Introduce yourself, what is the nature of your business?

Riversands entrepreneur Joel Kaplan is building thinking clubs and tech labs for schools and homeschooling communities. He sees his business – Thought Africa – as being a catalyst in the education arena.

What inspired the launch of your business?

Between the ages of nine and 14, Joel was under the guidance of a strict old Scotsman in his neighbourhood who worked with electronics in his garage filled with tools and other interesting things. Joel became his ‘apprentice’ and assistant. This hands-on experience satisfied Joel’s enquiring mind which didn’t necessarily conform to the school curriculum.

How did you know there was a market for it?

Parents will never say no to further their children’s education and logic says that youngsters represent a huge market.

Joel Kaplan, entrepreneur behind Thought Africa, is bringing thinking clubs and tech labs to youngsters.
Joel Kaplan, the entrepreneur behind Thought Africa, is bringing thinking clubs and tech labs to youngsters.

How did you raise startup capital?

With sales, which happened by knocking on doors – doors of private schools, government schools and homeschooling associations.

Describe your business model and how you make money?

Thought Africa has two revenue streams, the first being the set-up of tech labs where children congregate and the second is via a monthly membership of R345 inc VAT which parents pay for their children to use the labs and engage in Thinking Africa activities.

What challenges have you faced and how did it overcome them?

Joel’s main problem is cash flow management. He asks the question of how is capital best reinvested in the company? And where will be the highest return on investment? 

What was your first big breakthrough?

Joel is pleased to say that the first big breakthrough in the business came in the form of a contract with a JSE-listed company.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

Google for Business; Pipedrive; Xero; Todoist

What marketing strategy has proven profitable for your business?

Targeted Facebook ads work well for Thought Africa.

What remains a challenge for your business today?

Strategic financial planning remains a challenge for Thought Africa.

What was your biggest business mistake?

Blaming other people for any short-comings but Joel soon realised that all responsibility falls on him. 

Please share your business website and social media links…

  • Instagram: Thought Africa
  • Facebook: Thought.Africa

Author Muzi Mohale

Welcome to where I showcase small beginnings to inspire the next entrepreneur in you. It's a journey worth tapping into, many life lessons get to be experienced, money made and money lost...You're welcome to share your entrepreneurship journey with my audience.

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