Buntu Matole @ ABCD Concepts

Favorite quote: In whatever you do, be consistent”

What is your story (tell us about yourself)?
Born in JHB and raised in Khayelitsha (Cape Town) I did my schooling in the township, and as a kid, I participated in various sporting activities with basketball being my favorite. Through basketball, I got to travel and explore various parts of South Africa getting to see just how diverse and beautiful our country is. This could have been where my love of tourism started, in 2014 I had to opportunity to go study entrepreneurship in a 6-month program where I learned the basics of running a business.

In 2017 I became an accredited Tour guide, realizing my childhood and through our tours, and both on our platform and Airbnb I get to showcase the beauty of my community to the world. In 2019 I nominated as the 1st runner-up for the provincial Lilizela Awards and got recognized as the Adventure & Activities ambassador for the Khayelitsha curatedss routes. Last year I started a home garden a small passion project that I am currently nurturing and during the
tough time I collaborated with the youth in the community and through ABCD Concepts donated 500 food parcels to 5 different communities and more than 1000 masks through our #shareamask campaign.

When did you start your first business and what inspired you to start?
Most people don’t know that I have tried few business ideas way before ABCD and Sporting Code that I didn’t hold them to long either I stopped or gave the business to someone who saw potential in the particular business. They were so many reasons why I started these businesses but I guess all that time I was just not ready to run a business because I did not have the knowledge on how to operator it.

The process ignited my passion for business which why in 2015 I co-founded ABCD Concepts, a way of helping transform my community while at the same while I make an income. Through ABCD I have been able to achieve various things both personally and through the businesses.

What is the Key Objective(s) and Vision of your business? (Has it changed overtime or is has it always been this?)
As entrepreneurs we strive to teach people more about what it is like to come from diverse intercultural backgrounds living in the same community. To provide locals and international guests with the opportunity to be immersed in our communities cultural and social activities.

What challenges did you face in your journey? What’s the biggest obstacle you had to overcome (are still overcoming)?
Being the first generation of entrepreneurs in my family it was not an easy discussion to except but it was the choice I made after six to seven years of working as a general worker in two different companies with a fixed monthly income. They were so many challenges I had to overcome while I remain focus in the business looking for my first pay cut.

The biggest challenge was that the business never took off as I imaged it to and that’s the biggest challenge we as entrepreneurs tell ourselves that we are going to start the business and it will take off just like that, but in actual fact the business never does that but you have to trust in the process and believe in the impossible.

I always wanted to start a business and now that I had believed that I was ready to start one, I knew that they’re going to be challenges and I knew that the challenges were going to become a test if am able to come up strong from the challenges. Looking back and I was able to start that is the biggest highlight that am ever grateful for because not everyone is able to stand the challenges that entrepreneurs face on day by day.

How did you manage to navigate your company through this period of the Covid-19 pandemic? (What business strategies/operational adjustments have you made over this period and how has it impacted your business model?)
During this period we started the global tribe project that is an initiative cantered on connecting people all around the world through social impactful projects. As a tribe, we believe that our survival as humans is entrenched in us sharing information, exchanging cultural experiences, collaborating through social projects, and helping on another. Through the global tribe project we fundraise, upskilling our peers, and initiate social impactful campaigns that will help people who live in under a sourced communities. Through Global tribe project we were able to start the Share A Mask Campaign. The share a mask campaign is an initiative aimed at assisting people who are in under-resourced communities. Under that wearing, a mask is one of the ways of limiting the spread of COVID 19 our goal was to fundraise, manufacture and distribute masks to those that need them the most. We actively became part of the change and we educated people on the importance of wearing a mask through the #shareamaskcampaign. And township specifically is dense communities social distancing is a little difficult as most people share basic resources like taps and with 50% of townships being informal setups families also live in small spaces.

How do you approach networking and building partnerships in your industry?
The fact we don’t have access to market this bring a huge opportunity to sell and show case our services to other individuals who are in the same industry and that are looking to explore townships differently.

All our partnerships were a strategic move that we had planned before and through different networking sessions we knew what we were looking for and we made sure half of the people in attendance their know what we do and how their could get hold of us.

Most of our partnerships are with clients that do see value in our business and that we are able to benefit from. Today we have build a solid brand through our work and what we have been able to achieve thus far.

Do you have (or ever had) a mentor in your journey, and do you believe it helped (if yes, in what way)?
I had a mentor right at the begin of my business and I think up to date I had 3 mentors and I guess each one was different from each other but importantly we were all learning from each other because no one who mentored me understood the nature of the environment we are operating in, because most township business their operate informally and the never scale.

But having a mentor it meant that someone is going to engage me on my day to day business, question me and make suggestions to me. I do believe that the assistance of the mentor was needed when I started my business, the assistance help me to look at this differently and not make choices immediately and to take time before making important discussions.

I leant the great importance of accountability on everything I do in our business and how important to share roles than wanting to do everything alone.

What is your perspective on the South African entrepreneurial landscape before and after Covid-19 pandemic? (Would you say the “new normal” context drives more or less opportunities for entrepreneurs?) How can entrepreneurial policy development aid in expanding opportunities in this new context?
The new normal has given every business the opportunity to reimage how their go about doing business going forward because before the new norm the Covid19 has taken a lot from us that we cannot go back to collect or go back to get whatever we lost along the way to the new normal. What’s important right now is for us to adjust as we have survived the worse and to be prepped for greater things to come.

In our industry we have seen a lot adjustments made for travel restrictions, this gives us hope for the season ahead and with the list confirmed bookings on our side, I am super positive that we really going to be creating opportunities for unemployed youth and bring diversity in visit to local business and more business.

If government can give more attention to informal, small and media businesses a lot of opportunities could be created, in this way job opportunities would be created by locals in their communities. In South Africa the is so much opportunities and we need to take these opportunities change the narrative about our past and to create the future.

In your opinion, what are the secrets to being a successful entrepreneur?
It’s simple for any entrepreneur who wants to have or run a successful business needs to apply basics in order to run a successful business and be able to patient, preserver and to understand the industry that you are operating in better.

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
The best time to start is now and it’s rather late than never.