Entrihub is the central digital point for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Africa. Founded by Wafeeqah Lagerdien in 2018, the startup supports easy navigation through the entrepreneurial landscape by centralising and providing access to information available to entrepreneurs. Built as an online community, it also facilitates connections and collaborations with Enablers – organisations enabling small business development.
From accountant to techpreneur
The idea for Entrihub came about when Wafeeqah, a qualified chartered accountant, was working as an investment analyst.
“I was working on deals with niche SME financiers,” she explains.
“During my research, I found that there was actually so much support for SMEs but many entrepreneurs are unaware that these initiatives exist.
She then realised that the biggest challenge entrepreneurs face is not access to finance but rather access to the information.
“This was when the idea of the Entrihub was born.”
Launching the startup was a highlight, says Wafeeqah. She had been “quietly building my product for the longest time” and delaying her launch date.
“I tried to convince myself that it was because I wanted the platform to be perfect, but if I was honest with myself, it was my fear of failure. Eventually building up enough courage to put myself out there, launch Entrihub- come what may- was certainly my biggest highlight.”
‘There has never been a better time to be a fempreneur’
Despite the hurdles female founders have to overcome, Wafeeqah believes there has never been a better time to be a fempreneur.
“It is well known that females entrepreneurs face an additional set of challenges that our male counterparts generally do not and as such there are a host of initiatives designed specifically to support, connect and inspire fempreneurs. I was fortunate to be a recipient of such an initiative by a partnership between the UK-SA Tech Hub and Future Females. Not sure exactly what initiatives are out there? Logon to Entrihub.com to find out!”
Besides, Wafeeqah considers herself “fortunate to have grown up in a family of strong women”. Her mother and four older sisters are all entrepreneurs.
“Having first gone the corporate route, I guess I could not escape that entrepreneurial gene!”
‘A myriad of challenges’
The founder describes her journey as a roller-coaster ride.
“I’ve actually kept a journal and decided to blog about my entrepreneurial journey. Being a female tech entrepreneur of colour side hustling in South Africa brings about an interesting set dynamics and I invite readers to come along for the ride on www.leapingsideways.co.za”
“Information is the key that unlocks limitless possibilities”
Access to information is one of the biggest benefits of using Entrihub, particularly for first-time entrepreneurs.
“Entrihub helps entrepreneurs navigate the South African entrepreneurial landscape by giving access to information of all the organisations and initiatives created to help entrepreneurs – whether it be financing, mentorships, accelerator programmes, networking events. competitions,and so much more.
“After all, information is the key that unlocks limitless possibilities.”
‘The LinkedIn for Small Business’
Wafeeqah shares that her vision for Entrihub is for the startup to become the catalyst for entrepreneurship, not only in South Africa, but in the world.
“We aim to become the largest network of Entrepreneurs, Enablers. A place where every key player in the market goes to connect, inspire and inform. The ‘LinkedIn for Small Business’ if you will.”