Young businessman making SA roads safer
A 21-year-old entrepreneur is at the forefront of using innovative technology to save lives on accident-prone roads in SA.
Fani Tshidiso Mmolawa Jnr and his company, itraffic, manufacture and instal safety roller barriers on roads to protect travellers from harm.
He says it is a new technology from South Korea in road restraining systems and more effective.
"I was always fascinated by adding my voice to solving fatal deaths, especially on South African roads, and I saw a business opportunity that will not only be for my own benefit but will ultimately save lives and make a difference in people's lives on the roads and save them too," Mmolawa said.
The Pretoria-born entrepreneur said he grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and has known nothing else.
"To be quite honest, I think I was born to be an entrepreneur. My late grandfather was a well-known businessman in the North West province, my parents were also business owners too.
"Entrepreneurship is all I know to be honest, and I love the financial freedom and the concept of getting exactly what you put in out," Mmolawa said.
He said working as an entrepreneur was challenging because of the huge amount of responsibility on him.
"When you are an entrepreneur you work around the clock, everything is on your shoulders and you are responsible for everything, including the people you work with and you constantly need to lead by example and give direction and be able to learn from mistakes as you go along because you are constantly being challenged.
"You work hard 24/7 with limited benefits like sick leave, etc."
He said it was difficult to penetrate the market because of companies that have been established for decades.
"A lot of the technology being used on the roads is from the 1920s, which is why we see a lot of fatalities today. Motor vehicles have developed but road safety has not, but we're not given the space to change," he said.
Mmolawa added that he enjoyed working with different people and travelling to learn about how he can improve his business.
The dynamic businessman said in collaboration with specialists from overseas he has created ipocket, which is technology that allows for potholes to be repaired in a short space of time in the rainy season.
He currently employs nine permanent people and is planning on creating more employment.
"I want to contribute to minimisation of global warming and green-house effects by expanding itraffic into an environmentally friendly way of doing things but most importantly empowering the youth and creating more jobs and opportunities for them and create a platform where new innovations and technologies are able to be given a chance in different markets.
"I believe new technology is the route to a better future and an economy booster," Mmolawa said.