“Patience and perseverance are the keys to any successful entrepreneur.”
Donald Baillie is the founder and owner of Digital Peppa, a company that designs and provides improved media communications, eventing and ticketing solutions to the corporate market through mobile technologies and applications.
His entrepreneurial journey started in 2010 when he left the corporate world and started a wireless access service provider company called ViaCell. His entry into the market was unfortunately at the wrong time and this lead to immediate challenges within the business. “We had no business experience or access to mentors and the marketplace was already saturated” comments Donald. “Along with that, my then business partners wanted to do business that clashed with my personal morals and ethics so we decided to go our separate ways.”
In 2012, Donald and the lead developer left ViaCell and started their new venture Digital Peppa. “The first years were incredibly tough. Without any funding we bootstrapped every step of the way. We were fortunate to secure a contract through MTN and that helped us cover the basics.” says Donald.
Five years later and with an ever changing digital solutions landscape, Donald comments: “Our core focus has been custom app development but now we are shifting to drive sales of our own products to generate annuity revenue. These products include: uMoya – Our Church communication and cost saving solution; EventPeppa – our event management & ticketing solution; TeamPeppa – our Sports Team management and supporters app and PeppCom, our Residential Complex communication tool as they are now all ready for commercial release”
One of the core values of Digital Peppa is that their business is not just about the money. “I want our solutions to make a difference in the industries we target and change the way things are tradionally done.” says Donald.
Commenting on the future, Donald says “Without any failures I would never have learned the leasons I have and been able to turn them into blessings. I am naturally a determined person and my friends refer to me as the human rubber band because I am coninuously being stretched but I never snap!”
Digital Peppa’s growth plans are as focussed and determined as it’s owner with plans to open an office in Cape Town in the near future and further expansions into the African continent and ultimately a global business. Donald firmly believes that the talent and offerings available from South Africa not only compete, but often exceed those from more traditional international markets.
Donald was accepted at the Branson Centre in 2014. “My journey through the Branson Centre has been entirely uplifting and invigorating,” comments Donald “the skills I have learned have changed the way my business operates and has allowed me access to knowledge mostly reserved for university graduates. I can truly say that the course of my future has been entirely altered through my experience at the Centre and I feel absolutely blessed to have been given the opportunity to have been selected. The Centre has made me realise that with the right structure and planning, any business can become successful and that knowledge most definitely puts the power in your hands.”
Looking forward, Dolad says it is imperative that all companies learn to evolve with their environment. If you don’t you will be left behind.
In closing, when asked to share some insights and advice for other entrepreneurs Donald says “Before you embark on any new venture, do as much market research as you can and find out if there is truly a market for your product or service and if there is, plan plan plan!”