Cleaning up: Student entrepreneur Ludwick Marishane has never given up on the plan to get his cleaning lotion onto the market. His DryBath product has now scooped a global award, one of many accolades.
A novel lotion, DryBath, has won its inventor (and UCT student) Ludwick Marishane top honours in the Global Student Entrepreneurship Award, contested by students from more than 42 countries.
Entrepreneurship comes naturally to Marishane. His long list of achievements on the business front, achieved in a short space of time, speaks for itself.
In fact, the Limpopo-born, third-year commerce student came to UCT through an Allan Gray Orbis Scholarship after his business acumen was identified while still at high school. It was a sign of things to come.
Just recently, Marishane shared third place in the South African Breweries Foundation's inaugural Innovation Awards, pocketing a whopping R150 000 in prize money.
This after he scooped no fewer than six local and international accolades, thanks to his lotion, DryBath, described as a "bath-substituting product", invented and marketed by his company, Headboy Industries. DryBath is said to kill germs, moisturise the skin, and leave a sweet scent after it has been applied.
DryBath won Marishane the Audience's Choice award and the Most Promising Young Entrepreneur Award in the Singapore Management University's Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition in August; he was chosen as one of the 12 Brightest Young Minds in Google's Zeitgeist Young Minds Competition in May; he was named a runner-up in the start-up category of the Cape Town Entrepreneurship Competition in March; and he finished third in the UCT leg of the National Innovation Competition.
He has also been selected to represent South Africa at the Global Student Entrepreneurship Award event, for two consecutive years. This month, on his second try, he took top honours at the competition. In an event that began with nearly 2 000 students from 42 countries, Marishane will share in the half million-dollar prize pool of cash and in-kind business services, including a year of mentorship.
These triumphs fit in well with Marishane's goals. But it's been a long haul for him and DryBath.
After initial approval for DryBath, Marishane sought funding from 80 local and international investors - all in vain.
"They would tell me I was too young, or the idea wouldn't work, or the product would be too expensive for poor people," he explains.
That did not deter him, though, and he decided to enter a whole bunch of competitions to see if he could fund the business with prize money.
But more than just winning him cash, the competitions have helped Marishane expand his networks, and that is beginning to pay off.
He reports that the Accor Hotel Group has agreed to pilot DryBath at their hotels in December, to see how consumers respond. That may well land him his first big client.
And if everything goes according to plan, DryBath could go on public sale next year.
His tips for fellow students with a head for business? Read, research, network - and accept failure.
"As long as you're failing, it means you're trying."
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