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Nic Socks: Nic Haralambous

Having co-founded and sold mobile social network builder, Motribe, Nic Haralambous is focusing on the foundations of style.

Monique Verduyn

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Building an asset of value

In September last year, Africa’s largest mobile messaging platform and social network, Mxit, acquired Cape Town-based mobile community start-up Motribe, founded two years ago by Nic Haralambous and Vincent Maher. Motribe had been working with Mxit on various applications for the past year, and part of Motribe’s appeal was its ability to build compelling apps that users love.

An inspiring tale

It’s a great story that should provide motivation for other local start-ups, says serial entrepreneur Haralambous, who – with the profitable deal under his belt – has since gone on to launch a truly niche, delightful online store called Nic Socks which sells, you guessed it, a range of crazy colourful socks much like the ones he is known for wearing.

“Style starts with a decision,” says the website. Shoppers are advised “to consider every detail, and to entrust the big picture’s success to the smart, small decisions that get you there, starting with your socks.”

Proving a point

The socks are locally sourced, designed and manufactured. They’re made of silky, durable bamboo and each design is limited to a few hundred.

“I got tired of paying a fortune for imported socks and I knew we could do it cheaper and better locally, which is why I started the business. But I also set myself a goal. I wanted to see if I really had entrepreneurial chops, so I gave myself two months to build and launch an online business.”

Just get started

True to form, Haralambous did it in six weeks. He spent a grand total of R5 000 on designing, manufacturing and stocking the first batch of socks. He sold 800 pairs in ten days at R99 a pair.

“I wanted to shut up the people who say it’s too difficult to start a business in South Africa,” he says.

Online’s time has come

Haralambous’s goal is to up sales to 3 000 pairs of socks a month, and once he has a captive audience, to start branching out into matching outfits.

He cites Yuppie Chef’s Paul Galatsis as his e-commerce guru. “He says that if you have a niche product and you are able to get into e-commerce now, you will learn and grow with the market which is really taking off.”

With men’s fashion one of the fastest growing online e-commerce spaces globally, he’s undoubtedly on a sure footing.

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+.

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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.

CEOwise

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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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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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