Phadima Thobejane, who built an app that links consumers and SMMEs, has always wanted to own his own tech business and help those in need. Thobejane, who is the founder of Life Key, decided that the best way to achieve his goal was to combine his drive for entrepreneurship with his love of Information Communications Technology (ICT). He told Vutivi News that in 2018 he started thinking about how to create an investment platform.
“My initial idea was for an investment stokvel fund where people would come together, pool their money and invest in local businesses in order to grow the economy,” said Thobejane, who lives in Mamelodi, Tshwane. “The idea morphed from that to the kind of platform Life Key is currently, since as the years went, I saw the need to have a platform where people can connect with service providers.”
Life Key links consumers to small businesses in the Pretoria area. To date, the platform has listed 25 SMMEs, including debt counsellors, legal services, adventure providers and tourism businesses. “When people don’t have information, they do not know what to do, neither do they know that, for example, they can enlist the services of a debt counsellor if they fall into debt,” he said.
“This platform helps them connect to such services in their area.” Thobejane, who studied finance, said that building the platform had two main challenges. “I struggled with resources to build the platform, and after I built the platform, I also struggled to convince service providers and companies to list with me,” he said. “I had to convince companies that were already sustaining themselves of the benefits that would come with using my platform.”
However, Thobejane is proud of himself for having the courage to start the business and grow with it. “I consider myself a student in my own company in that I am learning a lot on my own, and this made me realise that I can now live out my childhood desire to run a tech business on my own,” he said. “I want my platform to be an essential tool where people can have easy and fast access to nearby qualified and professional service providers without having to struggle with accessing them.”