Jody Botha didn’t choose to become an entrepreneur, entrepreneurship chose him when he was just 10. While participating at his school’s sports day, he noticed that the sports grounds were teeming with people.
“I asked my grandmother to make curry vetkoek for me to sell,” he says. He used his savings as his capital and has been in business since then; from selling vetkoek to fruit and vegetables on street corners. By the time he was 18, in 1999, he already knew that he wanted to run his own business. “I grew up as a business-minded person, so I decided to work for several companies to gain some experience.”
He registered Jowha Technologies in 2009. The company offers IT equipment, installation and repairs. “I’m a technical person by nature and the only business such as mine was situated 60km away from King Williams Town, in East London.”
He was a businessman by day – marketing his company – and a waiter after hours so he could earn some money to survive. “Starting my own business was harder than I thought it would be, but what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” His persistence paid off and in 2017 Jowha Technologies caught the attention of the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme and was selected from more than 2 000 applications countrywide to participate in the programme to develop his business even further. Since he’s been on the programme his revenue increased by 207% and employment created by 11%.
Johwa Technologies offers DStv and CCTV installations as well as photocopy machine rentals to clients, including government departments, schools and private clients. The company also services rural areas. An accredited Multichoice installer for five years, Johwa Technologies installs 60 DStv satellites per month. “My next goal is to open a second branch in East London.” He says with the business and financial management knowledge we received from the Tholoana Enterprise programme, his prospects look good.
“Jody has experienced tremendous growth on the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Development Programme,” says Guy Rich, his Tholoana mentor. “He has expanded his insight into business, identified business opportunities and learnt to weigh up options and identify business risks before taking important decisions. The programme is helping him to take his business to the next level and, as an entrepreneur and small business owner, Jody remains committed to making a difference.”
At the moment, the company has 11 full-time employees and two casual workers. “Entrepreneurship is very powerful because it creates employment. I look out for the people who really need help for their families, and who are unskilled because I believe in training and up-skilling people. One of my employees started working as a general worker. He is now a qualified field technician,” he says, adding, “I always remind my employees that, ‘money can be taken away from you but your skills and experience will always stay with you’.”
Satellite TV has taken off tremendously in South Africa, and satellite dishes have become an ubiquitous feature in townships and rural areas as they offer TV viewers choice. As it goes with products that are in demand, the market also has chancers who aren’t qualified to install DStv dishes. “Always look for an experienced DStv installer. They must have a MultiChoice identity card,” Jody advises. “The installation will give you problems in the long term info you use an inexperienced technician.” Another risk that comes with using a technician who is not accredited is that your signal will eventually give you problems, and when this happens, you cannot access MultiChoice’s warranty benefits. “You take a risk whenever you use a product or service that doesn’t have a warranty.”
For more information about Jowha Technologies, contact Jody Botha.
Find out more about the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise programme here.