It might be difficult to believe that all that Neo Ramaphakela had when he set out to build his multi-million-rand empire that now serves one of the overlooked traditional sectors; the township, was literally ‘a dollar and a dream’ as the usually clumsy and densely populated areas are fast becoming the new commercial hubs.
Neo is the founder of Seriti sa Basotho a fast-growing construction company. He began the company in 2011 and it has grown over the last few years into a general facility management firm in South Africa. Seriti sa Basotho has built several houses in South African townships and also handles painting, plumbing, paving, roofing, plastering, ceiling and renovations.
In 2010, Neo had the opportunity to observe an emerging trend after spotting a gap in the market in his home turf in Johannesburg’s East Rand and he immediately took the chance to create some sort of cash-flow model.
He started Seriti sa Basotho, making security gates and has expanded largely by providing exceptional services in roofing, plastering, construction, painting, plumbing, paving, fencing, maintenance, alterations, tiling, paving, supplying and renovations among others. He seized the opportunity of South Africa being a developing country with a lot of infrastructure development and decided to build a fortune out of this.
“At the end of the day, whether you’re in the township or you’re in the suburbs, everyone wants value for money. If you’re going to pay for a service, it must be a good service’’ said the young entrepreneur that was named one of Forbes 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa in 2016.
Till this moment, the company is making various services available for several houses through the exploration of the uniqueness of the township even though it is often a struggle for most businesses to crack this market. For Neo, he sees the township market as being unique and could as a matter of fact be a game-changer for SME development.