Interview with Willem van der Merwe
Entrepreneur of the year 2017

The core focus of his business, African Biomass Company or ABC,  is waste wood recycling.   50% of every tree harvested ends up as forestry floor waste.   They offer a viable, cost-effective solution to customers who would want to recycle unwanted woody biomass into usable forms.

View the full interview below:

Below are a few points of interest taken from the interview:

Would you mind giving the name of your YouTube channel? For people to have a look at your machines and fun videos.

ou can search on YouTube,  African Biomass Company - ABC,  and find many videos about our work.  His wife edits and creates the videos.They have a passion for their machines more than anything else. They love what they do and apply their knowledge to the best of their abilities. 

How did you get to Entrepreneur of the year 2017 in a nutshell?

It all started with his HR Manager who entered them into a competition and thought it would be a great idea.

Once they were through to the second round, they started paying closer attention. They sent through a detailed proposal and went through the process until they were selected among the 15 finalists.They felt very privileged when they have been announced the winners.

At one of the speaking events you mentioned that money isn’t the only factor for being a success. Success is more than just making money. Would you quickly elaborate on that?

His personal philosophy is if you can add value to your suppliers, employees, and customers,  making money will always be the result of doing good work.Making money is not the focus of our business, it’s the result of a good company.

You are a successful entrepreneur when you can add value to the environment (nature and suppliers, employees, customers) around you.If you can tick all those boxes, then having an economically viable business will be the result of your actions.

Could you give us an idea of what morning rituals and daily habits work for you in your business?

The most important thing to remember with morning rituals is not to make it too complicated. Don’t create a regime to difficult to stick to because you might fail.Feeling a failure is never a good thing.

In the evenings, Willem reflects on what happened during the day. The good and bad. If something turned out bad and not how you expected, he will apply his mind and creativity on how to make it better. Think of how you can take control and advantage of the situation.Envision your goal and set up your diary for the next day.

Every day in your life is a given. Make the best of each day. 

Any advice for startup entrepreneurs regarding bad habits they must leave?

Look after yourself.    While on the journey of success, always spend quality time with your family.

Any two books you recommend startup entrepreneurs should read?

‘Losing my Virginity’ and ‘Finding my Virginity’ by Richard Branson.‘The Snowball: Warren Buffet‘The Business of Life’ by Alice Schroeder.

Any tips for startup entrepreneurs?

“Something great doesn’t have to be perfect.” – Richard Branson.   It’s not going to be perfect. No startup is perfect.

If you are too critical on yourself and a perfectionist, it will keep you back from being successful.

Focus on the things you can control and make a difference.Have an absolute clear goal and never lose focus of that goal. No matter what happens.The difference between success and failure is the ability to apply your research resources to get your goal by focusing. If you aren't focused, you will not succeed.