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Molefe’s platform gives a business idea confidence

Selebogo Molefe is the owner The Hookup Dinner through which entrepreneurs meet to network and share ideas.
Selebogo Molefe is the owner The Hookup Dinner through which entrepreneurs meet to network and share ideas.

Entrepreneur Selebogo Molefe is well known in business circles as the go-to guy when businesses want service providers on the continent and in Europe.

Molefe is the owner of Lifesgud Global Investments, which runs The Hookup Dinner (Thud), a networking company founded in 2012.

It provides a variety of services such as helping corporates identify competent and reliable small service providers to give business opportunities to across Africa and Europe.

Thud has worked with South Africa’s leading banks, companies and government agencies, among others.

Small enterprises that have benefited from Thud include Skinny Sbu Socks, Native Model, The Lazy Makoti and Native Nosi, among others.

“We offer enterprise development, access to markets, peer-to-peer learning, access to pitching platforms and funding. When corporates are looking for small businesses, they come to us,” Molefe said.

Thud has since raised over R20m from the floor of its events while the company, through its electronic financial vehicle, The People’s Fund, founded in July 2017, has raised over R3m worth of investment for small enterprises.

The money raised assists small enterprises with purchasing orders, as well as tackling cashflow issues.

Molefe ’s company, in addition, has been producing and selling between 15000 and 20000 bean bags to the Southern African Development Community region per annum.

As if that is not enough to keep his hands full, Molefe on the side has a business renting out office space in Harare, Zimbabwe, and residential flats in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

Life, however, was not always rosy for the 38 -year-old Molefe .

A son of a pastor and nurse, he and his two siblings were raised in a bachelor flat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

“I was the last to sleep at home because I slept by the door. The flat was divided by wardrobes. I used to dream that when I grow up I’m going to live in a big property,” he said.

Molefe said when he moved out of his parent’s abode, he rented a beautiful mansion where he started hosting networking sessions for budding entrepreneurs. These events eventually gave birth to Thud.

He said Thud was born out of frustration after seeing the challenges that budding entrepreneurs faced daily.

“… the average entrepreneur does not have access to markets and networks. They are not cool enough to join the big boys’ club and can’t afford to go to the golf course and buy all of those items that are required to be part of the elite club.

“This platform has proved to be a cost-effective way for entrepreneurs to get together… and talk about the problems that we’ve faced,” he said.

He said Thud was not a membership-based community but “we simply put out [an invitation] for people to attend”.

The ideal person to attend a Thud session was someone employed and considering starting a business.

“They’ve ideas but they’re scared to start because businesses have a high failure rate. So, when they get together with other entrepreneurs who’re already in businesses, they can test whether their idea could gain traction or not.”

He said if the audience liked a business idea they have an opportunity to invest in it through The People’s Fund and get returns over time.

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