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Making a social impact and a profit

Feb 21 2014 12:18
Johannesburg - South Africa made a strong showing on Forbes magazine’s annual 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs In Africa list this year.

Jonathan Liebmann (29), the entrepreneur behind the trendy Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg's CBD, ranks 17th on the list.

He started his urban development company Propertuity (a combination of the words "property" and "perpetuity") to try and make a large social impact by transforming the urban environment.

Propertuity's portfolio now has 37 buildings. The company employs 28 people and has provided a base for more than 50 small enterprises in Maboneng.

Fin24 spoke to Liebman about his entrepreneurial quest:

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am an entrepreneur who is interested in creating a social impact, while making financial gain at the same time.

My interests are traveling and food.

How did you start the business?

I started the business in 2007 and Propertuity's first development was called Arts on Main in Maboneng.

What were the challenges?

Changing peoples perceptions about Johannesburg's CBD and convincing them that the city is worthwhile, both from an attractions and investment point of view.  

What is the recipe for success?

Do what you love. Persevere. Constantly innovate.

What advice would you have for entrepreneurs orpotential entrepreneurs?

Find an industry where you can add something different. Then focus on one core product for the first five years, until you are properly profitable.

What are your future plans?

To expand our development portfolio into Africa, while driving forward a massive expansion plan for Maboneng in Johannesburg.

What are the challenges for young entrepreneurs in Africa?

Funding, unstable governments and volatile currencies.

- Fin24

* Share your experience of setting up a business or simply ask a question. Our business panel can put you on the right path.

forbes  |  johannesburg  |  entrepreneurship


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