Dutchess
Posted on 1 October 2019 by Geoff Bick
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Debunking 4 common entrepreneurial myths

An award-winning teaching case by researchers from the UCT GSB shines a spotlight on what it takes for entrepreneurs to succeed in the competitive world of business.


Cape Town locals Johannes Le Roux and Inus Smuts may not have set out to become role models for other South African entrepreneurs but that is what they have become. In the space of only three years, their non-alcoholic gin and tonic beverage, called the Duchess, has won awards and has been successfully introduced to overseas markets in the UK, Belgium as well as Scandinavia.

UCT Graduate School of Business researchers looked into their remarkable success and their case study, Drink The Duchess: Marketing challenges and opportunities encountered when SMEs internationalise, was recently awarded first prize at the prestigious 25th CEEMAN & Emerald Case Writing Competition. The study provides key insights into the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and also debunks a few common myths about entrepreneurship:

Myth #1: All you need is a great idea

While the idea of a non-alcoholic, sugar-free gin and tonic in South Africa was undoubtedly good — tapping into an upswing globally in health drinks as well as craft gin — the company’s success can be attributed more to the combination of background, experience and expertise of the founders. Le Roux was inspired by what he termed “the move to mindful drinking” while on holiday in Amsterdam in the summer of 2016.  

It wasn’t only about tapping into a more health-conscious, sugar-free and “clean lifestyle”. It was also about appealing to the hipster culture in Cape Town and creating an elegant, aspirational feel around a non-alcoholic, trendy beverage for adults. This meant developing a brand, creating awareness, positioning it in the market and spreading the word. Knowledge of online markets came into play too: for instance marketing less on Facebook and more on Instagram where beautiful imagery could be shown to better effect. A conscious decision was also made to stay away from digital channels which did not resonate with the brand, like Twitter. On the other hand, YouTube was used very effectively for short video clips on how to make various The Duchess cocktails.  

Myth #2: Launch your product and people will come

Le Roux and Smuts took their product to their customers. The Duchess was launched in September 2016 at The Honest Gin Bar in Cape Town, the owner being a personal friend of the founders. Then the two friends rolled up their sleeves and in December 2016, built and painted a golden drinks trolley and braved their way into three big media houses in Cape Town, serving editors and bloggers with a variety of cocktails made from The Duchess. 

Because the drinks were alcohol-free, they could be enjoyed at work — at 10am in the morning! This campaign paid off handsomely, there was plenty of exposure in local magazines and blogs and this idea was extended with other bloggers, creating an organic word-of-mouth awareness.  

Myth #3: I don’t need to have experience in the business I’m launching

You cannot open a B&B if you have no experience in the hotel or hospitality industry. Similarly, Johannes Le Roux had previously started Branna’s Draft and knew exactly what challenges they would face with The Duchess. Smuts says, “From the beginning, Johannes was consciously looking for something that could scale globally. I’ve always had that idea because he’s always had that idea; it was there right from the beginning.”

Smuts, on the other hand, has vast experience in media, design and advertising, with a host of creative skills, contacts and know-how that could be tailored into developing a brand from scratch. Le Roux and Smuts carefully developed their brand angle, outlining it in a 23-page document that lists photography guidelines, tone and voice. They developed their brand on four pillars: music; art, design and fashion; health and adventure; and food. These categories provided guidelines for the choice of events they could use to leverage brand awareness. For instance, a Valentine’s Day theme in Newlands Forest featured an exclusive pop-up picnic experience. 

Myth #4: All it takes is hard work

It takes so much more than hard work — you need a good partner, funding, marketing savvy, financial know-how and a passion for your product. A willingness to work hard is commendable but putting your energy and determination in the right place is key. For The Duchess launch in the UK, the London Junipalooza festival was chosen as the right venue. Smuts went straight to Ikea in London after his arrival, buying flat-packed furniture and a few household items to build The Duchess stand for the festival. It was one of the very few non-alcoholic options at the festival and a big hit — providing a sound foundation for the company to launch into the wider UK market.

The Duchess certainly faced many challenges too and the case study mentioned how they ran out of stock once, how they encountered a different market in the UK compared to South Africa as well as distribution partnership issues in international countries. But they were able to find solutions and were rescued, perhaps time and again, by the quality of their product. In the UK for instance, there are similar products on the market. But The Duchess is made according to a secret recipe with a key ingredient from Le Roux’s botanist aunt’s unique aromatic botanicals, along with orange peel, star anise, cardamom and cloves. As Inus puts it: “People see a non-alcoholic gin and tonic and they just wonder: what’s the point? And then they taste it and they get it.” 


Professor Geoff Bick is Emeritus Professor of Marketing at the UCT GSB and Fran Heathcote is the Customer Insights and Growth Manager at Accenture and a UCT GSB MBA (2018) Alumna. The Case Writing Centre at the UCT GSB was established specifically to develop and publish African-focused teaching case studies that are relevant to business in the sometimes unique and often confounding contexts of emerging markets. 


MORE ON Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Solving South Africas Problems Media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Solving South Africa's problems from the inside out

To change the world, social innovators have to first change themselves, argue academics from the UCT GSB

Read Article
Posted on 21 June 2021 by UCT GSB Press Office
Addis Ababa to Accra
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Only together can sparks of impact investing in Africa light the way forward

From Addis Ababa to Accra, Lagos to Lusaka, ground-breaking examples of impact investments are flourishing. The steady growth in this asset class, however, belies a fragmented playing-field.

Read Article
Posted on 25 May 2021 by UCT GSB Press Office
Siphosethu Komani Solution Space
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Q&A with Siphosethu Komani on the future of startups in Africa

The UCT GSB's Solution Space recently entered phase two of their annual E-Track Programme, in partnership with Ayoba. We spoke to Siphosethu Komani, about how the programme prepares its cohorts to be agile in the face of future shocks.

Read Article
Posted on 25 May 2021 by UCT GSB Press Office
Luvuyo Maseko
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

COVID-19 has nudged youth development towards 4IR, but gaps remain

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred organisations working in youth development to find new ways to reach their young audiences through technology, but without the basics in place, many of these solutions are doomed to remain isolated examples of excellence.

Read Article
Posted on 9 May 2021 by UCT GSB Press Office
Folu Okunade  - solution to Africa’s challenges
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Tractors may not be sexy but they offer a real solution to Africa’s challenges

As COO at Hello Tractor, a novel mobile platform that connects farmers to tractors as well as agricultural equipment, expertise and financial services, MBA alumnus Folu Okunade is working to connect under resourced farmers in emerging economies to the information age.

Read Article
Posted on 6 May 2021 by UCT GSB Press Office
Mutemwa Ushewokunze - UCT GSB graduate
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

UCT GSB graduate is banking on his country’s future

MCom alumnus, Mutemwa Ushewokunze, has returned to Zimbabwe after 20 years abroad, to help take the country’s banking sector to the next tech level.

Read Article
Posted on 6 May 2021 by UCT GSB Press Office
Mouna Akefli - Closing the digital divide and embr
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Taking the road less travelled is a choice we make

MBA alumna Mouna Akefli is not one to conform. Passionate about building a more diverse, inclusive and connected continent, she is determined to shake things up and her role as marketing manager for Ericsson in West Africa and Morocco is giving her new opportunities to do so.

Read Article
Posted on 6 May 2021 by UCT GSB Press Office
Jody - New business skills
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Rebuilding the SA economy more sustainably — and for greater impact

COVID-19 has devastated the economy, but it has also opened a window of opportunity for businesses to integrate smarter and more sustainable solutions into their day-to-day operations as they rebuild for the long-term.

Read Article
Posted on 20 April 2021 by UCT GSB Press Office
Impact Investing 2021
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

COVID-19: Impact investing’s inflection point

As South Africa marks the anniversary of its first lockdown we reflect on our journey toward a post-COVID economic recovery and how the systemic shift toward impact investing and other financial innovation may point the way to lasting change in the country.

Read Article
Posted on 1 April 2021 by Julia Woods Price
The backpack is too heavy - MEDIA
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

The backpack is too heavy: what schoolchildren are carrying into 2021

Many hope that the new year will bring new energy and stability to the education sector, but as the country finds itself still very much in the grip of COVID-19, there is much work that needs to be done to ensure that schools deal with the baggage of 2020.

Read Article
Posted on 28 January 2021 by Louise Albertyn
Ricardo Perez - media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Is design thinking an endangered species in the future of work?

With the loss of shared spaces due to the pandemic and a shift toward remote working, the practice of design thinking will need to adapt so that we can continue to harness its power to co-create and solve problems.

Read Article
Posted on 13 January 2021 by UCT GSB Press Office
Media_UCT GSB3
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

UCT GSB accelerator guides entrepreneurs through pandemic

Battered by COVID-19 lockdown, fledgeling entrepreneurs needed all the help they could get in 2020; the Solution Space at the UCT GSB quickly went online to make sure they were not left out in the cold.

Read Article
Posted on 15 December 2020 by Shiela Yabo
Cape Talk
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Power and privilege in the social justice sector

Social justice organisations play a vital role in addressing the many challenges South African citizens face. But what happens when the focus on external inequalities and injustices in society causes the same problems within these organisations to be overlooked? MBA alumni Ella Scheepers and Shamillah Wilson spoke to Kieno Kammies about their work in this sector.

Read Article
Posted on 7 December 2020 by UCT GSB Press Office
luvyo solange - media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Building a safety net for young people who drop out of school is everyone’s problem

Low attendance rates and lost school time are signalling a looming skills crisis for the country, as high numbers of young people are likely be lost to the education system and the economy across the next year. To solve this, we need to act together, and we need to do things differently.

Read Article
Posted on 3 December 2020 by Solange Rosa
Running a profitable - media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Giving initiative a chance to grow

Running a profitable and sustainable business while also making a worthwhile social impact makes things extra tough for social entrepreneurs. These enterprises urgently need more formal support to help them continue doing the good work that they do.

Read Article
Posted on 16 November 2020 by Mignon Reyneke
Sheila on entrepreneurship - media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Turning a tech innovation into a viable business

Why do so many tech startups fail? Shiela Yabo, Programme Manager at the UCT GSB’s Solution Space, recently gave a presentation at the Africa Tech Festival, where she addressed this and other questions around launching a successful tech startup, particularly as a woman.

Read Article
Posted on 16 November 2020 by Shiela Yabo
Cape Talk
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Bertha Centre partners with Build Peace 2020 Conference

Fergus Turner, Programme Manager at the Bertha Centre, spoke to Kieno Kammies about the Build Peace 2020 conference, hosted virtually in partnership with global non-profit, Build Up.

Read Article
Posted on 9 November 2020 by UCT GSB Press Office
peace image - MEDIA
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Calling all young South Africans who want to help build social justice and peace

The Bertha Centre at the UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB), is calling on young South Africans to join a global community of peace makers at Build Peace 2020, a virtual international peace-building conference that gets underway this weekend.

Read Article
Posted on 3 November 2020 by UCT GSB Press Office
Shiela Yabo Future Tourism - MEDIA
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Reimagining the future of tourism

Having received a hammer blow from COVID-19, South Africa’ tourism sector needs to find innovative ways to bounce back.

Read Article
Posted on 22 October 2020 by Shiela Yabo
Bertha Scholarship 2020 - media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Scholarship programme to foster a more just, inclusive and sustainable Africa

The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship aims to support a cohort of new leaders across the African continent with its scholarship programme, commencing in 2021.

Read Article
Posted on 20 October 2020 by UCT GSB Press Office
Funders are not seeing the big picture - Media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Funders are not seeing the big picture in South Africa

An award-winning case study on local digital animation filmmaker, Triggerfish, has highlighted the absurdity of lack of access to funding for SMEs operating in the creative space.

Read Article
Posted on 15 September 2020 by Mikael Samuelsson
Cape Talk
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Reimagining the future of tourism post-COVID-19

The UCT GSB’s Solution Space recently hosted a virtual Future of Tourism Bootcamp where participants were given the opportunity to develop innovative solutions to solve challenges amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic within the tourism industry.

Read Article
Posted on 15 September 2020 by UCT GSB Press Office
UCT GSB’S E-TRACK PROGRAMME - MEDIA
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

UCT GSB’s e-Track programme takes nine local start-ups to the next level

The latest e-Track programme, an initiative of the UCT GSB's Solution Space in partnership with the MTN Group, yields exceptional results as all participating teams progress to next phase.

Read Article
Posted on 7 September 2020 by UCT GSB Press Office
IS INVESTING FOR GOOD REACHING - MEDIA
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Is investing for good reaching its tipping point?

With sustainable investments increasingly outperforming traditional options, millennials - the recipients of the greatest wealth transfer in history — are queuing up to get on board.

Read Article
Posted on 28 August 2020 by Natasha Dinham
Young people can lead the response to COVID-19- ic
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Young people can lead the response to COVID-19

Youth Day reminds us of the role the young people have played in the past to drive change. In a world that is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, their vibrant energy and mobilising ability is needed more than ever — especially on the African continent.

Read Article
Posted on 15 June 2020 by UCT GSB Press Office
fennix
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Helping students bridge the digital divide in the time of COVID-19

Three MBA graduates from the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) are spearheading a campaign by Cape Town Education Technology fundraising start-up Feenix, to raise R6.6 million to get laptops, food vouchers and connectivity to final year and graduate students during COVID-19 — ultimately ensuring these students make it into the South African workforce.

Read Article
Posted on 8 June 2020 by UCT GSB Press Office
Cape Talk
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

The reality of emerging market challenges for entrepreneurs

Growbox is the subject of a teaching case study by the UCT GSB's case writing centre. Its focus is on the reality of emerging market challenges for entrepreneurs in Cape Town

Read Article
Posted on 1 June 2020 by UCT GSB Press Office
yuppechief - media video
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

SA company rises to the challenge of business evolution in the time of COVID-19

In 2019, online retailer Yuppiechef, made the unusual decision of opening physical shops; a move from clicks to bricks. This story, captured in a UCT GSB case study published last year, surfaced a business model that is supple in finding solutions and deeply customer-centric

Read Article
Posted on 20 May 2020 by Tim London
solange rosa rosa - media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

From uncertainty to lasting social value

While Covid-19 is wreaking havoc in our economy and our communities, it is simultaneously giving rise to compassion and innovation. Crisis has always been a driver of change, unlocking new ways of doing things, the question is can we sustain these into the future?

Read Article
Posted on 20 May 2020 by Solange Rosa
andrew smith - media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

UCT GSB teaching case study surfaces a business model of agility in action

The global pandemic is forcing businesses around the world to change the way they operate. One South African company, Yuppiechef, is demonstrating that the principles of customer centricity and agility are core to successful adaptation.

Read Article
Posted on 18 May 2020 by Mignon Reyneke
black child - media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Q&A with Dr Solange Rosa on social innovation and its role in building a better world

Dr Solange Rosa, Interim Director of the UCT GSB's Bertha Centre explains why social innovation is thriving amidst this pandemic, and what we can do to ensure that the benefits it is bringing can be sustained in the longer term.

Read Article
Posted on 15 May 2020 by Solange Rosa
NGOs today: Competing - Media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

NGOs today: competing for resources, power and agency

NGOs play a critical role in advancing social change and transformation, but their current funding model needs to be addressed for them make a sustainable impact in South Africa.

Read Article
Posted on 18 March 2020 by Ncedisa Nkonyeni
Innovation partnerships to tackle youth - Media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Innovation partnerships to tackle youth development

The Bertha Centre at the UCT GSB and youth development lab Lucha Lunako have teamed up to find practical and actionable ways to get young South Africans economically active.

Read Article
Posted on 13 March 2020 by UCT GSB Press Office
David Korten - Media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Q&A with Dr David Korten:

Our current economic system is driving us to extinction; that we need to change it is common sense says Dr David Korten, former professor at Harvard Business School, author and engaged citizen.

Read Article
Posted on 14 November 2019 by David Korten
AMINEXT HAS SHOWN MEDIA
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

#AMINEXT has shown us that gender-based violence must be on the agenda 365 days a year

The recent brutal and tragic deaths of several young women have shaken the nation and caused every woman in South Africa to wonder #AmINext?

Read Article
Posted on 19 September 2019 by Farhana Parker
The seeds of systems change are a
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

The seeds of systems change are all around us

In order to disrupt the systems that perpetuate outdated principles we must involve and connect the people who are most impacted by that change.

Read Article
Posted on 30 August 2019 by Ncedisa Nkonyeni
South Africa
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Four ways to give township entrepreneurs a much-needed boost

If township entrepreneurs are ever going to be the job creators that policymakers hope for, a major overhaul of mindsets and infrastructure will be necessary — and it will take a collaborative effort to bring this about.

Read Article
Posted on 20 August 2019 by Elvis Sekhaolelo
MEDIA-unlocking creative potential in africans
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Unlocking the creative potential in Africans - Dr Puleng Makhoalibe (PhD)

Unlocking the creative potential in Africans

Read Article
Posted on 22 July 2019 by UCT GSB Press Office
grant horsfield media
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Selling the Cape Town lifestyle in China - Grant Horsfield (MBA)

UCT GSB alumnus Grant Horsfield has built a rapidly expanding business in China that aims to provide a better lived environment - both at work and at play — and deliver a more balanced, sustainable and enjoyable lifestyle.

Read Article
Posted on 13 August 2018 by UCT GSB Press Office