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ProVantage Media-Jacques du Preez

A media entrepreneur looks to new markets to establish a multi-million rand success story.

Juliet Pitman

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Jacques du Preez

Jacques du Preez  describes the early, start-up days of ProVantage Media’s history as ‘the billy goat stage’. “You do what you need to, eating anything that comes your way in order to survive, but all the while you’re looking up the cliff for the next opportunity that will take you up a level.”

Looking up the cliff paid off. The company was started from a room in Du Preez’s house seven short years ago; today it’s a R150 million organisation. ProVantage’s story proves just how important vision is to growth. When he started the company, Du Preez might have been taking on whatever work he could get, but he always knew what he wanted to create: “A media business that looks at what’s out there and then offers something better.”

Tracking growth

Today, Du Preez says ProVantage prides itself on being a flexible activation and media company that develops media solutions that translate into sales. The company has five divisions – brand activation, transit media, events, tavern media and outdoor – each of which delivers media messaging directly to specific consumer groups.

“The business has grown by listening to clients’ unique needs and then developing things to meet those. Our approach was never to sell a pre-defined suite of services,” he explains. Once a need is identified, however, the company grows it aggressively.

Du Preez reports that ProVantage is among the biggest mall activation companies in the country. “We offered the first in-taxi television system in the country, our tavern media division has 17 different brands in around 600 taverns and our events division has conceptualised and executed three world records,” he says.

Scope to grow

What really gets Du Preez excited though is the sheer scope of the market in which  ProVantage operates. He rattles off some impressive stats: four million South Africans travel in taxis every day; 30 million consumers visit the top 60 malls across the country; 55% of the South African population lives in townships, where the taverns are situated.

“And the marketing landscape is changing right in front of our eyes. Never again will we see such opportunities, particularly for entrepreneurs. How could one not get excited by all of it?” he enthuses.

In 2009, a year in which marketing companies around the world struggled to stay afloat, du Preez reports that ProVantage enjoyed its best year ever. “Of course we were nervous and realised we’d have to work harder and come up with better ideas, but our clients look for maximum return on investment and I think what we offer delivers that,” he says.

He also points out that ProVantage offers an integrated approach: “Companies can come to us for the full range of media platforms, instead of having to deal with a different outdoor, events, brand activation or transit company.”

Overcoming challenges

But in spite of its considerable successes, ProVantage has faced its fair share of challenges. Phenomenal growth is all very well but it’s easy in the midst of it to lose focus. “We’re aware of that risk, which is why we introduced product managers.

Their job is to keep the edge sharp on the division they operate, so that we don’t get outshone at any point by competitors who might just focus on one of our areas,” Du Preez says. Another challenge has been  numerous opportunities but limited resources.

“It’s always an ongoing challenge to find the right people and we look for like-minded individuals who are the best in the industry,” he explains. Retaining those people means investing in them and Du Preez is big on development, something to which his former PA, now a company shareholder, can attest. He established the ProVantage Academy, an internal training centre that offers a range of work and life-skills related training.

Further afield

At just 38, Du Preez has established a company of which many lifetime entrepreneurs would be proud, but he has no intention of slowing down. “We want to drive an African expansion aggressively and explore other emerging markets, which is where our strength lies,” he says of the company’s five-year plan. True to form, he’s not letting grass grow under his feet. “Roll up your sleeves and get busy,” he says, “The time is now.”

ProVantage Media
Player: Jacques du Preez
Est. 2003
Contact
0861 776 826
www.provantage.co.za

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton

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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton

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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton

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Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
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