Spread the love

Avellon Williams 

SOUTH AFRICA- “I’d never touched a computer — but I knew how valuable these skills were, and here was an opportunity being handed to me.”

Tim Hogins /Image, WT/

A poor township kid from South Africa, Tim Hogins grew up in a poor household. On weekends, he watched kids pile into buses headed to Sun City knowing he would not be able to join them.

He promised himself, however, that one day he would build parks open to everyone, especially underprivileged kids. As a result of Hogins’ vision, he spent the next 30 years working to make it a reality. 

There was, however, some bumpiness along the way. From security guard to IT, he got retrenched, then built his business from nothing. During his childhood, he helped his parents sell, who were traders. His father ran a cafe that sold burgers and chips, while his mother baked. In order to pay his fees and feed, he had no choice but to assist his parents in selling.

/Image, MM/

“I matriculated in 1996, and even though I had an exemption, tertiary education wasn’t on the cards for me,” he told Entrepreneur. “We just couldn’t afford it.” 

In spite of his inability to obtain a university education, Hogins did not give up hope. One of his cousins told him about a free four-week security guard course. As a result of his participation in the course, he was hired as a security guard at a company.

After two years as a security guard, he took another free course teaching COBOL, a back-end system used by financial institutions. He had no programming experience at the time.

/Image, GQSA/

“I’d never touched a computer — but I knew how valuable these skills were, and here was an opportunity being handed to me,” he told Entrepreneur.

He failed the course on his first attempt, but passed on his second. From security guard to IT professional, he worked for a small company. Later, he worked for Dimension Data, EOH, and SITA.

Despite working for others, Hogins wanted to be his own boss, but finances were an obstacle. It was at this point that he began exploring the different business opportunities around him. After retrenchment, he was able to concentrate on this entrepreneurial journey.

/Image, EHSA/

His first venture was Green Outdoor Gyms (GOG), which reportedly brought in over $160,000 (3 million South African Rand) in the first year, according to the entrepreneur. 

“That retrenchment catapulted me into business. From then on, my full focus became outdoor gyms,” he said. Throughout South Africa, he installed over 1,000 outdoor gyms within six years.

He told GQ he sold his car to raise money for GOG, and his wife helped him with loans. With an annual turnover of over R150M ($8m), Hogins’ GOG business is a thriving company, according to GQ in 2021.

/Image, GOG/

I’m always few years ahead of the industry (visionary thinking) – I ended up funding all my initiatives as nobody was willing to risk with me,” said Hogins. 

Besides lifestyle brands, Hogins is now involved in pharmaceuticals and real estate development. 

He is not only a successful businessman, but he is also a philanthropist, helping South African young people.

About Author

Avellon Williams

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *