Growing up in a small village in the North West Province called Jericho, Andrew was left with the responsibility of being the man of the house at the age of ten after his father passed away.
This left him and his mother without a source of income, forcing Andrew to find a way to make ends meet. “I was ten years old, and we needed money. So I started a small tuck shop business at my primary school. I told my mom: ‘you make the food, I’ll sell it at school.’ Little did I realise that this was where my passion for business would begin,” says Andrew.
It wasn’t long until Andrew’s tuck shop business started to thrive, not only paying for his school fees but taking care of his own household as well. Andrew continued growing his little business through to high school, making his way to matric on an entrepreneurial spirit and the will to succeed. When it came time for tertiary education, Andrew’s mother sent him to study Mechanical Engineering at Vaal University of Technology.
As a driven young man, Andrew quickly secured his first job at BMW as a Quality Trainee and then was sent to Germany to study Quality Management. Eventually he ended up at Anglo American Platinum as a quality coordinator. Spending seven years at the company, not a year passed by without Andrew receiving some sort of promotion, not only because of his input, but because he simply loved what he did. Eventually, he left the company as a Principle Quality Manager.
It wasn’t long before Andrew’s love of business started to take over and he was itching to become more – to do more. This is when DEI Projects and Zimele stepped in to help.
FINDING SUCCESS WITH ZIMELE
DEI was started by a man called Neville Milller in 1990. It was a typical family business and although it had been running successfully for over two decades, growth was limited. But Andrew saw the potential.
“I met Neville when I was working at Platinum, and we got to talking. I believed Zimele was a good way forward to fund and grow the business, so we started to put a business plan together,” says Andrew.
Drawing up the business plan and DD files of DEI Projects helped Neville and Andrew more clearly understand the way forward. It was the Sebenza Fund that helped out with this new direction.
“I don’t see Zimele as a funder, I see them as my partner,” says Andrew. “I can approach the people at Zimele any time and ask their advice. They know my company inside and out, making relevant suggestions to help us grow”.
“I want to thank them for helping build the success stories in our communities by giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to start their businesses. Because of them, we are well on the path to reaching our dreams.”
A LESSON IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Andrew believes in the power entrepreneurs hold in strengthening this nation. His advice to any and all looking to build their dreams is to first identify their strengths and weaknesses.
“There are so many good businesses out there where you find that the owner might be a great engineer but a poor businessman or vice versa. You need to build on your strengths and get the resources in to compliment your weaknesses. This is the only way a business can truly reach its full potential – when the right people are doing the right jobs.”
When it comes to entrepreneurs looking for funding through Zimele, his advice is to find a Zimele Hub nearby, which can be found across the country, and build a sustainable and viable business plan. “Take your business plan to them and let them help you. They are there to help and if you don’t believe they can, just remember me, my dreams, and my success,” concludes Andrew.