Johannesburg, the economic capital of South Africa, is a metropolis known for its long-established businesses. But in recent years, maverick entrepreneurs like Sifiso Ngobese have built the city’s profile as a platform ripe with new opportunities.
Ngobese started out as a risk analyst for a major investment firm, but decided to put that behind him in search of personal and business fulfilment.
Here are five reasons why he sees Johannesburg as a prime environment in which to start working on the legacy he hopes to leave behind.
“Joburg has a competitive and fast-paced culture which is likely to keep any entrepreneur on his or her toes. At 24, I made the decision that I’m going to leave the company I was working for and start my own thing, and I did exactly that.”
“Most markets are saturated but there are loopholes and niche markets that entrepreneurs in Jozi can take advantage of. I started out selling cigarettes at school. It’s called snyman ekasi in the township. That was my first business enterprise. I didn’t sell sweets like the other guys – I sold cigarettes because they were more lucrative.”
“There is adequate government and private sector support that enables entrepreneurs to grow and expand.”
4. Room to grow
“One gets to unleash a part of oneself on one’s business venture. I personally get to try out all the “crazy” ideas that I always had in my head. My advice to young entrepreneurs: Be you! Find who you are and make sure that you understand the business, your model and that you’re able to articulate it. Be able to tell your story because people don’t buy into the product, they buy into the story behind the product. They buy into the person. And how you communicate that is very important because it’s going to set you apart from the next person.”
“Joburg is a springboard to expand one’s business to other provinces and/or to other countries.”