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Ou4 alumni achieve some amazing things - Deidre has achieved a great deal and with crowd sourcing can achieve more.
After I graduated I consulted a bit but nothing really clicked for me. In 2012 I decided two things:
1. To start the business I had always dreamed I would do whilst living in the UK once I returned back home to South Africa. And not a one-person consulting business but a business that can grow, scale, create employment and build small businesses and grow micro economies: and
2. to go back to my technical roots combining all I had learnt through my ICRT Masters, other jobs I had in the UK, my travel experiences and my research interests (market access for small business, local economic development, removing barriers to global markets)
Enter MzansiStore.com - an online marketplace for South African hand-crafters, designers, artisans to promote their brand and sell their products to South Africans and the world. Each seller manages their own shop-front and ships directly to the customer.
So now I have built a Tech start-up that builds small hand-craft businesses. I have been running for 15 months and have grown to over 100 sellers. That is over 100 small creative business owners who now have access to eCommerce as a sales channel. Many have never sold on-line before, only at craft markets or in small handmade retail outlets.
And it is going OK. I have two ladies working for me and together we market this monster of an on-line business as best we can. I manage and recruit suppliers (B2B) and find customers (B2C). The South African market is still slow to accept eCommerce but there will be a Tipping Point and I will be there with MzansiStore.com when it happens. After- all you and I know a bit about tipping points. We created that tipping point for Responsible Tourism with all our collective efforts.
In the meantime my business was selected by the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 committee to be one of their official projects. They recognised that my business bridges the gap between technology and creativity. We are receiving amazing media exposure through our association with @WDC2014. We have been in national glossy magazines, tech blogs, financial newspapers.
Now - @WDC2014 has partnered with South Africa's first Crowdfunding website called @Thundafund. All projects have the opportunity to raise funds through Crowdfunding and the @WDC2014 will match-fund my campaign by R10 000 but only if I raise my first milestone of R12 000. So this where you come in. You know how Crowdfunding works in your country:
1. if projects don't make at least their first milestone they get NOTHING.
2. You back a project you believe in and you receive a reward. And we have some special rewards for you.
You see- I am raising funds for MzansiStore AND enabling one of my sellers at the same time. A talented young designer, Chantel, who does not have the funds to purchase a silk-screening and fabric printing equipment to bring her sketches to life, is my fundraising partner. So funds go towards this equipment AND towards marketing her new Home Decor range on @MzansiStore but will only see the light of day if you back our campaign.
Rewards are indicated in approx. euro and pound sterling conversions to make the decision easy and include standard international mail.
So help me show all my South African friends and supporters( who have been slow to back my horse) what a huge impact a successful Crowdfunding campaign can really make.
*** Help me reach all the way to Milestone 3 ***
Thanks Deidre Luzmore Founder and Director