Uzair Essack, Forbes 30 Under 30, Director of Riyp

Uzair Essack, Forbes 30 Under 30, Director of Riyp

Nov 23, 2021

Tell us about how you got started.

I got started when l was in University and one business led to another. I got the opportunity to export pineapples to Saudi Arabia, so l took the opportunity from there and starting building my business which has grown to what it is today.

What makes your company unique?

What makes my company unique is that we take fresh produce from South Africa and export it across the world and let them have fruits which they can’t grow and we supply them. We supply countries such as the United Kingdom and as far as the Middle East. What also makes us unique is that we are also taking that same fruit and we are generating products which are healthy which is very innovative.


No business is without setbacks, can you tell us about a time when you faced a significant setback and how you recovered from it?

A significant setback l had is when l had supplied a customer oversees with a million rand worth of goods and the customer didn’t pay me and it was very early in the business and l was very young in the business and l was in-debt quite early because l had borrowed money to send those goods and the customer did not pay me so l couldn’t pay back my investors. How l recovered persevered l could have quit right then but l realised things could only get better so l worked hard and put my head down and because of that focus allowed me to continue and allowed me to make the business a success.

How do you define success and to what do you attribute your success?

Success is being happy, being content and being able to afford the basics that you and giving you and your family the things that you need and want. I attribute my success to my creator, it is because of him that l have everything that l have today so l pray to him everyday and l call myself blessed and not successful.

What's next for your business, what will it look like in 5 years?

To be recognized as the preferred travel agent in Southern Africa. Through dedicated leadership, teamwork and humanity, we will demonstrate our consistent commitment to delivering exceptional services. To constantly enhance our guests' experiences through our passionate people, ongoing innovation and leading-edge technology. Our integrity, values and ongoing investment in our people will provide exceptional returns and ensure continued, sustainable growth.

What do you think the future holds for Africa-focused entrepreneurs and advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are just starting out?

My message to all Africa-entrepreneurs is to start small, build your business day by day, brick by brick it allows you to control mistakes easier and also control yourself easier and l would advice African entrepreneurs to export their products it allows you to reach markets with higher buying power and also earn foreign currency.

Owning a business while balancing a personal life can be challenging; how do you take care of yourself?

I invest a lot of money in self-care, l make sure that am healthy, l make sure that l eat good food exercising, getting enough sleep and make l also sure to spend enough time doing the things that l enjoy doing.

What is your favorite quote or mantra?  What keeps you going?

My favourite quote is by prophet Muhammed Salem Al Hadith which says seek knowledge from the creator to the grave. I live by that quote because everything l do and every single day l try and learn more and more even if its something small l just make sure that am always gaining knowledge.  

What is your favorite app or a business tool that you can't live without

My favourite business tool is WhatsApp, it allows me to speak to anyone, anywhere in the world instantly and you can either do it by text or voice note, call or video call you have many options although its very simple it makes my life easier.