Young Local Man, 24, Uses R820 to Start Steel Business During Hard Lockdown, Company Now Worth R7.5m

Young Local Man, 24, Uses R820 to Start Steel Business During Hard Lockdown, Company Now Worth R7.5m

  • After realising that becoming a pilot was not for him, Jeandre van Derhan dropped out of aviation school to gain knowledge about the steel industry
  • The 24-year-old worked for various companies where he learned where to buy stock as well as how to sell it
  • He grabbed hold of the opportunity to start his own business with just R820 when the hard lockdown hit, forcing many companies to close
  • According to Van Derhan, in the first financial year, he made a turnover of about R920 000 in just the first five months

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A young South African man, Jeandre van Derhan, went after his real dream after dropping out of aviation school to pursue entrepreneurship with just R820 in his pocket.

The 24-year-old now serves as the CEO and founder of Steelkor Steel and Pipe, a steel and pipe provider that launched during the hard lockdown and made almost its first million in just the first five months.

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Man, 24, R820, Start Steel Business, Hard Lockdown, Covid19, South Africa, Mzansi, R7.5m
Jeandre van Derhan grabbed hold of the opportunity to start his own business with just R820. Image: Stock Image/GettyImages
Source: Getty Images

According to Business Insider, Van Derhan realised that he was more interested in becoming a businessman as opposed to "sitting in a cockpit the whole day," he said.

With no formal education in the steel industry, the young entrepreneur relied on the knowledge he had gained from various jobs that he took on after dropping plans to get his pilot licence.

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"Right after school, I started working for a steel engineering company. I was appointed to buy steel for the company. That's where I got most of my knowledge," he said, speaking to Business Insider.

He went on to work for another steel company as a salesperson, where he learned the tricks of the trade about where to buy almost anything needed in the steel industry, both locally and internationally.

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When the Covid-19 pandemic hit Mzansi, all the knowledge Van Derhan had gained came into play.

"At that time, steel was very scarce because Mittal [ArceloMittal SA] is the country's biggest steel producer. While they were closed for three months, there was a big scarcity of steel. I knew where to buy the product where the public didn't know. I started the company based on that and then I started selling steel," Van Derhan told Business Insider.

When he started the business, the entrepreneur had R820 in his bank account, which he used to register his business, and he remembers that "that was the last money I had in my account," he said.

Van Derhan shared that many steel companies had been closed during the hard lockdown and he knew of a client that needed steel urgently because they manufacture for BMW, Ford and Toyota.

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This motivated him to start his own company and sell to clients through his business. At 22, he got his first client, who made it possible for Steelkor Steel and Pipe to generate R80 000. Within three months, the entrepreneur had grown into a monthly turnover of between R300 000 and R500,000.

According to Van Derhan, in the first financial year, he made a turnover of about R920 000 in just the first five months and more than doubled the amount between then and February this year.

Business Insider confirmed that his company is now valued at R7.5 million, according to Van Derhan, and employs five people. He is in the process of building another 600 square metre store, where he is looking to employ 10 more people.

South Africans were left stunned at Van Derhan’s success story and took to Facebook to share their views on it.

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Zolisa Mhlawuli said:

“I’m happy for him but he needs to be a bit more honest as to why he quit aviation school and how he started his business… Cause I’ve honestly just read a bunch of lies.”

Siaruli Rofhiwa Erick wrote:

“This fits well on privileged. This thing happens only with funding means.”

Lance Kay commented:

“Love this, SA needs plenty more entrepreneurs and way fewer politicians.”

Mista Timba replied:

"Having started the business with R820, Van Derhan's first order was worth R80 000 and he made a turnover of R920 000 within the first five months of launching. He should have told us how he financed that first order of R80 000 since he only had R820 in the bank and the company was new. He wouldn't have passed a credit check with any bank.”

Mzansi inspired by man who started a business with R350 Social Relief of Distress Grant

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In another story, Briefly News reported that a determined South African entrepreneur is living proof that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Sentle Kode used the little he had to make things happen and set up his vendor's stall.

Briefly News recently learned that he used his social relief of distress grant to start his business with just R350 for stock.

The grant, issued by SASSA is a temporary provision of assistance intended for persons in such a dire material need that they are unable to meet their families’ most basic needs. The R350 was Sentle’s saving grace and he worked with it.

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Source: Briefly News

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