- Contact: +27 21 887 4448
- Visit: https://thealeitgroup.com/
If you have been anywhere in the vicinity of a bride lately (or better still, her father) the entrepreneur in you may have reached the same conclusion that Aleit Swanepoel did – weddings are big business. The wedding coordination industry has experienced a boom in the past few years but Swanepoel’s company, The Aleit Group, has been a pioneer from the word go.
Swanepoel took a circuitous route to the wedding industry, working in hospitality as a restaurant and conference centre manager at Oude Libertas, and then as the national functions and events manager for Distell, South Africa’s largest wine company. This experience honed his organising skills.
“I realised I was organising people’s weddings at the venues I worked at, free of charge really. In 2001 I must have co-ordinated in the region of 250 weddings,” he recalls.
It was something he enjoyed and was exceptionally good at so starting his own business was a natural course to follow.“The company I was working for was wonderful, allowing me to coordinate weddings in my spare time as long as it didn’t interfere with my formal job. My goal was to get 20 weddings and then resign to start my own business, but after three months of working till four in the morning on two jobs, I eventually started with 18 weddings in the bag,” he says of his early days.
The hard work was worthwhile as doing two jobs meant he could finance the growing business with his salary. “In the beginning, there wasn’t a great deal to finance. I needed a kick-ass website and then I’d subcontract service providers,” he says, adding, “By the time we needed things like offices later on, the business was able to carry itself.”
When Aleit was formed in 2002, the South African market was not much in the habit of using wedding planners, which makes his foresight in starting the company even more remarkable. But the size of the local market was largely irrelevant; what Swanepoel saw was a niche in the lucrative international visitor market and that’s where he set his sights.
“South Africa was voted as the number one international wedding destination in the world for UK couples,” he points out, adding that 60% of Aleit Group’s clients are international.
This is where that “kick-ass website” comes in. Marketing your services to people in another country is difficult at the best of times, but it becomes doubly so when you’re trying to persuade them to trust you with what is probably one of the most important days of their lives. The Aleit website is slick and professional, conveying just the right blend of style, personality and attention to detail that epitomises the high standards set by Swanepoel.
He points to media as another important tool in establishing the company as a high-profile player. “Then of course, there’s word of mouth,”he adds, “If people have a great experience at a wedding we coordinate, they will tell at least three other people, and these referrals help to build the business.”
In five years, the company has grown and diversified into five service arms, drawing cleverly on cross-selling opportunities. Aleit Wedding Coordination is the core business while the Aleit Collection encompasses 10 exclusive weddings a year, personally arranged by Swanepoel himself. The Aleit Shop is a virtual shop that specialises in wedding gifts. Aleit Music and Entertainment provides live music and DJ services to all types of events and Aleit Event Projects serves the corporate sector.
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This growth has not been without challenges. “It’s always a challenge to get the right people to share the vision and excitement,” says Swanepoel. He hand-picks staff very carefully and engages them in constant training. Emails are copied to all staff so that an informed back-up person is available if something should happen to a coordinator. Differentiating the company in such a competitive market also requires faultless service.
“We get clients very involved in the process and match choices to their personalities very carefully. Attention to detail is everything. And clients don’t just get one coordinator, they get a team that stays right to the end of the wedding,” he explains. It’s a formula that proves that while not every marriage is made in heaven, there’s no reason why every wedding shouldn’t be.
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.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mergeconnect/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mergeconnect/
- Website: http://www.mergeconnect.co/
- Email: Hello@mergeconnect.co
- Number: 072 458 2182
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.
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.
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.
Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps
Live free of the opinion of other, but always in service, is one of the key principles Pat Pillai lives by.
Pat Pillai, is a social entrepreneur who after being a national news anchor for 15 years, is founder and CEO of LifeCo UnLtd SA, which invests in impact entrepreneurs and impact enterprises. LifeCo UnLtd SA has benefited over 112 000 beneficiaries in SA (5000 are young entrepreneurs; 124 are established adult entrepreneurs, of those 76 are impact/social entrepreneurs).
How Mark van Diggelen Pivoted To Create A Global Gaming Platform
“The day you stop getting enquiries about your product, you’re know you’re on the wrong track,” says Mark van Diggelen, CEO of GameZBoost.
Mark van Diggelen is the CEO of GameZBoost, they created a white label mobile gaming platform that is currently deployed in 45 countries around the world. In addition, Mark’s mobile gaming tournaments have taken the industry by storm.
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