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Xanita: James Beattie

An innovative eco-friendly board hits the big time in the sustainable business market.

Juliet Pitman

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James Beattie of Xanita

As global pressure mounts on corporates andindustry to reduce their carbon footprint in the face of global warmingconcerns, companies across the world are going to have to start findingalternative, sustainable and eco-friendly solutions to the way they conductbusiness across a range of different spheres. The suppliers who can provide themwith such solutions will be the ones bringing home the future bacon. Just askJames Beattie, CEO of Xanita, a local company with global clout, thanks to thedevelopment of a highly versatile, completely recyclable eco-friendly type ofboard.

The principal product, known as X-Board, isa kraft-based composite board sandwiched between two outer layers of laminate.In cross-section, the value added product mirrors the inside of a beehive.Although X-Board is available in various thicknesses, it is exceptionallylight, yet strong – giving it outstanding marketing edge over conventionalproducts such as particle or plasterboard. And most importantly, it’s eco-friendly.”Kraft board is essentially made from 98% recycled paper that, in our case,Mondi Recycling collects and repulps. It contains no plastics or PVCs,”explains Beattie. Similar products use polyethylene which repulpers rejectbecause it contaminates their paper stream. “We’ve stayed away frompolyethylene and this has given us a huge advantage.”

While South African companies (with a fewnotable exceptions such as Woolworths) have been slower to recognise theimportance of such eco-friendly products, Beattie and his team believe that thelocal market will eventually get there. In the meantime, they have bigger fishto fry. “We’ve just got a really big break in the UK. CBS Outdoor, whichhandles advertising on the famous London busses, the London Underground,Docklands’ Light Railway and the Tram, are moving away from PVC and plasticadvertising signage to our paper-based Mondi Xtreme board,” he says. A Dutchand a French company made the shortlist of three for the contract, which wasawarded to Xanita on the strength of its eco-friendly offering. Getting such an innovative product tomarket was not all plain sailing. “The biggest challenge was building amanufacturing process that had never been built before. There was no textbookor trade show we could go to and buy something off the shelf. We had toengineer everything ourselves and the engineers kept reminding us that therewas no guarantee it would work. It took nine months longer than expected to getright, but we now have a world-class product.”

The set-up process for such a globaloperation has also been far from cheap, but Beattie is proud of the fact thatthe business is still private and management-owned. “We intend to stay thatway. There were two initial rounds of seed capital, 81% of which was providedby company managers and 19% of which came from angel investors who liked theidea.” As the business has grown, demand forXanita’s products has come from unexpected quarters. “We’re sending manycontainers a month to Australia where the product is used in the furnitureindustry and boat-builders in Cape Town use our core in the manufacture of catamarans.We didn’t see either of these markets initially but the product is soversatile. There is also a massive opportunity in the construction industry,”says Beattie. “We don’t really know where the end-game is right now but we’reextremely happy to be playing!” Contact: +27 21 852 0606; www.xanita.com

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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How Nic Haralambous Launched His 6 Year In The Making, Overnight Success

Nic Haralambous launched 8 failing businesses. He used the lessons learnt from that failure to ensure the success of his new business Nic Harry.

CEOwise

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Nic Haralambous, the founder and CEO of Nic Harry who started off selling bamboo socks online and now has brick and mortar stores with a larger product range around the country. Nic has also written a book titled Do. Fail. Learn. Repeat. which is a brutally honest look at entrepreneurship and follows Nic’s entrepreneurial journey. Learn from his failures and how he used them as the foundation of his success.

Related: (Podcast) Speak More Honestly

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Vuyo Tofile Of EntBanc Group Talks About Finding Solutions And Partnering To Offer The Most Value

Vuyo Tofile offers his advice on how to know if you’re ready to scale and how to get it right the first time.

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Vuyo Tofile, CEO of EntBanc Group (Pty) Ltd, which is a privately held enterprise and financial technology group. They empower small businesses with the right tools including products such as mySMEtools, which is used by over 46 000 small businesses. Learn about partnering for success, develop tools and resources that your customer base needs, and how can you scale?

Related: Do You Have That 1 In 100 Business That Can Scale And Land An Investor?

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Eben Uys Shares His Concept Behind Mad Giant Brewery And How You Can Make Your Business Stand Out In A Crowd

“You just need to start” says Eben Uys, don’t make up excuses why you aren’t ready. Just start.

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Eben Uys, Co-founder and CEO of Mad Giant, a Brewery in the heart of Johannesburg, South Africa. Eben brings new life to craft beer and has made his brewery and restaurant Urbanologi, a destination hub. His advice: “You can do things that give you short-term gains, but it might not benefit you in the long term. Try a lot of things over a long period of time and build a reputation and a network.”

Related: 10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing

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