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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Young Entrepreneurs Do Not Want to Spend Time On Research - Ludwick Marishane

South African entrepreneur Ludwick Marishane is the inventor of Dry Bath, a bath-substituting product, that does all the work of a bath without the need of water. He had a school friend as a teenager who was too lazy to bath. This sparked an idea: what if there was a way of cleaning oneself without actually bathing? In a recent interview, he bares his mind on entrepreneurship. Read excerpts below:

"The biggest challenge I see with young entrepreneurs is not the funding, the networks or even the skill, but the problem with people not sitting down and doing the research,” said Marishane, adding that he often receives emails from young people who have business ideas and want to know what their next step should be without actually trying to figure it out themselves. He noted that entrepreneurship is not just about having a business idea, but about putting in the effort to bring the idea to life.

Marishane taught himself how to patent a formula back when he was developing the idea for a healthy cigarette. “I did months of research on that in order to figure out what the next steps were and the research was what guided me.” When he realised he needed the assistance of a professional who could provide him with patent information he couldn't access, he contacted a lawyer for guidance.
“And I think to this day the only reason a professional like him who had never met me decided to help me at that stage in time was because I showed him evidence of how much work I had managed to do, and tried to do, on my own. It wasn't a lazy, ‘please [do a patent] search for me because I’m too lazy to try and do it myself’. I searched everywhere that I could, and he had access to data bases that I didn't.”

2 years later, while patenting DryBath, the same lawyer was willing to help because he could see that Marishane had put in the time and effort. “I had already written the patent documents myself at the age of 17. I think that as a professional who studied not only his degree of engineering but also two years in IP (intellectual property) law, he also appreciated the level of effort that had been shown by someone that young.” Alongside the importance of having a capable team, Marishane who is now 24 said he has also learnt that business is a hustle.

“It doesn't matter if you are Apple, Google or a small time guy literally trying to make T-shirts in the township. Every business is a hustle. People don’t really realise that we have all gone through days where we literally have to package our product at home, at night, with our girlfriends, etc… So it’s a hustle.”

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