Doing business in the hood! Why not?

Posted on February 13, 2014

In every step of the journey I have had to prove myself. Initially, corporates would not touch me because I am black, young and have a small business.

With an idea that started in my bedroom and later developed to have a boardroom, I had to harness the skills to get myself noticed – even on a small scale. I knew that if I could prove myself with the small things, I would be trusted with the big things; hence the growth from being awarded small projects by companies such as SAB to becoming a vendor for the South African government.
In my youth, I had consistently explored the opportunities in entrepreneurship through informal businesses such as selling peanuts, fruits and vegetables to friends. It was not long, however, that the time would come for the creation of the Mind Trix Media– a creative design agency based in a local South African township, Gugulethu. Having started with 3 partners who later backed out, I had to build a brand with R 600, no partners and one client (who kept coming back, because he enjoyed my work). What people won’t tell you is that: to be an entrepreneur, you have got to be ambitious! This mentality, this culture epitomizes the notion that has built what now stands as a successful company.

Success leaves tracks. If you follow the path of others, then you will be successful. Growing up poor has made me not want to be rich, but wealthy, so that my current and future family can be liberated from the life that I have had come to know. Having your first bedroom at the age of 20 is a tough victory to enjoy. It is a reminder of not only the life that you have come from, but the everyday challenges that you need to overcome to ensure that you do not go back there. That is my vice: my family’s financial freedom!

There are a couple of nuggets which have propelled me to be an example of what hard work can achieve:

1. Employ people who are as ambitious as you are. I don’t expect my team to work as hard as me, but I do expect them to exceed my expectation in all that they do. I employ people who do a specific task better than how I would do it. If they do not, then they have to go.

2. Understand the value of money. It is not important to me to have people understand the true value of my worth by summing together all my possession. What is important to me is storing my wealth for the use of things that are important to me. I see myself staying in Gugulethu. I see myself taking a taxi wherever I need to go. None of these scream millionaire when you see them for their true conditions. Many people waste money, which is an unnecessary thing. I do not advise being stingy, but rather being cautious with your wallet.

It takes hard work and dedication to completing a task – regardless of the challenges which may or may not be imposed. I am a true example of poverty that has the potential to become rich. What made it possible was not the idea, not the circumstance but, the tenacity to relentlessly pursue my dreams regardless of the small change in my pocket.
I hope this inspires you,
Bheki Kunene.


  • Bheki Kunene

    Thank you for such a lovely article guys. I am grateful and it has somewhat shifted my mind set today just remembering the past….

    • iamyoungpreneur

      That’s great to know Bheki, keep up the great work.

  • Ike Bam

    After reading this I feel very inspired indeed. This all the things you have mentioned regarding family backgrounds are why we hustle everyday.

    • iamyoungpreneur

      “Got to keep it moving!” the fulfillment of all that we desire a probably one or two steps away … or a thousand, but either way the work and hustle must be done.

  • ♚Lord James

    Brilliant, Ambition First, the will to want to do something. No matter what obsiticals you come by, your ambition and drive to always move forward would over ride them all. I too am a young business owner and a lot of the time “the business world” doesn’t take you seriously which gives me the drive to do better to be better and that is something all “youngpreneurs” should have. Brilliant peace of writing. Thanks Dude

  • Rebecca N. Oloo

    Just started my company a few months ago. It has been a dream of mine since i was a kid. My parents were both entrepreneurs especially my mom. But the businesses never quite “blew up”, although the fact that she did it was the key surge for me. I am building an agency with my partner, and this is the exact inspiration i need. Still in our 20s, having adopted two girls and with our son,we would like to inspire them to do more. So yes Wealth is where we should aim to get at. Love your drive.