When it comes to entrepreneurial skills, South African Youth has proven that the sky is not anywhere near the limit. From the well-known “Afronaut” and CEO of Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth, to the founder and creator of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk, South African entrepreneurs keep making waves.
It’s no doubt that South Africa has a large collection of go-getters that are setting the scene for new business concepts both innovative and unique in different areas.
South African youths are pioneering the way forward and doing their possible best to give back to local communities, and society, and encouraging an environment for sustainable practices.
A look at the career progression of one of South Africa’s visionary and award-winning entrepreneurs, Luvuyo Rani, who was born in Queenstown but resides in the Western cape in South Africa.
How he started
After graduating from Cape Technikon with a National Diploma in Commercial Education, and a B Tech in Commercial Education a few years later, Rani started teaching accounting and entrepreneurship at a Khayelitsha high school while continuing to study for a B Tech in Business Administration and later graduated from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town.
Luvuyo Rani’s journey is a classic rags-to-riches story. He prides himself as an individual that has built a reputation where he started from the bottom to the top.
He said he started his business without funding, support, and mentorship. Describing it as starting something with nothing.
Luvuyo founded his award-winning IT services company, Silulo Ulutho Technologies in 2004 to provide internet and computer access to a lower-income target market.
Silulo Ulutho Technologies (Silulo) is a Cape Town-based one-stop-shop IT Company working to bridge the digital gap in South Africa’s township and rural population.
The company now has over 46 stores in townships and rural areas in the Western, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal, with 220 full-time staff members.
He began in the year 2004, when Luvuyo Rani, a teacher in Khayelitsha, saw teachers struggling with the new computer technology that was being introduced into classrooms.
His entrepreneurial instincts led him to partner with his brother, Lonwabo, and they started selling refurbished computers and parts from the boot of his Corsa Lite after the South African government introduced new curriculum standards that required high schools to teach computer skills.
His peers were surprised when Rani gave up his job, to focus on his new venture.
By the end of the first year, they had sold 15 computers. The following year, they found a new partner in Nandipha Matshoba and made the move from car boot to shop premises – developing a “one-stop shop” model, offering internet access, training, sales, help, repairs, and mobile support.
Township entrepreneur, Luvuyo Rani has been robbed at gunpoint and had multiple banks turning down funding requests.
Today he is the chief executive of an award-winning social enterprise with a top-floor office in the city and a business that is helping thousands of South Africans to succeed. He has created jobs for thousands of unemployed young South Africans.
Employer of Labour
By 2008, they had perfected this model and started to expand. Today Silulo has over 46 stores in townships and rural areas in the Western, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, 220 full-time staff members with 43 branches and is making a difference in the lives of thousands of South Africans.
More than 31,000 students have also completed their IT courses with the company.
This year, Silulo’s revenue has levelled out at about R20 million, most of which went into operating expenses.
Several awards and accolades have accrued over the years, including the national productivity award and the Endeavour global entrepreneur award.
In March 2014, Luvuyo Rani was featured in Forbes Magazine and he was the Schwab Foundation social entrepreneur of the year in 2016.
Luvuyo was named on the 2014 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP) recipients in the category of business, economic, and entrepreneurial accomplishment.
In 2016, he was Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur. Luvuyo owes much of his success to the support he got from his mother when growing up. He often cites her as his core inspiration and the reason he had the opportunity to achieve his BTech in Communicative Technology.
Based in Cape Town with his wife and son, Luvuyo enjoys spending time outdoors and connecting with friends. He also enjoys reading and travelling.