Dr. Yasheen Singh is the founder of PhytoPro, a local producer of plant-based nutritional products made from premium, pea protein isolate. Dr Singh, believes that his medical background played an important role in his decision to start manufacturing PhytoPro. During consultations with his patients, he would often recommend plant-based products because of their healing anti-inflammatory properties. Dr Singh believes that food is medicine and people should always opt for healthier alternatives that benefit the body.
After researching the market and engaging with his patients interested in plant-based diets, Dr Singh discovered there was a shortage of high-quality, affordable products in South Africa and launched PhytoPro in 2014.
The business started with products being manufactured exclusively for Dr Singh’s patients and after seeing results with his patients, the products were launched to the broader market to meet increasing demand. “The rest is history,” Dr Singh says.
Looking back on his journey, Dr Singh is happy with how his business has progressed, and the impact his products have had on his patients and customers. He is proud to see how far his business has grown over the past four years and describes his journey unforgettable. As a recent graduate of the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme, he acknowledges that the SAB Foundation played a significant role in shaping PhytoPro.
“I decided to give it a try in 2017 and my application was successful. I was so excited to have joined the programme because I felt it will be a great fit for my business, and I knew I would benefit enormously throughout the duration of the programme,” Singh explains.
Dr Singh describes his journey with the SAB Foundation as a one of a kind experiences for which he will always be grateful.
“The programme did not only focus on funding, but also included tailored mentorship which was invaluable for the business as it gave us a chance to learn about operations and how to ensure that your business remains sustainable throughout the years,” says Dr Singh.
Dr Singh says that, through attending the workshops, his confidence was boosted tremendously, helping him implement strategies which laid a concrete foundation to develop his business even further.
The workshops also made Dr Singh realise the business needed additional support and hired two part-time employees to work on relationship management and promotions. As well as hiring additional staff, Dr Singh used the grant funding to secure new warehouse space and further enhance his operations.
Dr Singh advises all aspirational entrepreneurs who are eager to start their own business not to waste any time with getting started. However, he also recommends patience because being a business owner is not always smooth sailing.
“Accept that you will make mistakes along your journey and you will go through a few stumbling blocks before you reap the rewards of your hard work. Do not expect to be the perfect entrepreneur from the word go. Laugh and learn from your mistakes and eventually your hard work will pay off,” he advises.
Dr Singh concluded by giving the following tips for entrepreneurial success:
Start from a place of passion. When the going gets tough, it is the passion in your heart that will get you through to the other side.
Educate yourself, both on the product or industry you are working in and the art of doing business.
Actively relax. A relaxed mind is more receptive to new ideas and can adapt to change and new ways of working.
Open up to receiving support. This can either be from friends, family, employees, mentors or fellow entrepreneurs.
Find Dr Singh and Phyto Pro products at https://phytopro.co.za