Trailblazer: Lere Mgayiya

Founder: Lere’s Shoe Shine Experience

Why is Lere a Trailblazer?

With no tertiary education and after several unsuccessful business ventures, Lere saw someone cleaning and shining shoes, capitalised on the idea and started his own shoe shining business at Cape Town International Airport – with only two chairs.

He then extended the business into a franchise by training unskilled youngsters from the township to manage and own a business and become income-generating, contributing members of society.

Lere maintains that his speciality is “shining people” – making them believe in their ideas, their abilities and their inherent value as South Africans.

In his own words …

“I want to build other businesses that serve communities because I believe that my community, the African community, has so much potential of being a business on their own to stop depending on other people to make them stop being idle.”

Fast Facts

  • Lere’s Shoe Shine Experience stands currently operate at Cape Town International Airport, OR Tambo International Airport, Durban International Airport, East London Airport and George Airport.
  • On average 18-million passengers travel through South African airports every year, translating into 36-million possible shoes to shine!
  • Lere’s Shoe Shine Experience is endorsed by a number of celebrities, including Gary Kirsten, Mr Manshanyu, Natalie Du Toit, Francois Pienaar and Jake White.
  • Lere has won the Sanlam Money Game and the SAB Kickstart Competition. In 2004, Lere received a R50 000 grant from SAB KickStart, which he used to purchase additional equipment such as chairs and shoe cleaning accessories.

How can I help?

The next time you have a few minutes to wait at the airport, find a Lere Shoe Shine Experience stall and let them shine your shoes while you enjoy some light-hearted conversation. For more information, visit Lere’s Shoe Shine Experience.

Story published on SAinfo on 11 July 2008.
Source: Brand South Africa