App brings businesses to clients

Katleho Nyawuza is the founder of business app ExploreIkasi, which helps clients get in touch with township businesses. There are over 60 businesses currently registered on his app. /Mduduzi Ndzingi
Katleho Nyawuza is the founder of business app ExploreIkasi, which helps clients get in touch with township businesses. There are over 60 businesses currently registered on his app. /Mduduzi Ndzingi

Katleho Nyawuza's frustration when looking for a barber to cut his hair has led to the creation of an app that can solve many problems for township businesses.

About a year ago, the Johannesburg-based entrepreneur was on his way to a friend's party and had to make a stop at his barber for a head shave, but found his regular barber closed.

With no other place to go to, he came up with the idea to create an app where local businesses can connect with their customers.

The app, ExploreIkasi, uses geo-location technology to locate local businesses nearest to you.

"It was all out of frustration on my side, honestly. I was invited to a party on the day and I had to cut my hair. I only use one barber because my head is very sensitive, so I went to my barber in Cosmo City, only to find out he was closed and I was not aware [of it]," Nyawuza says.

He asked his friend about nearby barber shops he could go to but there was no way he could find out, on time, which one was open and where it was based.

The 32-year-old project manager turned entrepreneur from the Vaal says he then researched and documented his idea.

"I interviewed business people in the townships. I asked them what their challenges were and some of them raised things like the difficulty for clients to get hold of them, no platforms for clients to find out about their specials and they did not know how to put themselves out there and be seen by more potential clients," Nyawuza says.

After his research, he enlisted the services of a developer to help him "digitise township businesses".

There are over 60 businesses currently registered on his app, ranging from salons, restaurants, pubs, shops to chair service hire and decor companies.

With the help of a silent partner and funder, the app was launched last month and Nyawuza says more businesses are showing an interest in his app.

"The response has been overwhelming. People are saying it's now time for their businesses to rise.

"I currently have three developers and 15 testers dedicated to the site."

Nyawuza plans to expand his business to attract more businesses beyond South Africa's borders and to expose local businesses to larger audiences.

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