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Ngikwazi: Andre Grobler, Elaine Sampson, Jules Newton

Entrepreneurs rely on chutzpah and expertise to land National Lottery contract.

Juliet Pitman



Andre Grobler & Elaine Sampson of Ngikwazi

Sometimes success is as much about attitude and energy as itis about expertise and business experience. Ask the team at Ngikwazi. The fieldmarketing company, spearheaded by Andre Grobler, Elaine Sampson and JulesNewton, landed the contract to recruit, train, roll-out and support the nationwideretail network for national lottery operator, Gidani. It was a contract theywon on the basis of a great idea, and little else.

“At the time, the company wasn’t formed, we had no offices,no equipment, no staff, no capital just our expertise and a roll-out  model that was nimble, flexible andcost-efficient,” says Grobler. Their expertise was considerable. Grobler hadbeen responsible for the roll-out of the retail network infrastructure forfirst national lottery operator, Uthingo, while Newton and Sampson were training experts atAvocado Vision.But it was the model they proposed that really caughtGidani’s attention and set them apart from the multi-million rand organisationsthat had also tendered. Grobler explains: “We proposed that the work thatneeded to be done be divided into two streams that could be taken care of bytwo different field forces. A part-time, lower-skilled team made up of peopleliving in areas across the country would visit lottery retailers as often asnecessary to conduct simpler tasks such as putting up the relevant posters anddelivering merchandising material.”

It was a model that would save money and increaseefficiency. Because the larger team was made up of people living close to theretail operators, they didn’t need to travel far to deliver merchandise andposters, meaning Ngikwazi could keep vehicle and travel expenses right downwhile still being able to service over 8 600 lottery stores. And because thisteam was employed on a part-time basis, salary costs were kept to a minimum.Having a good idea and proving you can put it into actionare two different things, however, and Ngikwazi knew that the success of theirpitch relied heavily on being able to prove their capacity for roll-out,particularly because of their lack of established infrastructure.“We knew that all the retailers would have to be trained inthe few weeks leading up to the launch of the new lottery. If you do it anyearlier, they forget what they’ve been trained in. So before we pitched, weidentified and booked 110 training venues across the country,” explainsSampson. It was a big risk because they had no guarantee they’d be awarded thecontract, but it made a big impression. “We told Gidani that we’d have to train

30 000 people in just a few weeks, and we told them where and how it could bedone and exactly how much it would cost. Importantly, their proposed paymentmodel was designed to overcome the business’s lack of capital. “We worked thepayment structure out so that we could set up the business and roll it out, andstill be in a cash positive situation,” says Grobler. Being cash positive issomething that the company has managed to maintain. “To this day, we have nooverdraft and no debts,” says Sampson proudly.It would fall to her, a person who had never played thelottery in her life before and had no idea what a play-coupon even looked like,to develop and deliver the training material. “Gidani was going to use newmachines, which meant developing training material based on new, andever-updating software. The night before we rolled out the training, we wereupdating our material.” she recalls.And true to their tender, Ngikwazi delivered. “We trainedclose on 30 000 people from 7 600 stores across the country in just 20 days,”relates Sampson. What’s more, they did it under budget. “In the months prior tothat, we also had to identify, credit and criminal record-check, recruit andsign up all the retail operators, which meant we visited and assessed about 20000 stores in total,” adds Grobler.

But just as they were congratulating themselves on theirmammoth achievement, a legal challenge by Uthingo to the lottery selectionprocess put the entire national lottery on hold for six months. “We had to lookafter the retail network during that time, keep them engaged and interested,and then retrain them all just before the new lottery went live. So we ended updoing it twice,” says Sampson. Grobler believes it’s testament to the solidrelationship on which Ngikwazi’s partnership with Gidani is built, that theoperator kept them on and continued to pay them during the six month wait.Today, Ngikwazi supports an 8 600-strong retail network forGidani and deserves credit for the fact that the national lottery runs soeffectively every week. “I think we had the energy, the attitude and the sheerchutzpah to sell a great idea and then make it happen” Sampson concludes.Contact:

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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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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“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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