Hi! Kirsty here. I’m a tech entrepreneur living between Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa. I believe that SMEs and entrepreneurs are able to solve a lot of South Africa’s (and the world’s) problems, so that’s why I have three of my own businesses. Well, either that, or I’m a sucker for punishment.
Aside from that, I work to travel. Seeing the world is an education in itself, and I never want to stop learning.
How did I get here?
I’m a Wits Business School graduate, having a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management (PDM) to my name after completing my BBA at UNISA. During my studies, I worked as a model and actress, appearing regularly in TV commercials and magazines and being selected as part of FHM’s Hot 100.
First Steps in Entrepreneurship
Upon completion of my PDM, I was hired by Aurik Business Incubator where I worked under Pavlo Phitidis. Through my exposure to the incubation process, I found a passion for entrepreneurship and began exploring opportunities.
At the age of 24, I decided to leave Aurik and pursue a career in the digital space, but couldn’t find work at any of the major agencies.
Creating a STIR
Frustrated, I decided that to take the leap of faith that the agencies wouldn’t and back myself. In August 2012, I opened STIR, a digital marketing agency. In an interesting twist, STIR was launched on the back of 702’s R1000 Challenge – an interesting experiment in which Pavlo Phitidis and 702’s Bruce Whitfield each attempted to open a business and turn a profit with just R1000 in startup capital. In the first month of operation, STIR took on the marketing of six of Aurik’s incubator clients and then began consulting to brands such as MTN, Anglo-American and Rich’s, turning over R54,000 in that first month. From there, STIR has grown year-on-year into a formidable digital marketing agency, working with the likes of Edcon, SA Natural Products, Ultra Liquors, Serta, Accenture, Lodestone, Toys R Us, RE/MAX, and more. In July 2016, STIR launched our first US-based client into the digital space and, in 2018, expanded to the UAE.
With STIR thriving, I was looking for further opportunities when I was approached by a pair of Gauteng businessmen who own a large meat distribution business. The pair felt there may be an opportunity to sell meat online and a few months later, Braai Free was born. Braai Free delivers AAA-grade quality meat, frozen meals, condiments and desserts across Gauteng to your door at very competitive prices.
Three’s a crowd
In 2017, I launched Steam Punk’d with two partners. We locally produce and distribute steam-punk inspired décor and accessories to consumers, retail, and restaurants.
I’m not all work
Aside from my tech and digital ventures, I love putting finger to keyboard, writing on entrepreneurship, digital innovation and women’s issues for a variety of websites and blogs. I’m also regularly called on to speak at conferences and events, specifically driving thought leadership in the digital industry.
I’m an avid snowboarder, makeup obsessed, a fitness fanatic when I’m in the mood, and have a love for reading. I’m also very passionate and outspoken when it comes to gender inequality, and am committed to growing awareness of this imbalance to drive change.