Entrepreneur hoping to cash in on TV show

Thulani Gqirana

A NELSON Mandela Bay entrepreneur has been chosen – from 25000 applicants – to participate in season two of The Big Break Legacy.

Ismail Hassen, 32, made the top 30 after a gruelling process and is hoping to walk away with a R5-million investment. The show aims to demystify entrepreneurship by educating and empowering those with true entrepreneurial flair.

Hassen, managing director of CSR-Africa, decided to enter so he could show how much the Eastern Cape had to offer in terms of business and leadership. His company has branches in Uitenhage and KwaZulu-Natal.

“Most of the time you find that with leadership roles, Johannesburg and Cape Town are well represented.

“Even now, we are sitting with a situation where eight of the finalists are from KZN,” he said.

“The first couple of interviews for The Big Break Legacy were nerve-racking. But after a while, I built up my confidence and decided to show the world what I have to offer. I want to show up-and-coming entrepreneurs how to develop business models to minimise risk, which I’ve implemented in my own company. “

The Gelvandale businessman established his company in 2009, which quickly positioned itself in a niche market within the shipping container industry.

They were the only company in South Africa and Africa that offered expertise in repairing specialised accident damage shipping ISO containers.

Last year, they developed and manufactured a special purpose bulk bitumen box container (Bitu-Box) to transport 25000l of the product.

“Once the Bitu-Box has been patented, we will manufacture the containers at both the KZN and Eastern Cape branches, which will create jobs over the next two years.”

Hassen, who has a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, said making it this far in the show was proof that sacrifice paid off.

“I’ve worked hard to get here. It took passion, sacrifice and commitment to being a sustainable businessman. This is one of the greatest platforms where entrepreneurs can support each other.”

The soft-spoken Hassen said he enjoyed giving motivational talks around communities and sitting with organisations that needed help in Nelson Mandela Bay as he was passionate about bringing development to the city.

“Every new project I have, I roll out in the Eastern Cape even though CSR-Africa is well established in KZN.” Hassen went to Gelvandale High School but matriculated from Newton Technical High School.

The show starts on SABC 2 on May 4.

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