HUGO LA GRANGE is a shareholder and sales manager at Touwsberg Private Game and Nature Reserve, about three hours' drive from Cape Town in the Little Karoo.
It is a self-contained biological and geological eco-system and home to a variety of fauna and flora. The reserve also offers property for rent or purchase.
Fin24 talked to Hugo about his journey as an entrepreneur.
Tell us a bit more about yourself:
Upon leaving school, I began a career in property sales for a developer, which is where my passion for property sales and investment began.
I’m the third generation of the La Grange family to work and live at Touwsberg Private Game and Nature Reserve, and my interest and core passion lie in sustainability and eco-friendly living. The industry is taking a very positive turn towards more sustainable development and ever-growing technology and development keep this industry dynamic.
Tell us about your business:
I have been involved at Touwsberg with my business partner Bruwer de Jager. We have taken on the responsibility for marketing and property sales at Touwsberg and inevitably we are getting involved with some of the building activities due to our joint experience in construction and civil engineering.
I enjoy the creative side of the marketing and being able to share the reserve with prospective investors and guests is an absolute pleasure.
How did you become an entrepreneur?
I was born into a family of entrepreneurs. My grandfather, Jacobus la Grange, was a very successful farmer along the foot of Touwsberg. My father, Dr Freddie la Grange, and his wife Ingrid developed the Touwsberg Private Game reserve and my mother, Jane Louw, has been running her two guesthouses on the West Coast for more than 20 years.
In our household the entrepreneurial spirit was a part of our daily routine.
What were the challenges?
Touwsberg is one of a kind, especially when the project started in 2007. It has always been a pioneer in so many ways. It took the courage, passion and drive invested as a collective effort of my father, the developer, shareholders, the builder and architect.
The project was built on a vision with absolutely no guarantees. Touwsberg is a testimony to all South Africans to show what can be achieved if you collaborate and invest all your energy into a vision built upon a module where the benefits and value is shared among all parties involved.
Our biggest challenge was proving that our pioneering project is possible and sustainable, even through the worst economical cycles for property developments, namely 2008 and 2009.
What is your recipe for success?
Hard work, enthusiasm and integrity.
What are your future plans?
My vision for Touwsberg Private Game and Nature Reserve is to share the message with people all over South Africa, and the world so that they are able to own their own slice of Africa in our natural and safe environment.
Any advice for prospective entrepreneurs?
Follow your passion, because if you don’t believe 100% in what you are doing, you won’t make it through the challenging times to get to the rewards of being an entrepreneur.
Knowing that my work adds value to the natural environment and the families who are involved, is what motivates me in the long run. The residents of Touwsberg Private Game and Nature Reserve show genuine care and appreciation for this Little Karoo paradise which, for me, is the driving force. The true value in building on something lies in the ability to share it.