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Red Cap Radio: David Yapp & Marcel Sapet

Their passion for music and communication inspired this duo to set up in-store radio stations

Entrepreneur

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David Marcel

Walk into any Mr Price store, and within seconds you’ll be humming along to your favourite song. The great tunes come courtesy of Red Cap Radio, the retailer’s in-house station, which has become an inextricable part of the Mr Price brand. David Yapp and Marcel Sapet, the force behind Red Cap Radio, are driven by an intense love and passion for the medium.

Their first experience with an in-house station came in 1991, when the two managed Radio WKSP, the signature station of The Workshop, a Durban mall.

“It was a good place to start, but the station wasn’t sustainable,” says Yapp. He soon hit on an idea that had sustainability. While still working at Radio WKSP, he’d also started spinning tunes at Mr Price stores, mainly to celebrate store openings. Seeing the potential to take this further, he sent a proposal to Mr Price for an in-house station in 1993.

“I presented a couple of pages in a folder to the then operations manager, Shane van Niekerk, who in turn presented the idea to Alistair McArthur, former MD and now CEO of the Mr Price Group. After reviewing the strategy for two years, they contacted me with the news that I had one month to put together a concept,” Yapp recalls. It was a tough task, but Yapp was equal to the challenge. “For seven months, we worked out of a stockroom. Eventually, we were provided with a customised studio, and in August 1996, Red Cap Radio made its first broadcast.”

That broadcast kicked off with the song Mission Impossible – an apt choice, says Yapp. “At times, launching the station seemed like an impossible mission. We encountered all sorts of difficulties. The studio was ready for broadcast only half an hour before we went on air. We’d never worked with the equipment before, and had only 2 000 CDs with nothing backed up on computer.

It was mayhem. But the upside was that we learnt to rely on ourselves.” Yapp reveals that the strategy of Red Cap Radio – a name coined by marketing guru Neville Trickett – hasn’t changed since the early days. That’s not to say it hasn’t grown: the station is now broadcast in over 300 Mr Price clothing stores nationwide and over 150 Mr Price Home stores.

While the format in each store is standardised, stations in the Home outlets play a relaxed crossover between adult contemporary and world music, while the clothing stores have a greater mix of Top 40 hits. “Ultimately, Red Cap Radio remains a powerful communication and motivational tool,” stresses Yapp.

That goes for both Mr Price’s sales associates and customers. Indeed, the station contributes greatly to the “family feeling” that permeates the stores, with associates able to send each other on-air dedications, birthday wishes and other messages.

“The station makes associates realise they are valued. It also helps them keep in touch,” explains Yapp. “It’s an important way to ensure that our culture of dreams and beliefs is perpetuated, even in areas far from Mr Price’s headquarters.” Customers enjoy the vibey atmosphere created by Red Cap Radio. But the station is functional too, providing a platform to promote discounts and sales.

“We have a very strong team of DJs whom we trust, and the station’s success is largely thanks to them,” says Sapet. Many of SA’s leading DJs learnt the basics at Red Cap Radio. And customers have noted their talent: in a survey conducted by Bateleur Research, Red Cap Radio was ranked above all other in-house radio stations.

Every success has a challenge, and Yapp admits it’s been hard for a retail clothing business to grasp the principles of running a radio station, and vice versa.“Fortunately, the company has given us a lot of leeway to correct our mistakes, and our passion makes it easy for us to confront obstacles.”

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.

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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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