Lloyd Babedi | Barkzz World
Programme sponsor: Shell
“I’ve learned to focus on other aspects of my business besides the actual project work, such as marketing and implementing systems and processes”
I am a person living with a disability and founded Barkzz World to increase awareness about disabilities and some of the stigmas associated with it. We do this in three ways: motivational speaking at corporate events, providing DJ services at events, and selling branded clothing.
In the beginning, getting funds to start up was a big challenge and so was finding the right support to understand how to run a business. I also felt that my disability resulted in people not taking me seriously and this affected my confidence. When I found out about the Shell LiveWIRE programme with Raizcorp on FaceBook in 2014, Barkzz World was a registered business but more of a hobby than anything formal. I applied for the programme anyway and was shocked when I got a call to go through the selection process.
Being on the Shell LiveWIRE programme changed my view on business for the better, especially because I was surrounded by people who believed I was a capable entrepreneur. This positively increased my level of confidence in myself and my business which as a result grew stronger. The learning classes I attended helped me understand how business works, and gave me direction on how I could formalise my business more. It also helped me to understand my target market. Being able to have one-on-one meetings with a Raizcorp strategy guide and a finance guide helped me create more structure in the business and gave me the confidence to approach potential clients.
After completing the programme, Shell identified my business has having the potential to be part of their supply chain and in June 2015 they commissioned Barkzz World to provide motivational speaking services at a contracting and procurement event in Cape Town – an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world! I have since done other events for them.
These days Barkzz World has four employees. We are working on a project to start our own DJ school to teach people with disabilities about the entertainment industry.
My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is never give up and always remember that your business dream is not just a dream but a way of life.
I am very grateful to Shell for giving me my jumpstart opportunity and for the business they still give me. Thank you to Raizcorp for the knowledge. I always used to hear people saying that knowledge is power but only realised how true this really is after being on the programme.