by Nthulane Makgato Founder and Director of Red Case (http://redcase.co.za)
I was listening to a radio show the other day and they were discussing relationship deal breakers. What non-negotiable “thing” would put you off a relationship with a potential romantic interest. A girl called in and said that a guy without a car is her deal breaker; a guy called in and said a girl with a weave was his deal breaker. There were some interesting calls, people mentioning employment status to mobility to dress sense to profession and a host of others. It made me wonder what my deal breaker was… after thinking about it, I remembered meeting a young lady on a taxi about a year ago. One word to describe her: sizzling, hot! We spoke about a number of issues and the topic of the upcoming elections came up, she told me that she had not registered to vote… I was D‐E‐V‐A‐S‐T‐A‐T‐E‐D! I asked her why and she said that there was no point and that the country is going down the drain anyway blah blah blah(as her voice drifted into the background) and as she finished that sentence, I thought, she had sooooo much potential but I had to friend zone her.
I think you’ve figured out my point, not taking the time vote is my deal breaker, well… and several other things but lets not off ramp. Why is it a deal breaker? Because I love South Africa, proudly and loudly South African, even though her offspring have mugged me a few times, I still love her. Blood was spilt for our right to vote so unless your blood was spilt or the equivalent that prevented you from voting, friend zone.
Even though I don’t approve of the girl in the taxi not voting, I must begrudgingly admit that my lovely South Africa is riddled with problems. A few months ago we were told that HIV infection numbers have increased instead of decreasing1, our crime rates are arguably the highest in the world and some analysts suggest that we may experience our own “Arab Spring” if things don’t change -‐ a scary thought.
One problem that I have conveniently left out is that of unemployment, a problem that’s very strongly connected to the others. Left out because its so closely linked to the purpose of my business. I would love to say that out of my love for the country, I went looking for a solution to its more pertinent problems and started developing Red Case to assist entrepreneurs but that’s not what happened.
One day as I was doing research on another project, I bumped into a survey about small businesses in South Africa. It had statistics on things like where entrepreneurs got the skills to run a business, who their sources of information were etc. As I read it, I got some idea as to why small businesses failure rates are so high. The statistic that bothered me the most was one that stated that almost 75% of small business owners were not aware of support. It bothered me because of all the effort that was being made by public and private organisations to assist entrepreneurs, and vice versa, there was little show for it. I did more research on it and found that events such as Global Entrepreneurship Week in South Africa have one of the lowest attendance levels in the world because of a lack of awareness. There are a number of resources that substantiate this idea.
In a nutshell, that’s the idea behind Red Case is to connect you, an entrepreneur, with not only major organisations but with their services -‐ incubation, mentorship, funding and events (in the pipeline) that will contribute to your success. And your success is employment’s success, employment’s success is South Africa’s success and my lovely South Africa’s success is my happiness.
Who is Red Case:
Red Case was born from a desire to assist small business success rates and decrease unemployment. Recognising that South Africa values its entrepreneurs, there are many support services (e.g. mentorship, incubation) and funding opportunities to assist entrepreneurs from different private and public organisations that entrepreneurs are not aware of.
The first step to positively influence entrepreneurial success rate is informing entrepreneurs about support and funding.