“I can truly empathize with someone who has no money to pay for a funeral but is pressured for time because in our culture it must happen within a week or so. I hope to make a difference in these areas.”
Mokale’s story is not unlike thousands of entrepreneurs who set their sights on the independence and financial freedom of being one’s own boss. What sets him apart is his genuine motivation to make a difference specifically in the lives of South Africa’s lower LSM bracket.
“I have a view that in South Africa, even though corporates target the lower end of the market, they still don’t get them, they don’t understand them. Even with myself, its easy to call myself Black/African and think I understand the market, but I know that there is a lot we can still do to understand it.”
A self-proclaimed village boy, Mokale grew up in rural Thaba Nchu in the Freestate and only became a big city boy when his Uncle and mentor brought him to Johannesburg to stay with him. His Uncle was a classic entrepreneur who instilled the seed of entrepreneurship in him from a young age by reminding him that although school had its merits, the true reward lay in never having to work for anyone.
Unlike most of Africa’s burgeoning entrepreneurs who come from humble backgrounds, Mokale has an extensive background in the corporate market. He climbed the ladder at Hollard Insurance. When Hollard decided to franchise some of their distribution outlets, the entrepreneurial seed within Mokale sprouted and bloomed. He quickly grasped the model of setting up a branch and sustaining it with the work of field officers who would penetrate the community. The model paid homage to the wise old adage that “Insurance is sold and never bought”.
“I spent 8 years working in a corporate job that focused on that LSM market segment. Reflecting on where I was then and where I am now, I can also see the disconnect of what I thought I knew and what I’m actually seeing on the ground, especially on how people provide services. Language is important and people are intimidated by the insurance jargon. People really want to be able to sit with you, belly to belly, and say, please explain to me what you do.”
Mokale believed in this model and made the decision to establish his own business, KDO Group (PTY) LTD. When asked about the biggest challenges he faced in becoming an entrepreneur, Mokale cites two main obstacles. The first was limited access to funding and start-up capital, and the second was anxiety about whether the business was a worthwhile investment. He found that leaving the security of corporate work to open a business was daunting.
Mokale officially started his business on the 1st December 2015 with three branches and twelve employees. Mokale now employs 32 more people mainly consisting of youth.
The immediate objective for KDO Group is to create a centre of excellence around face-to-face distribution. In the next 5 years Mokale wants his business to diversify and become the go-to for any company that requires their product to be distributed via face-to-face interaction. Mokale Sekhute proves that discipline, courage, and humility are vital links between goals and accomplishments.
Mokale is currently seeking investment partners for KDO Group.
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