Vaal’s top entrepreneurs ready to compete nationally

Annette Willemse -- Thu, 09/03/2015 - 14:45

Vaal’s top entrepreneurs ready to compete nationally

Take note of these three start-up entrepreneurial ventures – since they are on the fast track headed for success: Phat Pat Catering, Solar Bliss and NewTech Rail.

 Andre van Niekerk ("Ringmaster"), Jan Jooste, Patricia Esterhuizen, Justin Bloem (Master of Ceremonies) and William Hartzer

These three entrepreneurial ventures, respectively owned and managed by Patricia Esterhuizen, William Hartzer and Jan Jooste recently came out tops during the first-ever Get In The Ring (GITR) City Final hosted at the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal) in Vanderbijlpark. Not only was this event a first for the University, but also for South Africa.

On 27 August 2015, the Campus joined more than 64 countries around the world when it played host to a GITR City Final. Get In The Ring is a global investment competition often referred to as the “Olympics of Entrepreneurship” and 2015 marks South Africa’s second rendition of this highly popular and much anticipated global entrepreneurial challenge. The event was proudly hosted by the bHive Enterprise Development Centre (bhive EDC) on the Vaal Triangle Campus and – a leading online entrepreneurship magazine.

A total of 21 entrepreneurs took up the GITR challenge. At the end of it all, the top three start-up entrepreneurs saw themselves qualifying for the South African finals of GITR 2015.

Phat Pat Catering

This start-up venture came to being in 2014 and is owned by Patricia Esterhuizen. At present Patricia finds herself busy with the roll-out of her venture in terms of prototyping and the planning of an operating base. Phat Pat Catering is still a one-woman venture and has a profit turn-around of about R60 000 a year. The services rendered by the venture includes: catering for functions, menu development, the restructuring of kitchens and training of staff and restaurateurs.  Patricia has more than 13 years of experience in the catering industry as a professional chef and according to her the most difficult step on her journey as an entrepreneur was to “take a leap of faith” and leave a secure job with a stable income. “I am motivated to make a difference and impart valuable skills onto others, who in turn can use these tools of the trade to make a living.” As an entrepreneur she dreams of running two sustainable businesses within the near future. Asked what type of assistance she requires, she answers: “Willing investors and mentors. The more I can learn from other people and their entrepreneurial experience the better!”

Pat Esterhuizen (right)

Solar Bliss

The entrepreneurial venture, Solar Bliss, was founded in 2015 by William Hartzer. William is joined in this venture by his wife, Zani Hartzer. The business is focused on eliminating power loss to domestic households through a product range that includes: solar geysers, solar panels, inverters, deep cycle batteries and LED lighting. According to William the most rewarding part of owning your own business is the satisfaction in creating your own income – and that job satisfaction is guaranteed.  With more than 5 years of experience working for an international supplier of solar products – especially within the African continent, William boasts with the necessary experience and technical know-how to make a success of this venture. When listing his biggest needs as an entrepreneur, the following are applicable: investments, expertise (especially within the field of marketing), sufficient workspace and overall brand awareness.

William Hartzer (left)

NewTech Rail

If big data, computers, peripherals, logistics and transportation is what you are looking for, look no further. NewTech Rail was founded in 2015 by Jan and Zani Jooste. “Railways need lightweight and arc free section insulators” explains Jan and adds that NewTech Rail offers section insulators that can function within multiple voltage regimes. Not only does Jan offer the project at hand, but also boasts with an impressive track record to boot. He was recently tasked to develop a product for Transnet, with great success. Jan explains: “Railways use expensive overhead systems for increased train speed. NewTech Rail has a vastly cheaper and better solution to offer the market.” In short: this venture is set apart by its differentiation by means of proprietary technology. Jan is confident with his unique selling proposition and is looking to find investors to provide start-up capital as well as factory workspace.  

Jan Jooste (left)