Gumtree South Africa has revealed that close to 200,000 small businesses make use of the platform to promote their services, while over a 100,000 product ads are posted by individuals who consider themselves to be professional sellers.

“We call them Gumtree-preneurs and there’s a remarkable range of stories on every scale about how these smart users have successfully started, grown or diversified their businesses through online trading,” says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Gumtree Marketing.

Johnson Njoroge is an inspiring example of a Gumtree-preneur.

After losing his job as a truck driver, Johnson started a small brokerage business sourcing transport jobs on Gumtree and outsourcing them to bigger companies. When he needed to furnish his office space in Bellville, the high cost of second-hand furniture sparked an idea for something bigger. “I realised that I could source and refurbish my own furniture, then resell it at much better prices via the site,” says Johnson.

Johnson replaced his transport business with Design-A-Couch which is now producing custom-designed furniture for many popular restaurants and coffee shops from a small factory where he has six full-time employees, who Johnson found with the help of Gumtree.

Baboo Manawer is another Gumtree-preneur who’s seen so much success from the platform that he describes Gumtree as “my silent business partner that works even harder than I do”.

Baboo has sourced factory space, machinery, vehicles and desks for his printing business located in Pinetown Durban from the site. He also purchased a cheap bakkie, and a replacement engine for it, from Gumtree which lead him into starting a thriving garden service business. Manawer says he also uses Gumtree for a whole range of personal items like holidays and even finding a local partner for regular games of squash; “The site has proven itself to me over and over again”.

According to site data, 43% of professional businesses are in Gauteng, with Pretoria being the most prolific. “Anyone can use the site to generate business or even a supplementary income,” says Cobbledick.

*Visit the Gumtree South Africa Facebook (@GumtreeSouthAfrica), Twitter (@Gumtreecoza) or Instagram (@GumtreeZA) pages to find out how you can win R100,000, simply by telling us your #SmartGumtree success story. 

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