Future 100 will take you to the top

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

Herman Radali runs an information communication technology (ICT) company in an industry dominated by whites.

Radali, 32, of Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, is director of Matli Online in Rivonia, Johannesburg. The company, which is only five years old, services and repairs public phones for Cell C, Vodacom and MTN.

But things did not start at a fancy office in a Johannesburg suburb. After graduating from Vaal Technikon in 1998, Radali worked for various cellphone repair companies until 2003 when he met Jan Matli, who was also a struggling cellphone repairer. Together, they formed Matli Online.

Matli is the bigger shareholder of the two.

"For about two years we did not get any salary because we took the little profits we made to pay our seven technicians and three administrators," said Radali.

Today, Matli Online enjoys an yearly turnover of R10million. They have two other branches - one in Durban and one in East London.

The company has 45 technicians countrywide.

"The industry is dominated by a few players and they are white. So, you must deliver quality service to dispel the myth that blacks cannot do well in technology," said Radali.

But there could be a new opportunity for entrepreneurs like Radali to widen their base.

The Future 100 campaign to find South Africa's top young 100 entrepreneurs is one such opportunity.

The campaign is the brainchild of the Youth Entrepreneurship Campaign.

Future 100 aims to select the top 100 entrepreneurs between the ages of 16 and 36 who are South African citizens.

Nomination forms are available every Monday in Sowetan and every week in Sunday World.

The forms can also be downloaded from www.bizjam.co.za and www.youthportal.org.za