8 March 2013

Young entrepreneurs selected for UK business trip

Jeffrey Mulaudzi, a township tour operator, is among 15 young South African entrepreneurs who have been selected for a business and networking trip to the United Kingdom in April 2013.

Jeffrey Mulaudzi, owner of Mulaudzi Alexandra Tours takes visitors on a cycling tour through Alexandra township Jeffrey Mulaudzi, owner of Mulaudzi Alexandra Tours, takes visitors on a cycling tour through Alexandra

On the last trade visit, our entrepreneurs achieved an incredible amount in one short week abroad, coming away with fresh ideas, strategies and valuable business connections. – Judi Sandrock, MEDO CEO.

The trip forms part of the International Trade Programme (ITP), an initiative sponsored by British Telecom Global Services and spearheaded by the Micro Enterprise Development Organisation (MEDO), a strategic adviser and on-the-ground implementer of micro- and small-enterprise development in South Africa.

The young entrepreneurs will spend a week participating in training programmes, at networking events, and at business and investor pitches.

Jeffrey Mulaudzi, who started Mulaudzi Alexandra Tours in 2010, is among the 15 entrepreneurs selected to visit the UK. He was handpicked from hundreds of applicants in towns and townships across South Africa.

Mulaudzi offers cycling tours of Alexandra township, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about its history and to interact with its community. His clients also get to enjoy a true kasi-style (township) meal and home-brewed beer at a shebeen (tavern).

Born and raised in Alexandra, Mulaudzi always loved tourism, which led to him giving his hockey coach a tour around the township. That first trip resulted in his coach coming back with 16 friends, and Mulaudzi Alexandra Tours was born.

He started his business with just two bicycles, and today has 24, with 40 more on order.

For added convenience, his tours can start and end at the Marlboro Gautrain station, making them accessible to tourists coming from the airport or from other Gautrain stations.

Once a month he operates a night tour, where clients get to experience traditional dancing or attend poetry sessions. ‘The offering always changes, which makes it just as unique as my daytime tours,’ he says.

Always innovative, Mulaudzi has mounted cameras on two of his bikes so that he can give videos of the experience to clients. He has also uploaded videos to YouTube so that potential clients can get a taste of the experience.

His next step is to launch bicycle rentals for tourists from the Gautrain station in Sandton.

Mulaudzi owes the growth of his business in no small part to taking the venture online, which has seen demand rocket. He also says he owes a lot to MEDO: ‘MEDO has taught me a lot about how to run and market a business.’

He is excited about visiting the UK, his first trip abroad. ‘A large percentage of tourists who visit South Africa are from the UK. I’m going to be meeting tour operators and other tourism stakeholders in the UK and am aiming to have them include my township tours on their itineraries,’ he says.

This is the second group of entrepreneurs to visit the UK through the MEDO initiative.

Judi Sandrock, MEDO CEO, says the ITP aims to stimulate trade between South Africa and the UK, while fast-tracking South African entrepreneurial businesses that are key to economic growth and job creation in South Africa.

‘On the last trade visit, our entrepreneurs achieved an incredible amount in one short week abroad, coming away with fresh ideas, strategies and valuable business connections. Those who came away with actual business have not looked back. We certainly expect the same, if not more, from this trip,’ she says.