Abednigo Mpangane is an example of an entrepreneur who never stays on the ground when knocked down. His entrepreneurial journey is one filled with hardships, failures and pitfalls. He believes that the success he is beginning to experience is the fruit of everything that has gone before. When he started his business, which was known as Corner Cafe and later changed to Corner Café Internet Cafe, Mpangane only had R250 to his name.
The Mpumalanga businessman, who is based in Bushbuckridge, told Vutivi News that he opened his business, which was initially a small spaza shop, in 2018. He recalls collecting wooden poles and maize meal bags and using them for a rudimentary structure that he started trading in. Mpangane’s dream did not stop there. “From the beginning, I wanted to erect a proper shop where I could trade because I was at the mercy of the weather,” he said.
“I started saving money and when the government announced the R350 Social Relief of Distress Grant I registered and was fortunate enough to be successful.” Mpangane saved money from the grant to revive his business, which had to close during the hard lockdown. He combined that money with his business profits and bought a broken laptop, which he fixed.
This proved to be a boon as he stumbled on a new market. “I found myself fixing laptops and installing software for the residents in my area, and pretty soon my business started to grow,” he said. “After fixing one client’s laptop, he was so happy that he gifted me with a laptop and R1500, which I used to buy another laptop. “I took my business to social media, and it wasn’t long before I started getting customers from outside of my area.”
He had also saved enough to start building a bigger structure for his business. “It took me eight months to finish building the structure and once it was completed, I rebranded the business to Corner Cafe Internet Cafe,” he told Vutivi News. “Once I completed the building, I needed more equipment like laptops and a printer because I wanted to open an internet cafe.
“I went to look for a job and was lucky enough to be hired for the Census programme.” Mpangane said that the job enabled him to buy a printer, more laptops and additional equipment. “I tried to apply for funding, but when I failed, I decided to do it on my own,” he said. “It was very difficult, but I learned how to be a better businessman along the way.”