FORMER Humansdorp resident Jackie Joseph, a teacher turned business owner, has always looked for opportunities - realising that no matter how small or undeveloped a community is, it also has business opportunities. Since starting the journey - at times lonely - of entrepreneurship, Joseph acquired hard-learned, but valuable, lessons along the way to becoming the founder and owner of Koukamma Quarry, which started operating in 2016. The Journey Joseph’s move from teaching to finding a niche in the business world has gone through a variety of stages – some of them harsh enough to make a lesser man change his mind. However, he used his problems as stepping-stones to carry him over some rough terrain before he reached his goal. Each of these experiences taught him an important business principle.His first attempt at becoming part of the world of economy was when he signed up in 2003 as a shareholder in a BEE mining project. However, he soon found out that he ought to have insisted on being part of the whole system, including meetings and negotiating contracts, instead of just being a secondary partner. Both he and his friend walked away with R400, finding out too late that the total worth of the business was R25 million, all of which went to the pockets of the men at the top, who disappeared quietly. This experience taught him to be included in all aspects of a business. Never give up He resigned as a teacher in 2008 to work on a community project that earned royalties from leasing land. Business boomed, especially when the Tsitsikamma area was inundated with Soccer World Cup tourists. However, politics involved too many bosses, and the project failed. This time he learned never to give up.“The third lesson came when the government decided to go ahead with building projects in rural areas,” says Joseph.This time around he found that opportunity and one’s vision must coincide. He grabbed the opportunity, bought gravel and stones from farmers at R80 per tonne, which he sold to a construction company for R180 per tonne - using the profit to apply for a mining permit. You need money & hustle Lesson four was that money, patience and emotional intelligence are successful partners. Joseph got his permit after three years and payments of R200 000, most of which came from his pension fund. He learned the art of waiting patiently and dealing with people respectfully.The next principle was to keep his eyes wide open and create fresh ideas.In 2016, without money in his business account and without clients, Joseph contacted MTO Forestry that was working in his area, “telling them that I was a member of that community and was willing to supply gravel and other material for construction.” The company helped him to scrape the material and with trucks to transport it. By the end of 2017 the young company’s turnover was R3 million and a contract with SANRAL. Much funding went into renting crushing equipment, but he pushed forward, and plans are under way to crush and supply material for one of the larger SANRAL projects. Get support from experts The next natural lesson was to get support from experts. Joseph became involved with the SAB Tholoana Enterprise Development programme, which offers an 18-month training course. This entails intensive skills training and access to funds and markets. The aim is to teach entrepreneurs the ability to run a business successfully. Nowadays, Joseph knows what is relevant about pricing, marketing and PR, finances and human resources. He bought a 3 tonne truck and is currently supplying sand and gravel to members of the community who want to enlarge their RDP houses.He has finally learned to diversify his business funds.Joseph is the founder and sole owner of Koukamma Quarry. “But my Tholoana participation has taught me not to put all my eggs in one basket,” he says. Future plans Even though his mining activities are successful, he plans to invest in poultry farming next year, aiming specifically at supplying eggs to businesses. He is at the same time partnering with other young entrepreneurs in his community.