Diketso SethoGH Mall

Favorite quote: “Patience is the mother of all success”

What is your story (tell us about you)?
I was born and raised from the community of Tembisa, During my high school days I always wanted to be a lawyer so I chose to do general subjects, but as years went by a friend of mine wanted to start an online magazine and by then I was doing my grade 12 and that is how I got interested in to coding because I started learning how to code so that I can create the online magazine. After my matric I did not get accepted in any university to further my IT studies because I did not do science, that was when I started being a self-taught programmer. I learnt how to code using my phone and downloaded android applications to learn until even today I use the skills I learnt to do all my businesses.

When did you start your business and what inspired you to start?
I started my first business 2017 which is Ghetto Heroes Tech Innovation (organization bridging the gap between 4IR and township young people). We taught coding in different township areas.

During lockdown 2020 I came to realize that many businesses were forced to shut down for many months and that was when I started GH Mall which is a mall giving township businesses a space to start selling online and digitally. Most of the kasi businesses people do not have knowledge about E-commerce and social media shops, well GH Mall does those for them.

What is the Key Objective(s) and Vision of your business? (Has it changed overtime, or has it always been this, since you first started?)
Business model changes along the journey of business. As I included more ideas to the businesses that is when I had to remove some of the strategies that did not work. The objective is to have a South African space where people can purchase safely online from most of the local businesses.

What challenges did you face? What’s the biggest obstacle you had to overcome (are still overcoming)?One of the biggest challenges is always educating our society about online selling and buying. Our citizens still think it is not safe buying online especially when it comes to using their credit card information, we still must alert them about the benefits of online buying and how their banks have spent so much work in securing their data online
How did you manage to navigate your company through this period of Covid-19 pandemic? What business strategies/operational adjustments have you made over this period and how has it impacted your business model?

Covid-19 affected my business too as I launched my business a month before lockdown started. I was forced to close down my business too business of the lack of funds incoming but over the period of lockdown I spent it improving the strategies of marketing and the website including the model canvas

How do you approach networking and building partnerships in your industry?
I normally start with the outlining the benefits it will bring my business then I will have to check out the benefits for the partner as well. If we both can gain something and bring value to the society, it would be a great partnership

Do you have (or ever had) a mentor in your journey, and do you believe it helped (if yes, in what way)?
Yes, I still have a mentor. Having mentors is very beneficial as they will always advice you on what they faced and how they solved the problems. Along the journey you become a mentor too.

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 in your industry?)
First we have less entrepreneurs in our country. Well, we have seen big companies shutting down after covid and employees retrenched at work. The government must spend much money investing in local businesses which they are the one whom will change the direction of were the money is going. We have so many entrepreneurs who are unable to start due to lack of funding or resources.

Another thing our government should promote entrepreneurship is public schools and to young people through competitions and books.

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
Remind yourself daily to be relentless in the pursuit of your goals and brand vision as a fellow African leading the 5th industrial revolution. Being a disruptor means challenges must and will come…use these challenges to build resilience, to adapt and to fail forward for the dreams of our people rests on our shoulders to fulfill.

In your opinion, what are the secrets to successful entrepreneurship?
The secret is patience, I know that I will not do it in one day. Infact big companies today have been in the industry for 10 years and still solving problems so why would I give up in one year?

Patience is the mother of all success.