting for the right opportunity – important,because he believes that entrepreneurial failures are often the result offoisting a product on an unprepared market, rather than responding to theirneeds.It was while working on a project in Bahrain thatHerbst realised his opportunity.  “ThePrince of Bahrain requested a device facilitating asset and risk management,”Herbst recalls, and that provided the grist for him to investigate personalsafety and asset risk management solutions.

Herbst developed the software for EdgeRMS’sflagship products – EdgeLogic, Asset and Risk Management Solution.In 2004, he returned to South Africa,bringing EdgeRMS with him. “In our search for reliable hardware we startedusing the S-911, a portable personal locator with a GPS tracking and GSMcommunications device, and the Starfinder Automatic Vehicle Location System,”he says, describing the company’s growth.“The return to South Africa wasn’t easy,” Herbstadds. His absence from the country meant that many of his business contacts hadmoved on, making it difficult to find an entry into the industry. What’s more,he had to work hard at building the company’s credibility, proving to scepticalpotential clients that EdgeRMS had the ability to deliver on its promises.

Finance was also a problem, and Herbstfound himself working double shifts to fund the company’s residency at TheInnovation Hub.

However, Herbst took these challenges inhis stride. “I concentrated on overcoming one problem at a time, rather thangetting overwhelmed by the enormity of the bigger picture. I also learnt thatpersistence is a very valuable tool.”Herbst drew inspiration from his mentors,optometrist Claude Matromatteo and businessman Esmond Erasmus. “I believe every entrepreneur should have a mentor – they provide excellent,objective advice.”Nevertheless, there comes a time when everybusinessman needs to follow his own heart. That’s precisely what Herbst didwhen he agreed to travel to Canadafor a half-hour meeting with Leipac. “We first made contact with the companywhen investigating potential component manufacturers. We were also eager toestablish international representation – and Leipac provided the answer.”

Herbst’s daring paid dividends – Leipacnamed EdgeRMS its international distributor in 2005, granting the company a 40%partnership just one year later.Herbst is proud of EdgeRMS’s internationallink, particularly as such relationships are strongly encouraged by TheInnovation Hub. The relationship has also enjoyed handsome financial rewards.Today, the company that was sparked by anidea on an island on the other side of the world employs eight people, withproducts focused on the GPS, location-based services, telematics and wirelesscommunication technologies areas. “Our new alliance with Leipac assures we havegreat scope for growth. We expect rapid expansion within the next months,”Herbst says.Not that he’s about to start counting hispennies just yet. “I believe that wealth creation is the result of success, notsuccess itself. What I want more than anything is to improve people’s lives.”

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.


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




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.


“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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