Why EOY is valuable to the entrepreneurial community

2013 competition entrant, Richard Qonto, shares some information with us about his business and discusses why he decided to enter the competition this year.

Briefly describe your business and the industry you operate in?

Pendairies (Pty) Ltd is an authorised Parmalat distributor based in the Western Cape. My key business functions comprise of marketing and selling Parmalat products to retail outlets and wholesalers.

Where did the business concept originate from and when did you start your business?

After participating in the sales industry for 10 years, I noticed that although Parmalat dominated the dairy market nationally, the company had a weak position within the Western Cape. As a result of this I established Pendairies (Pty) Ltd in 2007 and became an authorised distributor for Parmalat within the region.

Have you always aspired to start your own business?

Yes, while I was an employee I always had a desire for something more. Being an entrepreneur generates a great sense of fulfillment within my life.

Briefly describe some of the challenges that you have experienced as an entrepreneur?

Access to finance is always a challenge to small businesses due to insubstantial collateral. This makes competing with experienced stable businesses with sound financial backing a tedious task.

Being able to apply for access tenders and supply big organisations requires entrepreneurs to have access to resources and adequate experience, which many don’t possess. These factors obviously negatively affect the development of your business.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Being your own boss comes with a lot of sacrifice, commitment and discipline. If you stay focused and set out clear business goals, the sky is the limit.

Where do you see your business in the next five years?

My vision is to own a farm and become a producer. I intend on developing my own brand instead of promoting other companies’ brands. This will result in me ultimately being a job creator in South Africa and actively contributing towards our country’s economy.

What does a day-in-the-life of Richard Qonto consist of?

My day consists of looking for greener pastures and opportunities in the business community. I spend a lot of time clearly defining my goals and targets, and set strategies to achieve them in the best way we can.

Why did you decide to enter the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition?

I believe that this is a great platform for me to interact and network with other small business owners, as I believe that the community should share information and learn from each other. Together, SMEs and entrepreneurs can identify market opportunities that they originally may not have been aware of.

Why would you recommend that fellow entrepreneurs get involved with initiatives such as Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year®?

Entrepreneurs should enter to learn about new developments in the industry and how best to stay ahead of their competition. Exposure to new trends in the market and the growth of entrepreneurship will only strengthen your business.