Business Friday chat with Marcelle Minnaar, Owner/Director at First Born
Marcelle Minnaar in many ways captures the definition of many young 21st Century entrepreneurs in South Africa. They may not have a lot of business experience as their older counterparts, the networks or enough resources to start with but they make up for it with an unmissable and enthusiastic determination to succeed.
Minnaar, like many who grew up in the townships, started fighting for his dream early in life. He was raised by a single mother under difficult conditions with his five siblings. Marcelle had to learn early about responsibility and began working to support the household from his first job in 1998 - while doing Grade 10.
Still, instead of allowing the situation to defeat him, he has kept faithful to his dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur in Port Elizabeth.
In July 2015, he finally took the gamble and launched his own company First Born, which deals mostly with events management – proving yet again that regardless of one’s background, with determination, perseverance and endurance one can still become whatever you aspire to be.
We caught up to him to find out more about his journey as an entrepreneur and First Born.
RNews (RN): Why entrepreneurship, when you could have continued in your 8-5 job?
Marcele Minnaar (MM): I believe through entrepreneurship and my company I can make a more positive contribution and I want to reach more individuals. I prefer a welcoming and unrestricted approach.
RN: How did the company come about?
MM: I have always been an adventure seeker and enjoyed the company of others. I am an active listener and I believe communication is vital. After trying my hand on other business ideas and self-introspection, I realised my passion lies with people and bringing them together.
RN: How is First Born different from the other events companies in Port Elizabeth?
MM: Unlike most companies, our mission and commitment is not to be the best events company but merely to be optimistic and positive. As a group, we aim to have the greatest positive effect on all clients and other stakeholders.
RN: What are some of the challenges that you have had to overcome in building your business?
MM: Finance and transportation were some of the obstacles that I had to overcome. I would walk from one meeting to the other many times when transport was absent. I managed to pull off my first event with no money. I had to negotiate with the client and also got some assistance from a few family members.
RN: Have you ever received support in growing your business – if yes from who?
MM: Yes. The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) branding was awarded to First Born. Towards our first event, we received sponsorship in a form of gifts for guests.
RN: How has your company grown since you started?
MM: We have established many relationships with various service providers, sponsors, incubators and the Nelson Mandela Bay Development Agency (NMBDA), and we aim to establish more relationships with various stakeholders as we go along.
RN: How do you balance your time between growing your business and your life as a person/family man?
MM: Personal growth affects the business growth. I’m optimistic about the business which is an indication of my positive personal growth. I do have many family responsibilities at the moment. However, I try juggling between the two.
RN: What qualities do you think an aspiring entrepreneur should have in order to make it in business?
MM: Personal qualities such as determination, perseverance and endurance are vital. Also, knowing yourself, your true passion and an informed decision for the type of business you want to commit to.
RN: Lastly, what are you currently busy with right now?
MM: First Born was recently approached by a bride-to-be. She had many ideas and requested that we assist with a concept complete with graphics, thank you gestures etc. By doing so, First Born has been appointed Project Manager for this unique occasion. First Born is proud to be part of their authentic occasion.
We are also busy with a year-end function for a corporate client in Nelson Mandela Bay – with another corporate year-end function in negotiation.
We are also working on a platform for local creatives, earmarked to kick-off early 2016, in Port Elizabeth. First Born is in the process of establishing relationships with Print and Digital media for this project so that they can showcase the ingenuity Nelson Mandela Bay creatives have to offer. That I just some of the things keeping us busy.
See their poster HERE.
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