Hi, I'm Andrew...
I started working when I was just six years old running errands for the aunties in my neighbourhood which led to a job helping a local bee farmer with his bees which I kept for the next ten years.
I was drawn to nature and when I wasn't working, you would find me outside drawing the natural and wild South African landscape around me.
I loved the simplicity of trees, that constant sense of balance and strength, whether tall, wide, small, even the wonkiest of trees!
And it was that sense of simplicity which pushed me forward and became a driving factor in my future life and business, always seeking to transform the complex into simple and accessible solutions for the people around me.
After tinkering with various small business startups all through high school, all designed around simplifying solutions to bigger problems, at nineteen in my first year at university I came across a need which had yet to be tapped into.
Working at a strawberry farm as part of my university course in environmental sciences, I saw huge amounts of waste as farmers did not have the infrastructure to bring the delicate fruits to market in a short amount of time with minimum to no damage.
I went to my drawing board and designed the first land-to-shelf in under 48 hours technique and within just three years, while most of my classmates were till struggling to get out of bed in the morning, I had a fully flourishing company exporting high risk high value fruit to world markets.
Over two decades later and we were the provider of choice in over 50 countries for premium luxury fruits. We delighted in providing our delicious nutricious fruits to countries that don't have the environments for local cultivation.
Sadly in 2020, my trading business joined many others in succumbing to the economic conditions caused by COVID-19. I could have stopped here, but the entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in my family. My mother, also a serial entrepreneur who worked tirelessly to give back to those around her, engrained in me our responsibility to give back.
And her words have always been a guiding force in my business decisions:
"Creating purpose is finding the right challenges. Otherwise we could live in the trees and be a baboon."
This is why after several years of building successful businesses around the world, I returned to my African roots and set up Abled Minds, an organisation that invests in people with permanent injuries or illness in rural areas across the sub-Saharan continent, and help them set up businesses and become entrepreneurs.
The organisation ran successfully for over seventeen years promoting, developing and managing entrepreneurs. Over 750 micro, small and medium businesses were started with a combined annual profit of well over $5 million, many of them still going strong today and passing on that spirit of giving back and re-infusing new life into new their communities and another successful generation of entrepreneurs.