Starting students

Published on August 9th, 2011
Starting students

Can you briefly explain what you do?
We run a screen-printing business. We basically do bulk printing on any clothing, mostly T-shirts.

What inspired you to start the business?
We had always wanted to start a venture at a young age. We didn’t want to adopt the mentality of waiting for the ‘right time’ to start, as we knew that this is the biggest mistake made by most people who aspire to be entrepreneurs.

At the end of our first year of university, having saved up money the whole year, we decided to research different industries as we now had some sort of capital to help us start. We came across the printing industry and realised that there was so much room for growth and it also particularly sparked our interest. We then bought our first screen-printing equipment, went for training, registered as a close corporation and started immediately.

So our main inspiration stemmed simply from the desire to be independent entrepreneurs who could make money in order to employ people and ultimately help fund our desired organisations, such as our local church.

Was there a need in your community, or did you just see a profitable venture?
There was no specific need in our community; however, we did see an opportunity to make a profit in an industry that was run by a few main businesses.

What was the most challenging part of the start-up process?
It would definitely be proving ourselves to potential customers. Being a new business and breaking into the industry is one thing. However, being 19 years old and approaching large corporates to have us do their printing is something else. So I think it would definitely be having people take us seriously as young entrepreneurs.

You are both full-time students studying at the University of Cape Town. Are there any challenges in running a business and being a full-time student?
Time management is definitely a huge challenge. Studying a degree in commerce at UCT is very demanding of your time, which makes running a business at the same time a huge challenge. We had to learn to prioritise our time strictly and in doing so, we were able to balance university and the business as best we could. However, approaching our third year at university, while running an expanding business, became a bit too overwhelming and we then made a decision to employ someone to work for us on a full-time basis.

What are you studying and are your studies going to benefit the business?
Aldrin: Business science finance degree, ultimately heading towards a CFA qualification (chief financial analyst)

Murlin: Business commerce degree, ultimately heading towards a CA qualification (chartered accountant)

Studying these commerce degrees will, and has already, benefited us greatly in running our business. Everything that we are studying is interlinked to the world of business and increases our knowledge of the most effective and efficient way of running an enterprise.

Where do you see the company in the next five years?
At the moment we are only doing screen-printing, however, in five years’ time we definitely see ourselves expanding into all types of printing. For example, heat pressing, banners, paper etc. With this we would obviously want to be employing a greater group of staff.

Do you have any words of advice for budding entrepreneurs?
All you need is initiative. Having an idea is great, but taking active steps to materialise that idea is what sets you apart from the large pool of dreamers. Obstacles are completely natural; nothing runs smoothly from the very start. You have to be open to the learning process that comes with being a young entrepreneur.

To find out more about 3Q Printers and get in touch with them, you can check out their website, http://3qprinters.yolasite.com/