Friday 1 March 2024

Pushing the entrepreneurial envelope is Jerry Ramodike’s forte

By Kathrine Maponya 

Very few people are able to venture out of their comfort zones to discover their path to success. Trailblazer Jerry Ramodike has it in him. Ramodike is an entrepreneur who was born in Limpopo, Tzaneen. He moved around searching for work opportunities in different parts of the province. He ended up settling in his alternate location of Johannesburg, Gauteng province, to pursue his studies and work. 

During the initial stage of his educational journey, Ramodike quickly realized that university was not for him which led him to forgo his studies and he started working at an advertising company called ComutaNet. His career started taking off and he then worked for SABC as an accounts manager. When Gavin Mkhari and his partner Simphiwe Mdlalose founded a commercial Radio station, Capricorn FM, on November 26, 2007, he was fortunate to land a job there. He worked with some famous radio hosts such as Ahifa Shabba, Thabiso Kotane, Shandu Madima, and others. However, Ramodike was not satisfied. His yearning to find his own path drove him to leave the radio station after three years to find opportunities elsewhere.

In 2009 he started an advertising business, Tselane Media which has been operating since. Through this business he was able to build capital and knowledge base to start new businesses later. When others drowned in the misery of the devastations caused by COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 it was time for Ramodike to press the reset button and to put his ideas into action. His lingering spirit to find new paths for survival roared once more again. Relying on the experience gained from his Media business he started a music and lifestyle YouTube channel, “Tequila Gang”. Still, this was not enough. 

While hiking with his wife he decided that it was time to build a resort on a piece of land he owned for seven years. The land is situated in Limpopo province, a place that is significant and of sentimental value for Ramodike. His late parents were both from the province and he feels their divine protection whenever he is there. Hence building a resort there was one of his long-held ambitions but has been keeping it on hold because of daily life demands of running his other businesses. 

The tranquility of suspended activity due to COVID-19 lockdowns was a perfect time to finally put into action his ideas after the many years of perfecting his plans. Construction of the resort began around July 2021. As with construction projects on virgin land there were challenges to overcome because utilities such as water and electricity had to be connected. His experience in construction and development did not matter and he incurred high costs drilling water because they had to break big boulders to reach the water source. Instead of connecting to Eskom’s electricity grid he opted for the expensive choice of installing solar panels and generators to electrify the resort. When construction was completed, the new establishment was named Noko Resort.  “I am a go getter” says Ramodike. 

This is also the motto that drives this diligent and intelligent entrepreneur and relies on it in the face of trials and tribulations. Hence, he was not fazed or discouraged during the first phase of constructing the resort. He was personally doing menial tasks such as getting the bricks in his bakkie and driving long distances to get whatever that was needed. Completing the project on time was the reward for the diligent efforts Ramodike put in. 

The Noko Resort started with a hiking trail and shortly after a café was built which took three months of hard work, determination, and stress, says Ramodike. The resort offers a lot of amazing activities and services such as quad biking, mountain biking and a camping area for eight people and there is much more that is still in progress. Ramodike and his team are currently in the process of building apartments for overnight stay that are due to be completed around September. In future he wants to adapt the hiking model to fit lifestyles of black people. 

When asked what inspires him, he mentioned various quotes from innovative and relentless entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. For him these entrepreneurs are like him because they are all living testaments that if you want to change the world it is possible. In the face of jarring competition Ramodike is not intimidated because pushing the entrepreneurial envelope is his forte.   


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