The saying goes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in the mind of 2015 TEF Entrepreneur Tshepo Ngaleka beauty is also extremely good business. Her business Picadoo is an online one-stop-shop that promises customers they need never have a bad hair day again. Simply log on to give details of your location and the site will direct you to stylists closest to you; so much more than an online directory there are also hair advisory services, a portal where customers can buy hair for weaving and braiding (the preferred style solution for millions of women in Africa) and also browse galleries for ‘hair-inspiration’.

In her own words, Tshepo describes herself as the ‘captain of my own ship, the master of my own soul and the train driver to the future’, a bold statement to be sure, but one that speaks to the resilience married with sense of purpose and adaptability that are critical to a successful entrepreneur. The beauty industry is one that continues to boom in spite of global economic hiccups; a 2014 Euromonitor Report noted that the Hair and Beauty Industry in Africa is worth an astounding $1billion and as populations continue to grow this number will rise accordingly. Significantly, whilst individuals might economise in other areas of their life, hair and cosmetics, continue to play an important role, especially for the burgeoning middle-classes in urban centres across Africa with many international cosmetic companies from luxury brands such as Lancôme to middle market brands such as Dark & Lovely, competing forstyle conscious customers.

Ngaleka, is based in Johannesburg, South Africa arguably one of the country’s most dynamic urban centres and her service, which also offers a platform for emerging talent in the hair and beauty industry continues to grow from strength to strength.  A millennial herself, she understands the time strapped and choice pressed needs of her customers and by offering both the product in the form of hair, and service in the form of stylists she has synthesized both needs seamlessly. Her modus operandi is a clear reflection of the majority of businesses which increasingly are tech enabled and harnessing not only the purchasing wants but also the delivery needs of a 21st century customer.

Ngaleka was one of a cadre of TEF Entrepreneurs who had the opportunity to meet with our founder, Tony O. Elumelu CON, our CEO Parminder Vir OBE and our COO Owen Omogiafo at a country-meet up in Durban, South Africa that was held to coincide with the recently concluded World Economic Forum Africa. Among the many themes explored at WEF Africa was insuring Africa is prepared for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We believe Picadoo speaks directly to this preparedness – a business that has embraced technology as an enabler to reach more customers and empower its partner organisations.