Paseka Lesolang is the founder and CEO of WHC – Water, Hygiene, Convenience. WHC produces several products that save water, most notably, the Leakless Valve.
Since 2008, he has started several businesses varying from branding, sales & marketing, bottled water, outdoor advertising and social initiatives. He has been extensively covered in radio (Motseding FM, Talk Radio 702, Power FM and SA FM), television (Rize Mzansi, Living Land, 48Hours, Morning Live, CNBC, Soweto TV), print media (Pretoria News, Daily Sun, Engineering News, SAA Magazine) and a ridiculous list of online publications.
Most impressive about him is the fact that he has all this media coverage and his company has won many awards for its products but he does not have a strong academic background. He has a qualification for Advanced Entrepreneurship and a Business Administration Leadership.
Q: Who are your top 3 celebrity crushes?
- Jessica Alba
- Janet Jackson
- Jennifer Lopez
Q: What will be your first indulgence with your first $1,000,000?
Tithing, Saving, Spending [on myself, family, some friends and associates], Reinvesting; to ensure that I add another zero to it at a fraction of the time it took me to make it.
Q: Tell us about your current business.
The company was founded in 2007 and trades as WHC derived from our initial product’s main aspect focus being Water, Hygiene and Convenience. Water represents our substance focus, Hygiene represents the Green Economy we serve and Convenience represents the innovative products and services we provide. We call this Wagienience; derived from the three words.
I founded WHC with the intention to solve a toilet problem that would eventually save water, sustain the environment and contribute to society. Initial inventions were in the garage of my grandparents’ house in Ga-Rankuwa, a township in Tshwane.
Today WHC focuses on serving the Green Economy and humanity, growing from strength to strength. WHC now consists of 7 employees dedicated to take WHC to new frontiers and beyond South Africa’s boundaries. WHC currently operates in The Innovation Hub.
Our main business operation is to introduce novel water saving technologies that are complementary to the conventional water faucets and applications; to make them more environmentally friendly. These products are intended for markets within our domestic reach and exported to international markets. Our main prospective customers are entities that can purchase in bulk to leverage us make the intended water saving impact, through the implementation of our products. Furthermore, we provide key services complementary to water management, supply and preservation for public and industry.
Our main prospective business alliance is the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), because DWS can make sure that our innovations are accepted and applied at scale, especially if there are incentives/subsidies/rebates for such water saving products. Other prospective business alliances are influential entities that are pro water conservation and preservation; this includes Green Industry entities in general. Collaboration with such enterprises’ catapults the desired water saving impact. WHC currently has ~20 stakeholders that have levered to this point.
We are working on Vision 2030 which involves products and services in the broader environmental sector, catering for public and industry.
Q: What sort of financial and non-financial support have you received in the past?
I have received financial support for product development, intellectual property protection, operations, marketing, SABS Accreditation, piloting, travelling and accommodation. I have received non-financial support for training, studies, document preparation, legal support, professional enhancement, research and mentoring.
Q: What do you love most about running your own business and what’s torture about it?
I love the fact that it allows me to express myself. I love the freedom it provides me – mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, financially, economically, materially, spiritually; holistically.
What is torturous about it is when sight takes too long to catch-up with the vision.
Q: Single greatest strength that has contributed to your success? Single greatest weakness that you’ve succeeded in spite of?
Strength = Faith. Weakness = “keeping in touch…”, including social media.
Q: What do you consider to be the greatest misconception that people have about running their own businesses?
Instant success, the “boss” does nothing, short hours of work for mega bucks in pay, life’s good, go to the office when you feel like it, money in the coffers for days, things will sort themselves out.
Q: Where do SA entrepreneurs drop the ball?
- Not believing in God or having the faith to move mountains
- Mismanagement of funds/lack of prioritization
- Blaming circumstances instead of taking responsibility
- Having an entitlement mentality and indulging in deconstructive activities
- Not valuing time
- Having the wrong team or no team
- Not taking advantage of small opportunities or platforms
- Not defining their competition
- Not having a mentor or learning from those who did it before them
- Not preparing themselves prior to exploring entrepreneurship i.e. mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, financially, spiritually, materially.
- Loving the idea of entrepreneurship, but not harnessing the characteristics thereof
- Not empowering oneself
- Not having a support system
- Indulging too long in self-help books, but not applying the notions
- Spending too much time planning without executing within the window of opportunity
- Caring too much about what “they” will say
- Not defining one’s own success
- Taking ‘NO’ personally instead of accepting the negotiation opportunity
- Comparing oneself to others without consideration of other fundamental factors
- Not controlling one’s thoughts and words
- Lack of integrity
- Being risk averse/ one foot in, one foot out
Q: If I was minister of Small Business Development, I would…
Focus on where SA entrepreneurs drop the ball and do by all means to utilise the policies and resources reserved, to ensure a better success rate and enhance the current successes.
Eh, my bra, realeboga!
If you want to get in touch with Paseka and/or WHC:
Tel: 012 844 0186
Facebook: WHC wagienience