• Georgia Carter


Updated: Jul 18, 2019

Start up and small businesses can be a struggle to build up in South Africa. The growing population is generating fresh ideas, with an influx of people determined to create a successful entrepreneur career.

On the 20 June 2019, sme.africa hosted a business talk in Philadelphia, a small town located outside of Cape Town. The venue was Karin Zoid’s Mothership, a studio that offers a blank canvas for creation, expression, and conversations.

Dinner and drinks before the convention allowed for the sme.africa community to connect. Photograph: Caylin-Ann Kirsten

The event brought in +- 120 people from a range of professions, all united to connect with sme.africa and each other as a community.

“The event was special because it was the first time meeting a lot of our Cape Town members” says Gidyon Lankers, one of sme.africa’s content producers and organizers.

Sme.africa is a company that acts as a voice for start-up businesses. It is a platform for support, aiding in the progression, growth, and exposure of small businesses.

Sme.africa helps with challenges that a business may face, as well as offering expert advice. The company holds events for the members and shares various business related content through videos and podcasts.

The event offered dinner and drinks, which were followed by comfortable seating in the studio. An elevated stage lit by an arch of fairy lights offered an intimate and warm environment for the booked out convention.

Fairy lights gitter the room, offering a warm environment for the sme.africa community. Photograph: Caylin-Ann Kirsten

A music performance by Karin Zoid acted as an entertaining welcoming to the audience before speaker Marnus Broodyk took to the stage.

Karen Zoid and band mate perform before the speeches begin. Photograph: Caylin-Ann Kirsten

Broodyk is an entrepreneur famous for his bestselling book “90 rules for Entrepreneurs” and for his status as a Shark Tank SA investor. He is now the head of sme.africa, and the company is doing better than ever.

This year one of sme.africa’s business podcasts “Making SMEs Matter”, hit the no.1 podcast on iTunes in South Africa the same day it was released.

“We knew there was enough demand for the content but we had to figure the rest out on the fly” says Lankers, who pitched the idea to Marnus.

At the Philadelphia event, Broodyk shared his lessons of the year with the Western Cape sme.africa community through what he called a personal conversation. His non-conventional talk included examples with the involvement from the audience and using props such as eggs and lighters.

The basis of the discussion was how one can change their external environment and form habits to condition the mind for a higher performance and work ethic that will pave the road to success.

Marnus Broodyk speaks to the SME Western Cape Community. Photograph: Caylin-Anne Kirsten

The next speaker to share his business wisdom was Pepe Marais, founding partner of South Africa’s leading take-away advertising agency Joe Public United and author of “Growing Greatness”, a book about Marais’s life story and his path to business triumph.

Marais shared his ideas and experiences that led to a fundamental change in his life and that which impacted his attitude towards his business.

Pepe Marais tells the audiance his story to success. Photograph: Caylin-Ann Kirsten

He explained and elaborated to the audience that “the worst thing happening in one’s life could be the best thing to happen”, as one can use a traumatic event to one’s advantage to inspire growth and motivation.

The night was full of entertainment, showcasing a snippet of what sme.africa has to offer start-up businesses, individuals, established companies, and communities as a whole. This enticing gathering along with insightful speeches left the audience with an awakened drive to better their businesses and themselves.

Members of sme.africa. Photograph: Caylin-Ann Kirsten


© 2018 by Georgia Carter.