Tshireletso ‘TY’ Hlangwane recently walked away as the winner of The Workspace/MiWay Business Insurance Entrepreneur Competition.
Hlangwane is the creator of Loyal1, a cloud-based loyalty management platform for small to medium businesses, which allows shoppers to digitise existing loyalty and rewards cards in one app.
Businesses can create profiles and reward customers in an app-based platform, create loyalty plans and communicate with customers from R99 per month.
Hlangwane is thrilled with the win, saying, “I was expecting top three, but not expecting to win the competition.”
How Loyal1 came about
The concept for the app came about from Loyal1’s chief sales loyalist, Tshepiso Manyoha, who was sick and tired of having too many loyalty cards in his wallet.
“Rather than carrying 15 cards, you carry one app, and instead of having 15 different apps for your different stores, you just carry one app,” Hlangwane explains.
“When I first came in, my pitch was very all over the place. But as the judges took us through the different stages of pitching and how to structure it much better, without staying too much, the pitch structure became a lot better and we realised what was wrong with it,” he explains.
Having entered online, Loyal1 was one of top 20 businesses that were brought to pitch. This was narrowed down to 10 and those business people were taken through a pitch workshop. Their next pitch whittled the competitors down to the top five, and those people went on to another workshop. A final pitch led to Loyal1 being named the winner, with Sinde’s Best for All (an events and catering company) coming second and mining company Minatlou 251 coming in third.
Big plans in future
Hlangwane punts a “big update that is coming very very soon that is going to wow everybody”, hinting that Loyal1 will become a one-stop-shop for shoppers, going beyond just loyalty programmes.
Asked about the importance of tech and tech developments in today’s world, Hlangwane says, “It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, we need to find new ways to innovate everything. It’s pretty amazing some of the apps coming out now, and we’re moving in a completely different direction in the world”.
Why Loyal1 won
Mari Schourie, CEO of The Workspace, explained that what initially intrigued the judges about Loyal1 was the great idea and concept.
“We had to keep an open mind and really understand each business and the potential it had to make a difference within an industry. Ty really took in everything he could learn; each time they pitched to the judges you could really see the improvement and his confidence lifting,” she said.
Willie du Plessis, head of sales for MiWay Business Insurance, said he based his decision on the viability of the concept, the potential market and demand for the product/service, its financial feasibility and return on investment, as well as the finalists’ passion and belief in their product.
“Tshireletso presented a well-planned strategy and financial forecast for his product, and he showed great belief and passion,” du Plessis said. “It is a product relevant to our everyday lives, in both private and business sectors and could potentially change the way in which we deal with reward schemes, thus providing him with a vast marketing reach.”
Phakiso Tsotetsi, who worked closely with the entrepreneurs as the competition progressed, was impressed with Hlangwane’s business. “He was consistent and has such determination to build his company. He’s also one of the few who’s getting into an industry that does not have many black players and his model is to own that space by getting the current players to be on his platform! That’s bold,” said Tsotetsi.
As the winner, Hlangwane was given a slew of prizes, worth over R350 000. The business will receive 12 months free office space at The Workspace’s Village Road operation for up to four people, free Wi-Fi, free phone rental, free business insurance and business advice, as well as all risk equipment insurance, free tea and coffee, free usage of meeting and board rooms, free security and 24-hour access, free parking and a new laptop.
Other useful business prizes have been added too. These include a brand new responsive design website and content management system, logo and corporate identity design, SEO and social media set up as well as training in how to keep digital collateral up to date, worth R25 000.00 from Web Artist.
Opulentus Wealth are rewarding Loyal1 with a bespoke share portfolio worth R10 000, Business life stage Risk Assessment, estate planning for the directors and shareholders valued at R15 000 per plan, advice on managing and improving cash flow with the business (R10 000) and tax advice for the business (R5 000).
Oxigen will build the company a compelling brand communication strategy as well as offer two strategic sessions worth over R50 000.
Loyal1 can be downloaded from the Android and App store.