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Talifhani's story on... allowing ourselves to dream big

“In Africa, we need to be the ones who pick ourselves up, who start working at ourselves and our aspirations because we have little support in comparison to our global counterparts.  We need to carry the responsibility of serving.  We need to stand up.” 

Born and raised in the small town of Louis Trichardt, Limpopo, South Africa, Talifhani grew up helping his mother at her Spaza shop on the main road and her adjacent hustle selling second hand clothing.  From a very young age he learnt what it meant to support one another and to execute.  The only sibling to go to university, Talifhani studied economics and went on to fulfil the professional role of pricing analyst at one of South Africa’s top retailers.  Using his built up skills, he took the leap to start his own analytics business.

“People are not building businesses to only make money.  People build businesses to create solutions to problems through innovation that can help an entire continent from India, Russia, China and beyond.  They are so passionate about solving the problem, they are focussed on saving humanity.  Being exposed to Founders like this, I developed a new mindset, I knew I had to do something for MY continent.” 

Talifhani went on to hire a CEO to run his analytics company so that he could focus on doing just this.  Within seven months, his new business focussed on creating township economies to fuel job enablement, and he started to witness something special: the development of an ecosystem that was growing and supporting entrepreneurs.  Leveraging off of his aptitude for data science, his established relationships with corporates, and his streetwise knowledge, Talifhani’s end goal is a powerful one: creating one African ecosystem for inter trading.  

Talifhani is a founder who gets his hands dirty, always on the ground, working with those he serves.  He sees his competition at a high level, but less so on the ground and in the reality of the market they are looking to serve.  His data science background keeps Talifhani constantly abreast of the numbers, and able to spot the gaps in the market where those sitting in boardrooms are less aware.  He advises Founders to take a look at who has traction in their markets and to look at collaboration, to share traffic and customers, to work less in silo’s and more as a collective.  

Talifhani points out a key challenge faced by Founders: experience. This is how we develop that sense of knowing what NOT to do, having learnt the hard way.  For him this meant spotting the disingenuous people who waste our time, money and resources.  We learn over time the traits to look out for when it comes to a good collaborator.  He concurs with many Founders that capital also remains a challenge faced by many.  He points out not to talk about capital until we have done the work, created value, and really proven our concept.  Big ambition and undeniable belief is not enough.  The last challenge he talks to is scaling and how this is often attributed to either greater connections or developing one’s technology.  He challenges Founders to also think bigger than just one’s local region, as this is often too small to really scale.  He therefore cautions Founders that develop something that can only work in their particular region, to challenge themselves to think how this can apply to other markets too.  

“There are peoples lives and dreams that are connected to your purpose and cause.  If I get to a position where I have helped people to further help others, then I have achieved”. 

Talifhani does not believe in selling perse, but rather in the telling of an authentic story that people genuinely want to buy into. Talifhani uses his own words as daily motivation, to hold himself accountable to making his end vision real, to be a man of his word. It is evident he is working hard and making progress in achieving this.  

His final pearls of wisdom to share: “If you can find something connected to you, to your calling and purpose, I guarantee it will connect with many other souls and they will have answers and will bring you the advice and help you need along the way”.  We resonate with Tafihani’s definition of success: doing what you are meant to be doing with your life.  This makes us relook the fact that many of us Founders have already achieved success and should take the time to recognise that and give ourselves a much needed pat on the back!

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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