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Roxy & Kirstie's story on... keeping home where the heart is

“Having a vision is great but knowing that you are giving back to society is so much more important.  We want to help South Africa, THAT is what gives us joy and motivation, that we can play a part in improving people's lives.”  

Kirstie’s taste of entrepreneurship started at an earlier age, selling painted rocks to her neighbours.  Frustrated by her mother not allowing her to go beyond her street and into the wider neighbourhood to extend her reach, from early on she showed that innate zest for going after her vision.  With her father being an entrepreneur, she was always inspired and encouraged by his chosen path in bucking the trend of being an employee.  Roxy grew up inspired by entrepreneurs and studied them closely, one of which ios famously quoted in saying “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes then learn how to do it later” (Richard Branson).  This gave her inspiration to venture into the unknown, which came to good use in the onset of their entrepreneurial journey.

These two forces met in university and after entering the working world to gain much needed professional experience, they made a bold move to relocate from South Africa to China.  A place that exposed them to a plethora of innovations not yet seen on their homeground. They knew this new world of fast growing technology is something they wanted to be a part of.  They soon realised that there was a great opportunity to bring technological innovation back to Africa, a place that had little access to many tech enabled advancements that had become the norm in more advanced regions such as China.  They stumbled upon one particular product, not knowing where it would lead them.  Today their business is changing the way customers stay connected and charged up with their power bank app empowered rental service.  Not only do they solve a common customer pain, but they also offer businesses the opportunity to increase revenue and attract customers with a profit sharing model when they house their power bank stations.

“Being an entrepreneur means you are building your own business instead of someone else's. But taking this route comes with a lot more struggles when compared to the security of earning a monthly salary as an employee”.  

They have chosen to take a calculated leap into entrepreneurship as they fund their lives and business with their salaries whilst dedicating their personal time to building their business from the ground up until they reach a point where the business is sustainable.  They remind us that as we buy into entrepreneurship to gain the freedom we seek, it is not something easily attainable from the onset and often some sacrifice is required at first.  Entrepreneurial freedom is their motivation.

Kirstie and Roxy believe in the power of community and networks and the value they have for Founders in the bumpy entrepreneurial journey, which can be challenging (but not impossible!) when abroad and needing to connect locally.  We discuss the merits and drawbacks of being onlookers to one another's experiences.  It's only natural to look at fellow StartUps for ideas on how to approach business and the milestones on one’s journey.  Many times though one cannot help but compare oneself to other StartUps which can be both inspiring and overwhelming.  We are reminded in our conversation of how important it is to stay focussed on our own journey and not be distracted by the noise.  To also set aside our pride and to ask for help when we need it instead of being onlookers relying on perception.  Kirstie and Roxy are great believers in choosing collaboration over isolation.

Kirstie and Roxy have learnt the power of flexibility and being able to pivot in order to move forward and how inhibiting it can be when we become too attached to our initial idea unwilling to change at all costs.  Furthermore, they caution us that life happens while we are building a business, and how we need to make the conscious choice each and every day to ‘show up’ and persevere to give it our best in order to start seeing results. They share with us their personal growth in being able to take criticism and questions as invaluable feedback in shaping their business for the better.  It is human instinct to be protective of our ideas, but when we transition from taking feedback personally and being defensive to really leaning in to listen to the insights that come in these situations, we can take the next step to find resolution to what is standing in the way of reaching our next milestone.  

“If we knew what we know now, we probably would have been much more hesitant to take the jump.  The less you know can be a blessing in disguise.  We jumped in and just learnt to swim, working out the kinks as we went.  We also realise that if you wait for everything to be perfect, you will never do it.”  

These two inspiring Founders bring adventure, optimism, and endless bounds of energy to their business. Their end goal is close to home: to create impact in their home country, to help South Africa and the people whose lives can be improved through simple technological solutions that are not currently available or accessible.  We are cheering them on from the sidelines!

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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