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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Mulaudzi Bicycle Tours Founder - You Must Never Give Up As An Entrepreneur

Meet South Africa's Jeffrey Mulaudzi, the 22 year old entrepreneur who saw an opportunity, worked on it and today owns a thriving business, Mulaudzi Bicycle Tours. During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, entrepreneurial activity boomed as South Africans prepared to host an influx of sporting fans and tourists from around the world. However, even long after the world cup, this young man's business has continued to thrive.

Mulaudzi Bicycle Tours is currently ranked as one of the top 5 activities in Johannesburg by TripAdvisor, and has won him awards. Mulaudzi was born and raised in Alexandra and is well aware of the negative images associated with the township. He decided that the best way to show his tutor the “real” Alexandra would be on a bicycle ride which allowed better interaction with the community. And after successfully showing his tutor around, he saw an opportunity in introducing his home to others, not just the usual tourism sites, but the lifestyle and people.

He started out by making tour brochures and handing them out at hotels, but later found out that they were thrown in the trash. “One day I went to one hotel and dropped my brochures off, and the concierge thanked me and then dropped them in the bin as I went out. Luckily a guest waiting by the concierge saw him doing that and asked for one which was rescued from the bin. He then called me for a tour for the next day,” he said. With the money from his first tour, Mulaudzi started paying hotels to display his brochures and the investment very quickly paid off as tourism boomed in 2010. The money he earned went towards buying more bicycles so he could increase his tour numbers.

Today he has 3 tour guides and hosts, on average, around 3 tours a week although this fluctuates depending on the time of year. In addition to tourists, Mulaudzi has also seen a growing number of South Africans take his tours to experience township life. Tours cost R200 (US$18.75) for two and a half hours, or R400 ($37.50) for four hours and include bikes, helmets, water, and lunch. Participants also get to taste umqombothi, a traditional beer. During the cycling, Mulaudzi introduces his group to various people living within the community who have a chance to chat and tell their stories.

His tours also include a bit of Alexandra’s history, such as a visit to the infamous hostels erected by the Apartheid government in the 1960s, and the home where Nelson Mandela once lived. They also visit local businesses and shebeens, which he says brings in business for other entrepreneurs in the community. His entrepreneurial success led him to win the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the 2013 South African Turkish Business Awards.

Mulaudzi said he has an entrepreneurial heart and while his township tours are his first business, it will not be his last. He is currently looking for partners for his second business, African Public Bicycles, where people can rent bicycles, travel to a destination, and leave them there to be collected by the company. “Bicycles are the best form of transport to see a country and interact with people. In a car you get stuck in traffic, and if you are walking you can’t cover as much distance. Bicycles make sense… and I think, when you think about traffic, we are going in that direction more and more as a continent.”

“Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, but once you realise and understand that you are an entrepreneur, you must never ever give up,” Mulaudzi advises. “Many people can start, but not many people can finish… but the only way you can finish what you started is to never give up.”He added that entrepreneurs should be prepared to fail, but should consider every failure a lesson so that hopefully they never make the mistake again.

Source - allafrica

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