Webbing a way ahead

2008-06-23 00:00

Although he had never touched a computer until he started studying information technology (IT) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in 2004, a local man has opened his own IT company, just three months after starting his first job.

After completing his studies for a national diploma in information technology at DUT last year, Mzuvukile Ndlovu (25) of Imbali started work at the Website Factory in Durban in January. By March, “I felt I had learnt what I needed to know about the business process, so I asked my employer to change my conditions of employment to a business-to-business relationship”, he says. He registered his company, Redo IT, and has not looked back since.

Ndlovu initially wanted to study engineering at DUT, but did not pass the aptitude test, which is how he found his way into IT. He explains that the first few weeks of his studies were difficult, as he had attended Singisi Comprehensive School in Kokstad which had no computer facilities. However, “after a few weeks I started to see the way forward”.

He was part of a group that completed its third year practical project at the Website Factory, which then employed him and two other students after they completed their studies. He says that as soon as he identified IT as his field, he began to look for opportunities and “my dream was to own my own IT company”.

Working from an office in Russell Street in Durban where he now lives, Ndlovu designs and develops websites, Internet applications and systems. He has a growing client base and has already developed about 26 websites. His original employer outsources web design to him. “I design and develop websites as well as hosting, maintaining and updating them. I have a range of clients, including companies from the security, food, construction and hiring sectors.” He does a minimum of five websites a month as it takes him less than a week to do one to suit the client’s specifications. He has not completed his own company website yet because “I want it to be a killer website, an example worldwide, so I am still working on it”.

Ndlovu says he owes his success so far to the support of his family, especially his sisters, Kholeke (31) and Lindo (27), DUT and Website Factory. His proudest achievements are graduating and starting his own company. “It was a tough decision to leave the security of employment and start something without any money, but one thing I was sure of is that you do not need capital to start an IT company. You need skills — which I have, thanks to DUT — a PC and clients.”

He says that for now, he is concentrating on using his technical skills to build his client base. “As soon as possible I want to divide the functions of the company into marketing, operations and management, and develop in those directions. Next year I want to introduce a card division to my business as most schools and colleges give their students poor quality registration cards. They still use laminated cards, which is not necessary, as much better quality cards are now available.”

Thinking about where he wants to be in 10 years time, he says: “My company must be very big, I want it to be international. In the next three years I want to expand into southern Africa, then the rest of Africa, and then worldwide. I believe in technology because it simplifies life.”

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