From selling phones from his car, to making and losing millions, Quinton Van Der Burgh has had his fair share of highs and lows. This self-made billionaire has always remained a risk-taker, and even though those risks haven’t always paid off, he’s kept his eye on the prize.
Q: When did you know that you had a knack for business?
A: Not to sure that I would call it a knack to be honest, more so the fact that I’ve tried so many times and failed but managed to learn from those mistakes that has made me a good businessman.
Q: You come from an entrepreneurial family how did that influence you?
A: Incorrect – As a child, I had limited pocket money and had to work for it, I found myself selling sweets to my fellow students and friends, which taught me the value of money. I knew then I was driven to earn my way through life by dealing with people, networking, and creating solid business relationships.
Q: Why did you leave school and do you regret it?
A: I left school because I realized from a young age that the majority of what I was being “taught” was just not resonating with me. There is no single formula to success, the fundamentals for business and how to be a real entrepreneur are leant in the trenches, when things are really going “belly” up. My teachers had never been there or experienced these things and could never give me the guidance that I needed in these matters. This is when I learnt that although they may know a curriculum – that certainly doesn’t mean they know how to do business.
Q: Tell us about your first business venture? Was it a success? What did you learn from it?
A: I started selling stickers to children’s sticker books that would come in packets of crisps when I was still in school. I learnt that from an early age, supply and demand is a real thing and if something holds value in someone’s eyes, even something like a sticker, there are individuals who would be willing to pay for what they yearn.
Q: What drives you?
A: I am my own worst enemy to be honest. “good enough” Is not good enough, I strive for the best, and no not the best you have ever seen, but the best there will ever be! I’ve never wanted a mediocre life or to be lost in the wood work and I’m here to show the world that a boy with a dream from a tiny industrial town called Witbank South Africa, can make a difference on a world stage.
Q: Did you feel the need to break away from the family business at any point in your career? Or did you always know you wanted to work with family?
A: I worked for myself for years in London and then came back to South Africa to start Quinton Van Der Burgh Investments which has Burgh Group Holdings sitting under its portfolio, so no I haven’t always worked with family. In many aspects it would be easier to not work with family as there are less emotions involved.
Q: What is your current focus?
A: My current focus is to make Burgh Group Holdings the largest coal mining company on the African continent and we are getting very close to that #1 spot haha. Other than that a lot of my time is being spent doing philanthropic work through my foundation and helping those in dire straits of assistance. I come from a country where you do not need to look far to see the struggle that many are facing. I am in a position to give back and so I try and do as much as I can to make a difference.
Q: How do you see the business growing?
A: We have managed to directly effect more than 35,832 people this year and plan to achieve more in the years to come. Next year I am planning on opening a new clean drinking water well every month “I’m not just wanting to change someone’s life for a day or a month, I want to change their lives for life” – Quinton Van Der Burgh
Q: You seem to be getting involved in philanthropic projects, tell us about ‘Generosity’ and how did you become involved with it?
A: Around 6 years ago I came across an initiative which intrigued me and not knowing a lot about the brand or what it stood for I went out to an event of theirs and was blown away by seeing all of these high class celebrities trying to make a difference. Needless to say by the end of the evening I sponsored 4 wells to be built and realized that this was something I wanted to be a part of. I’m from South Africa and I see the effects of poverty everyday, this initiative made me realize that I just wasn’t doing enough in my personal capacity to help. So I decided to come on board as Global President for Generosity Water and help save lives. The rest is history…
Q: We hear you are publishing a book called “100 Making a Difference” tell us about it, who’s involved and why it was important for you to be a part of this project? When and where will it be available?
A: I first met celebrity photographer John Russo about a year ago on a shoot we were doing together when he told me about “100 Making A Difference.” I was drawn to the project and what it stands for as it showcases 100 or so philanthropic individuals from around the world who are currently making a difference through their own charities. This kind of selflessness drew me as well as Johns professionalism to the project. All proceeds go towards these foundations and has absolutely no leaks which I find is a problem with most charitable organizations. It is important to get the word out there and to let people know that no deed is too small to someone that has nothing and that the change in which we wish to see in the world starts with us.
Q: Are there certain staples you can’t do without?
A: Yes definitely. I am a creature of habit and can’t start my work day without me going to gym. I find it helps me clear my mind and plan my day effectively.
Q: Where’s your favorite place to travel to?
A: I am fortunate to travel all over the world and there is still no place on earth as picturesque as Cape Town. I have a soft spot for the energy and glitz of Miami but Cape Town will always be my number one, its home to me.
Q: What was it like making your first million? What was it like making your first billion?
A: It’s a great sense of achievement, personally to get to those mile stones there needs to be many small targets for you to achieve to make that happen. I now find myself chasing similar numbers but not in a monetary fashion, now it’s the amount of lives I have managed to change that gets me up in the morning.
Q: What advice can you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A: Persistence and a thick skin is needed in this game and nothing happens over night. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, its lonely and takes lots of hard work and sacrifice. Sacrifice of friendships, relationships and family but there is no better feeling than seeing an idea come to life.
Authors Bio :
An entrepreneur with his finger on the pulse of business, Quinton Van Der Burgh is one of South Africa’s ultimate success stories. One of the youngest billionaires, he is a true maverick with extensive knowledge of marketing, mergers and business development in the telecommunications industry; import/export; property development; automotive; industrial and trading and mining industries. As a philanthropist Quinton has made it his mission to help not only the people of South Africa but hundreds of thousands around the world. He founded the QVDB Foundation in hopes of making a difference for the people of South Africa and in doing so inspiring others to do the same. The QVDB Foundation has projects ranging from building wells in underprivileged area to development centers focusing on providing individuals with skills that they will need to go into the workplace. Additionally, Quinton has taken it upon himself to go beyond the clean water crisis and has launched the #ActofGenersity initiative to help as many South Africans to alleviate their burdens of outstanding bills in hopes to lighten their financial loads. – IG @QuintonVanDerBurgh / www.quintonvanderburgh.com