Karabo Sepharatla, 32, started on the path to entrepreneurship as a teenager nearing the end of school. “I knew that it wasn’t for everyone and that failure would be an essential part of the process,” he confesses. His first business “Abafana Benyama???” (the Meat Boys) was a venture with his friend, Phillip Theron. He says: “It didn’t succeed but it sparked the entrepreneurial spirit – it was like pouring kerosene on a flame.”

What drove you to start your own business? Ownership. My parents have worked for the same large organisations for more than 30 years, with little recognition. I told myself that I don’t want that to be me. I remember in my matric year we were asked to write a letter to ourselves with the goals we would like to achieve by the age of 25. This letter would be sealed and then opened when you turned 25. I lost that letter but I remember one of my goals was to be running my own business.

What is your passion and how does it feed your success? I have a huge passion for travel, meeting different people and experiencing different cultures. My mother calls me “Ngwana strata” (street kid) because I love the road so much. This drives the success of my business as I get to let others share and experience my passion.

How many businesses have you started and were they successful? I’ve had four business before I started my adventure travel business, Camping Khapela. All of them were failures for different reasons. Camping Khapela currently has three part-time employees.

Who is your mentor or the person who inspires you? My father is the hardest working man I know. He put himself through school under some unbelievable circumstances. What he has achieved with the little he had is really inspiring. He went from herding cows to putting four kids through some of the best schools in Jozi. I look up to him as a father, husband and a person.