Confidence key for success as teen business owner

David Chait of Mr Delivery with one of the teen entrepreneurs

David Chait of Mr Delivery with one of the teen entrepreneurs

It is important to be confident when approaching investors because they look at who the “jockey” is – the one who will eat, sleep and breathe the business.

These are the words of serial entrepreneur, David Chait, who now runs successful logistics business Mr Delivery. He is also the former owner of vida e caffe and Rikkis Taxis.

Chait was speaking at an event held at the Southern Sun Hotel in Newlands, Cape Town which was organised by SA Teen Entrepreneur Foundation – a non-profit organisation aimed at nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship in teenagers.

“Of course they are backing the business based on the business plan, but they also look at who is running the business and whether you are confident in doing that”.

This was Chait’s response to a question asked by one of the attendees, who stressed the difficulty in accessing finance from commercial banks, on how teen entrepreneurs could go about accessing finance.

Chait says when trying to access finance, family is usually the first point of call, but this decision should not be taken lightly.

He was referring to his own experience when, at the age of 21 and hoping to expand his then successful business by buying a catering business, he borrowed money from his father who took out R150 000 from his bond to assist Chait.

However, the business failed as a result of Chait not doing a due diligence. He was forced to sell both businesses.

Chait then set off to work on an American cruise ship in what he describes as “the toughest years of my life to date” to earn enough money to pay back the debt he owed his father. He did this and was soon back in Cape Town pursuing another business opportunity.

He partnered with the then owners of vida e caffe where they built up the brand and then sold the business five years later.

Subsequent to this, he then bought Rikkis Taxis which he built up to “a R1-million a month business” before selling it.

Chait says he then took some time out to get married and speaks proudly of his wife and 14-month old son.

“Family is the number one priority…but when you get a loving hug from your wife and a smile from your kid there is actually nothing better. You could have had the toughest day,”says Chait.

Much of what Chait spoke about was in agreement with the previous speaker, Trey Chigwembele, who stressed that parents needed to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in their children. He says that many entrepreneurs are taught to think out of the box but “who told you there was a box in the first place”?

You need to think like there is no box,” Chigwembele told teen entrepreneurs at the event.

One teen entrepreneur in attendance was Luke O’Sullivan, a grade 11 pupil at Sacs High School.

O’Sullivan runs a small business selling lollipops and snacks and says he turns over R700 per month.

“I started selling pin pops a few months ago and then realised that I could make R500 profit out of it,” says O’Sullivan.

He says he attended the event so that he could see what possibilities were out there to assist him in his business.

The SA Teen Entrepreneur Foundation was founded by Lydia Zingoni. Regular networking events are organised for teen entrepreneurs. The foundation also provides advice and partners teen entrepreneurs with mentors.

David Chait, Lydia Zingoni, Mr Delivery, , SA Teen Entrepreneur Foundation, , , Trey Chigwembele, vida e cafe

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