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Most people have never heard of Kuruman — a small dusty town of 13,000 people in the Northern Cape — where Tshepang Peme runs tech startup DigiTicket SA. Now the ticketing platform is spreading its wings after landing a deal with retailer PEP stores and Ackermans.
“Customers will be able to buy tickets by walking into any PEP and Ackermans store, pay for their tickets and the customer will receive their tickets within 24 hours after the purchase in the form of an email, MMS or SMS,” says Peme, 29.
The deal, which the startup landed in April, has allowed DigiTicket to roll out its ticketing offering in all PEP’s 1 800 stores across the country.
‘I don’t know if it’s luck or what’
Presently the platform allows users to buy tickets for events, do travel booking, and to book restaurant tables and guesthouse accommodation in Kuruman.
Peme says he first approached the retail group in November last year with the proposal in a bid to expand his digital business. “I don’t know if it’s luck or what,” he adds.
He decided to approach the retailer because a number of customers were sceptical of making online payments, even though his site uses local company Pay Fast for secure payments.
Peme worked in a mine, as a vegetable seller and in the civil engineering sector before starting the platform early last year.
Since opening its doors early in 2016, the DigiTicket SA platform, has serviced about 30 events and three accommodation venues in Kuruman and neighbouring towns.
“The idea is mainly to offer convenience, as people don’t like waiting,” he says on why he started the business. He currently has three employees.
He says while the site “is growing well” this has mainly been thanks to the demand for the startup’s events ticketing services, rather than for accommodation or travel bookings.
Peme was approached in January to be part of the New Economy Accelerator, after an official from the programme spotted an article featuring him in a local newspaper.
He says he has received valuable assistance through monthly visits by a mentor from the programme, including help to improve his website and tips on how to expand his business.
One challenge he says it trying to source local talent (he presently relies on a developer based in Johannesburg). A mentor from the accelerator has advised him to look to hire more team members from outside of Kuruman, so that he can expand his business nationally.