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Stor-Age: Steven Horton, Gavin Lucas, Stephen Lucas

Providing people with access to their stuff in a clean and secure space is good business.

Monique Verduyn




Gavin Lucas was 24 and completing his accounting articles when he and his dad Les Lucas decided to start a self-storage business in Cape Town. “In between working for KPMG and studying for my board exams, I would wake up at 5:30am, have planning meetings with my dad at 6:15am, and then head off to work.

I would duck out of the office during the day to have meetings with council officials, lawyers, bankers and our professional team. At night, I would start working on the business again. When I let a few of my colleagues know that we had been planning a 7 500m2 property development and that we had already made the bank’s required pre-sales and obtained planning consent, they didn’t believe me.”

Learn to differentiate

Stor-Age provides short-term space for domestic and commercial customers on a flexible lease basis. Lucas says the business sets itself apart from other self-storage companies through the quality of its convenient locations, its purpose-built storage centres, and the best service offering in the industry.

“Our staff are trained to sell space and to give customers a positive experience. Storing goods is usually something people do because of a life changing event like death, divorce, moving or renovating, or because their business has a need. We ensure that they have a light, bright, clean and secure space,“ Lucas says.

Dedication is key

Lucas’s commitment has been rewarded. Stor-Age is growing fast in South Africa and the world. After starting the business with a loan of R1 million in 2006, the company has a property portfolio of more than R750 million, which is expected to grow to R1 billion within the next year. Having started with four stores, Lucas aims to have 20 in operation by the end of 2013.

Know what matters

He says he has learnt a few key things. “Being able to communicate clearly is critically important. You must be able to set out clearly what the business is aiming to achieve and communicate it to the entire organisation at all levels. This becomes a challenge as the business grows.”

He says success is not all about money. “To be truly successful, you need to be able to motivate staff to become passionate about what the business is doing. The market will reward this handsomely. I also believe in employing people who are smarter and have more experience than me in specific areas. This can unlock tremendous value. In this country there are large numbers of people who have retired early. Many of them would love to sink their teeth into SMEs. They’ve certainly proved to be a great addition to our team.”

Vital stats

Company: Stor-Age

Players: Steven Horton, Gavin Lucas, Stephen Lucas

Est: 2006

Contact: 0861 181 818,

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+.


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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