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A young entrepreneur is taking a Pretoria township by storm with a convenience store opened after he won a “Shark Tank”-style competition presented by the Regent Business School.
Tshepo Maapi is the owner of Tawkkul, a store in Winterveld, a suburb of Mabopane in Tshwane. The store is located within a mosque compound and en-route to four schools, making it a popular option for shoppers.
Initially, Maapi and his team won the Regent competition with their plan to open an egg and chicken farm. However, given that the prize money of R60 000 (about $3 500) was not enough to kick-start their poultry dreams, they soon pivoted towards a more realistic business idea.
Setting up the convenience store was also a lot easier after they implemented some of the learnings made during their year-long study at Regent, acclaimed for its business, finance and management programmes.
This competition was initiated by Hoosen Essof, manager at redHUB, a specialised unit of Regent that focuses on entrepreneurship, which amongst other things aims to equip students with 21st century employability skills.
Essof said Regent Business School facilitated funding of R60 000 through the help of South African National Zakáh Fund (SANZAF), a non-profit organisation in Durban who also sponsored the students studies at the institution.
“I have also helped the students identify suitable premises, negotiate with the landlord, link them with potential suppliers and advise them on structuring their work (shifts) and business skills (daily record keeping),” he said.
Maapi said Samukeliso Mncubeshe, a Regent entrepreneurship lecturer, helped with all the business planning.
“From social media marketing to website design, Regent Business School went over and beyond educating me on the fundamentals in modern day business especially when starting a new brand in the market.
“Mr Essof even helped in getting us placed at a large wholesaler in Tshwane, Advance Cash and Carry, so that we could learn the ins and outs of running a shop. That was a great learning for us as the majority of their customers run township based spazas and supermarkets. In fact Regent Business School’s support till this very moment has been overwhelming. Words cannot express how grateful I am.”
Maapi added that Winterveld is one of the more impoverished and underprivileged communities in Gauteng. Therefore, he is taking a “convenience store” approach by not targeting monthly grocery shoppers, but every-day customers.
Having just started trading, Maapi said he is slowly but surely discovering what his customers need and will adjust his stock accordingly. And he still holds on to the dream of starting his very own poultry farm in the future.