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Snapshots Eric Edelstein & Eran Eyal

Entrepreneurs combine fashion and IT in an innovative business model.

Juliet Pitman



There may be doom and gloom surrounding theSouth African textile and clothing manufacturing industry, but a pair of youngentrepreneurs are proving the pessimists wrong. Through their innovative onlinecompany,, Eric Edelstein and Eran Eyal are simultaneouslyboosting the South African textile industry, giving designers much-neededexposure and a passive income stream – and making money for themselves.

Springleap’s unique business model revolvesaround an interactive website that allows aspiring designers to submit theirdesigns for t-shirts. These are available to view on the website and Springleapregistered users vote for their favourite designs online each month. Thewinning designer receives a cash prize of over R7 000, one of each of the 24t-shirts designs of that month, limited edition posters of their work, varioussponsored prizes and Springleap prints a run of t-shirts with their design onthe front and their name on the back. In addition, they earn money each timeone of their t-shirts is sold, providing them with a recurring passive incomestream. “From the designer’s point of view, all of this gives them fantasticexposure, and, because the website is interactive, the public posts comments oneach of the designs, giving the artist direct feedback on what works and whatdoesn’t,” says Eyal.

Each month, the t-shirts of winners andrunners-up (24 new designs in total) are sold through partner stores that enjoyexclusivity on the designs for a 30-day period. “Each month, a new competitionstarts and any t-shirts that have not been sold are taken back by Spring-leapand then sold to approved vendors or directly through the website itself,”explains Eyal. The beauty of the model, he adds, is that Springleap is printingdesigns that the public has specifically indicated they like. “This means wehave a captive market that has voted for designs and is then able to go outdirectly and purchase them,” he says. Garment quality has played an importantrole in the success of the business and further increased the desirability ofthe t-shirts. “We only source the best South African cotton and yarn for thet-shirts, which means that we end up with a 100% South African export qualityproduct that has a unique local design on it and that people will want to buyand wear,” he explains. It also means that retail outlets that sell thet-shirts are able to move these local products off their shelves quickly.“We’re hoping all this proves that the local garment manufacturing industry issustainable and can compete with internationally imported items,” says Eyal.

He speaks from first-hand experience. Theidea for Springleap came about after Eyal and Edelstein opened up a chain offashion-and-coffee boutiques, known as E2, in Cape Town and Durban. “Some ofour stock was coming in from overseas but we battled to get good qualityt-shirts and many of the designs were not authentic. At the same time, we knewmany local artists who had some brilliant designs but of course were not ableto carry the cost of manufacturing a range of t-shirts themselves,” heexplains. Because the industry works on a consignment basis, a healthy cashflow, wide range of designs and deep print run is needed to create asustainable t-shirt manufacturing business. Eyal continues: “It’s clearly notviable for a struggling individual artist but we realised that we could createa platform that would allow us to access great designs, sell high qualityt-shirts that the public had said they wanted to buy, give exposure and incometo the artists and boost a flagging local garment industry. It’s a win-winsituation all round!” They knew that the key to the success ofthe venture would lie in being able to channel traffic through the website.Fortunately, Edelstein is an old hand at internet and search engineoptimisation (SEO) marketing. Eyal explains: “We got people’s online socialnetworks, Facebook and blogs involved. We also leveraged the database that we’dbuilt up through E2 as this was the market that would be interested in buyingthe t-shirts.”

The pair used some interesting guerrillamarketing tactics, as Eyal outlines: “Eric ran an online competition to findthe King of SEO and offered a prize to anyone who could knock Springleap to thetop of Google on a particular day at a particular time. People started writingabout Springleap on their blogs and some people even opened websites dedicatedentirely to what Springleap was all about.” Needless to say, word got around,designers started submitting designs and the public started voting. “In thefirst month the site was only up for half of the month and we had 67 designssubmitted. From there it’s just grown each month,” he says. The fact that the public buys and wears thet-shirts plays no small part in increasing Springleap’s exposure exponentiallyas well. This, coupled with the international exposure made possible by theinternet has led to some exciting opportunities. “We’ve been approached by aHollywood film company that’s interested in putting actors in our t-shirtson-set. Its early days still but it would be incredibly exciting if it cameoff,” says Eyal. Contact: +27 82 717 3802; +27 82 926 5747;

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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