In our respective neighbourhoods, it was the spazashops, home-shops and informal traders that operated in township residential areas, selling groceries, bread, cool drinks, prepaid airtime etc. The poor-man’s-prices secured a loyal clientele and made them a thriving small business. But with the entry of established businesses, stores with marketing budgets for weekly broadsheets these home-grown brands all but ceased to exist. Today, one of the biggest challenges for small business owners is access to market. Not anymore. Yumo connects small business products and services to consumers in one global marketplace - enabling small businesses and micro enterprises to to scale their operations with a wider consumer base.
Thule Ngcese grew up in Mdantsane, a township in the Eastern Cape. Raised by his grandmother, an entrepreneur and his aunt, a primary school teacher. His interest in advertising started at an early age and recalls recording radio ads on cassette advertising his grandmother's home-based business that sold poorman's 'ice popsicles', gingerbeer and chips. Thule would then pursue studies in Graphic Design. After graduating with a National Diploma in Graphic Design at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University he made his way to Cape Town where he started his career at The Jupiter Drawing Room Cape Town before making his way to JHB to join Ogilvy & Mather. And later DDB South Africa and FoxP2 JHB before starting Yumo.
Besides his creative credentials, Thule is also an entrepreneur with a sharp eye for untapped markets and solutions. For one, ’Mibono’ a project he started, assisted small businesses with branding and corporate design needs at no cost. Another, The Start-Up Hand-Up Campaign, which created free print ads for small businesses and pursued sponsorship from big business to cover the placements of these free ads in a local publication (GreenOvation) which was distributed with Finweek.
Sifiso Nkabinde was born in Diepkloof, a township in Soweto Johannesburg. His parents later made a move to Dawn Park in the East Rand, where he grew up. His entrepreneurial journey started early and he recalls selling portraits in his neighbourhood. With this, his parents never understood his career choice in advertising and saw it as a person who painted wall murals in the townships and not a sustainable job. After some convincing he would pursue studies in Graphic Design at the Johannesburg University of Technology. His first break into the advertising industry came in his last year of studies (B-Tech) during his internship at Ogilvy and Mather Johannesburg when ECD at the time, Gerry Human, asked to have a look at his notepad on his last day of internship. After paging through my notepad, he was asked to come work for Ogilvy Johannesburg when finished with studies. Later, Sifiso would start his career at Ogilvy before making his way to PromiseBrand, TBWA, Ireland Davenport, Ogilvy Africa (Kenya) and Avatar Digital Agency.
With 2 other award-winning creatives; Thule Ngcese and Thokozani Mashigo and Business Unit Director Lufuno Makungo, they formed Dadka (the Somali word for people), which focuses on developing creative solutions for developing countries. Dadka’s product offering includes SoundNation (a free music streaming service that provides fans with the opportunity to support and connect with their local unsigned artists) and VOOM (a mobile app that provides on-time quotes for motor mechanics, panel beaters and service centres within a geographic location.)
Sifiso is a serial entrepreneur with several businesses under his belt. For one, he is the co-founder of a township-empowering movement called Bee Empowered (NPO), a skills-sharing platform which encourages the value of partnerships within black businesses.