Today I am sharing on one of the business incubators in the Western Cape. It is called the Daily Grind and is led and pioneered by Dominique Adonis. Here is their story:

The Daily Grind Innovation Hub (TDGIH) started with the midnight of my soul really. I had been involved in youth development for over a decade through a programme that built character through principles and leadership skills.

However, one day I was confronted with the reality that even though the programme had a measure of success, young people were still getting involved in gangsterism, prostitution and social evils because their lived reality demanded that they get money by any means possible.

After months of intense feelings of depression and a loss of appetite, my husband made me breakfast, asked me to eat, and advised me to instead of “giving young people fish” to instead teach them how to fish.

I then found like-minded people to work on the framework, vision and resources for TDGIH. The Daily Grind has been operating for three years.

The vision is to promote economic development in under-served communities throughout South Africa. To provide services to entrepreneurs, youth- and women-owned businesses in under-served communities.

We want business owners to have access to the resources, intelligence and the support they need to help ensure that their businesses are sustainable and are profitable.

This mission of The Daily Grind Innovation Hub is to nurture entrepreneurship, innovation, and technological advancement, in essence, to transform job seekers into job creators.

We will do this by establishing a facility with space for thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs to get the support, programmes, coaching and mobilisation they need, especially now.

Our slogan “Democratising Access and Accelerating Enterprise Development”, translates to giving the small businesses of historically disadvantaged people access to what their business needs, such as programmes, mentorship, infrastructure, resources and business development services, so that their development and success is accelerated.

We are a non-sector hub, however we have a focus on youth and women-owned businesses in under-served communities.

Here are some key lessons that Dominique referred to:

The right people in the right positions going in the right direction will get things right. I’ve also learnt that if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together. Anything of value cannot be done alone, we need the right people!

I’ve also learnt that there is a solution to every problem and a strategy for every challenge; it’s a matter of thinking outside of the box. Take Covid for instance, the novel virus and the fear thereof posed so many challenges and problems, especially for small business owners, however, those who saw past the problem of lockdown and saw it as an opportunity, those businesses were the ones which pivoted, innovated using technology to not only sustain their businesses but in fact grow it despite the challenges.

When we received our funding to establish TDGIH, lockdown was just announced. We had to get creative, and we did, we took our programmes, mentorship and coaching online, which grew our reach and enabled us to continue to support small businesses even though we faced so many challenges. Lesson, see the problems but look for solutions, don’t be limited by the proverbial box, innovate

What encouragement can you give to young people who are considering entrepreneurship?

Money or the lack thereof is a reality, but what you will have to work on first is your mindset. Adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and the money will follow. I also strongly recommend that young entrepreneurs read great resources. Don’t stop reading works by successful entrepreneurs.

What are examples of a few successes within Daily Grind?

We are especially proud of our incubatees who daily grind at their small businesses, and have made themselves sustainable as well as profitable. Since our inception we’ve trained 20 young people in coding and 80% of them find themselves working and thriving in the ICT space.

Curtis Waterboer, like so many other young people from historically disadvantaged families, struggled through his studies by working casually at a local chain store, but wouldn’t allow his situation to determine his outlook on life or the dream he had in his heart.

Curtis saw the advertisement for coding with TDGIH and applied. Two bootcamps and grilling interviews later, Curtis was accepted into the coding programme. For the next 12 months Curtis was taught, trained and put through his paces in coding. He was also given training on entrepreneurship and lean business; as a result Curtis started his own business, Dissafyt Digital.

Today Curtis is thriving in the ICT space and finds joy in making innovation and digital solutions accessible to all.