Q&A with Allan Gray Pitch Award student, Tylo Stols

Name: Tylo Stols

Age: 22

Year of Study: Third year

Please tell us about yourself.

I am Tylo Stols, a 22-year-old Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Johannesburg. I was raised in Eldorado Park. I am the Director and CEO of TyX Holdings and an Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Candidate Fellow.

How did the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation fellowship come to be?

It was founded by Allan Gray to nurture students in their academic and entrepreneurial endeavours so as to make a sustainable and long term contribution in Southern Africa by creating a network of high impact and responsible entrepreneurs.

Please tell us more about the Pitch Grant Award.

Being in the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation ecosystem allowed me to apply for their IVC programme. This programme encouraged and guided me in starting my business and operating it. I then leveraged the resources and network created by the IVC to refine my business practices and ideas.  From there, I was invited to apply for the Founder’s Pitch Grant Award and submitted a pitch video and all the required documents. This process went on and in October (2021) the winners were announced. TyX was one of 11 Candidate Fellow owned businesses in the country to be awarded the Founder’s Pitch Grant Award.

Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?

I never really pictured myself working a traditional job or working for anyone else. Also, as I got older, I saw that job security was declining and entrepreneurship seemed like the most viable option. Instead of looking for a job, I would create one for myself and for others.

Please tell us more about your business.

TyX was founded around June 2020. I drew the logo on my phone a month earlier and I had the idea in my mind for a bit but in that time it all came together when Damilola Martins made The Smart Choice and became my first paying customer.

TyX performs digital services such as website design, logo design, graphic design, business consultation and social media management for small businesses. We believe that by helping small businesses have a quality and professional online presence, they will be more likely to succeed and therefore add to the South African economy.

At the moment, TyX employs two people apart from myself.

What advice do you have for students who may be interested in going the entrepreneurship route?

I personally encourage entrepreneurship in all its forms, whether it is for profit or for social benefit. I think that if you have an idea that you would like to pursue, do it as soon as you can, where you are and with what you have. Just start, the rest will take care of itself.

How do you plan to use your qualification in the future?

My qualification equips me with skills that I can leverage in the entrepreneurial world, such as teamwork, leadership and dedication. The technical skill and engineering knowledge will help me build, maintain and develop systems. I would like to think of my qualification as a tool in the tool box that I use to continually shape my future.

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