#EntrepreneurMonth: The humble beginnings of a bicycle courier company
Access to health services is a challenge for many throughout the country, but most especially where access to transport to or from a local clinic for medicine collection is limited. Iyeza Health, the brainchild of two young entrepreneurs, Sizwe Nzima and Siraaj Adams, started off as a bicycle courier company to ease the burden of medicine collection for their community. It is now a fully-fledged medical logistics company, servicing customers nationwide.
We caught up with Nzima and Adams who were named this year’s Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year winners in the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year competition sponsored by Sanlam and Business/Partners.
What is the story behind Iyeza Health?
We started as a delivery company using bicycles to deliver chronic medicines from clinics to patients’ homes in townships. We have since evolved into a leading digital health company with logistics capabilities.
Congratulations on the recent Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year title you scooped at the annual Entrepreneur of the Year competition. What does this mean for your business?
Thank you, it means we have been recognised for a successful year and our clients have been impressed with the accolade. This is going to help us open doors to new opportunities.
Your business model has since evolved to include digital healthcare software and medical devices. In your opinion, what is the role/advantages of digital in entrepreneurship?
It allows for bootstrapping and quick impact on a low budget. But having an app is not enough - you require a sound business model to support the platform.
What do you believe are the traits an entrepreneur needs in order to succeed?
Personality, perseverance, patience, and good partners.
Tell us a bit about your biggest struggles as entrepreneurs as well as some major highlights.
Waiting for contracts to be signed off, that affects cash flow tremendously as a startup.
Why would you encourage someone to become an entrepreneur?
To become self-reliant and add value to your own bottom line – not simply adding to the bottom line of a large corporate as an employee.
What is the importance of entrepreneurship - especially in a country such as South Africa?
Through entrepreneurship, we are providing the youth with job opportunities and skills development.