I started my Dream Business After Appearing on Shark Tank South Africa’

TANYA BYRNE, 35, OWNS A SPECIALIST COFFEE SHOP. SHE LIVES IN ALBERTON WITH HER HUSBAND, BRANDON, AND THEIR TWO YOUNG CHILDREN

After years spent working in the corporate world, I took my first leap when I started working for the family business, a nail studio. After a while, I felt that I needed more of a challenge, so I decided to take another leap, this time more solo: I started my own birthday candle-making company. In just a few years, my small candle factory was serving a growing client base. I soon found a distributor which made the demand for my product greater.

I started my Dream Business After Appearing on Shark Tank South Africa’ Photo Gallery



When I saw an advert for Shark Tank South Africa, a reality show where entrepreneurs have to convince a panel of business moguls to invest in their start-ups, I decided to apply. I was convinced it was just the boost the business needed. After a thrilling pitching session to ‘the sharks’, Dawn NathanJones, who’s the CEO of Europcar, offered me half a million rand for 50 per cent equity in my company. This was a bold counter to my original offer, but I took it as I knew it’d only make me more determined to succeed.

My relationship with Dawn extended far beyond her investment in my company: she had invaluable contacts and she was so insightful when it came to the day-to-day management of my business. Her magic lies in investing in, and also developing, people. Thanks to Dawn’s help, I achieved what I set out to with my candle business – but there was a slight change of plan. Between pitching, filming and airing Shark Tank South Africa, another business came into my life, which couldn’t be ignored. Both my husband and I saw a gap in the market for a specialist coffee merchant store in our suburb. He was really passionate about the merchant side, while I envisaged a part of the store where I could serve coffee and café-style food.

We both agreed the new venture – Coffee Bean & GO in Alberton – would give a greater return on investment than my current candle-making business. While I still run the candle business, my main focus is on our new venture. We have big plans, and we hope to franchise it. Our risk-taking has definitely paid off: we’ve doubled our targets since we opened and business is pumping. I feel like all the experience I’ve had up to now has come together to bring me to where I am. Risks are scary, but they’re the only way to reap rewards – it may sound like such a cliché, but you need to dream big.

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