3 ways to make your innovative idea a success

17 October 2018 - 12:00
By Thango Ntwasa
Kusini Water uses macadamia nuts to purify water.
Image: Supplied. Kusini Water uses macadamia nuts to purify water.

Murendeni Mafomo was not always nuts about a career in science or being an entrepreneur. It still comes as a surprise to him that he now runs Kusini Water, an initiative he started to find a fresh way of addressing water shortages.

Mafomo sells 800 litres a day from his stores, with Red Bull as a major business partner. For each litre Kusini Water produces, it gives 20 litres to communities in need.

The company uses macadamia nuts as a means of purifying water. Inspired by international companies that used coconut shells, Mafomo thought nuts would be an effective alternative.

“South Africa is one of the world’s biggest producers of macadamia nuts so it made a lot of sense at the time,” he says.

While securing funding has been a hurdle, Mafomo says the most overlooked challenge he faced was finding a place to put together his products. At first he worked with the wrong people and wasted his money. Three years later, however, Kusini Water continues to grow.

Kusini Water.
Kusini Water.

Here are Mafomo’s three pointers to making your business idea a reality:

Make sure it is useful

“If you’ve got a great product and it is useful and you want to sell it to someone who needs it, you will overcome the obstacle of finding customers.”

Partnerships are the key to success

“Because it is so difficult to find funding upfront, partnerships will be the key to unlocking a lot of doors. So, you need to go to places like The Innovation Hub and build those partnerships. Find the right partnerships to build and leverage them.”

Never give up

“If you are passionate about something and you have the right experience, you shouldn’t give up. One of the most popular entrepreneurs, S’bu from Skinny Sbu Sox, was going through a difficult time and he was thinking of giving up. We need to accept that times will be hard but we need to keep pushing.”

Kusini Water operates in Limpopo and Gauteng and plans to launch a desalination pump at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.