Offering SA’s crop of new COVID-19 start-ups advice to turn their ‘side hustle’ into a viable business

Offering SA’s crop of new COVID-19 start-ups advice to turn their ‘side hustle’ into a viable business
Bashier Adam


‘The best stories have humble beginnings,’ says multi-national firm’s CEO after 25 breakthrough years

HOME-GROWN accounting and consulting firm, Nexia SAB&T is taking on a more serious mentorship role by offering South Africa’s crop of new COVID-19 start-ups advice to outlive the pandemic and to turn their ‘side hustle’ into a viable business.

Nexia SAB&T’s dedicated Entrepreneurial Business Services (EBS) line is tailor made for small business owners and is specifically set up to help guide entrepreneurs during the early stages of establishing their business.

Company CEO, Bashier Adam, said: “We hold their hands in the early stages of development and keep them on the right track. We grow as they grow.”

The additional Financial and Consulting services offered by Nexia SAB&T include the likes of: Audit and Assurance, Automation & Digitisation, Forensics, Legal, and Business Consulting and Advisory. Staff are fluid in their skillset and utilize the knowledge of each service line to give a holistic approach to each client they work with.

COVID-19 has forced many individuals to look for new revenue streams and ways to supplement their income. According to The Africa Report, African start-ups raised more than US$4bn (approximately R15.3bn) in 2021, with a special interest in new tech services.

Nexia SAB&T is itself a grassroots success story. The company was started in a garage in Laudium in Pretoria, South Africa, more than 25 years ago.

Today, Adam said, Nexia SAB&T has a presence in all nine provinces in South Africa. It is also a member of the Nexia International accounting network, the eighth largest accounting network in the world with more than 270 member firms and a presence in 125 countries.

‘Big enough to make a difference’

Telling the story of Nexia SAB&T’s 2022 brand awareness campaign, OURstory, Adam said that the company had always strived to be “big enough to make a difference.” He recalled: “When we started, firms like ourselves were virtually unheard of, there was such a big gap between the very large players and the very small players.”

OURstory is a follow-up to the firm’s highly successful and award-winning HERstory campaign of 2019, which brought the lack of leadership and management roles for female professionals in South Africa under the spotlight.

Nexia SAB&T hopes OURstory’s messaging will encourage other start-ups to reach out. The campaign will be featured on Nexia SAB&T’s website and across its various social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube), and kicks off this month (March). It is intended to run for at least three more months.

“Common start-up problems include poor planning, novice leaders, failure to differentiate their product or service from others that are already available, ignoring the needs of customers, and not learning from failures,” Adam revealed.

Although the pandemic has resulted in many operational and environmental challenges, Adam was upbeat about the prospects of South African small businesses.

He said: “The idea for OURstory was to showcase our firm culture and provide insight into what makes us unique. That is, the origins of the firm, the obstacles, and opportunities we have overcome, and how we got to where we are today.

“The origins of our firm are humble, and our path was littered with challenges that required careful navigation throughout our journey. COVID-19 is a far-reaching challenge, and the most concerning aspect for us has been the impact it would have on our staff.

“We have transitioned from physical to virtual working practices but needed to maintain that personal touch. Although we are no longer meeting in person, we’ve had to find ways of maintaining relationships. We have also learnt to continually evolve and not to plan too far ahead. Our advice to other businesses is to monitor trends, but don’t feel pressured to follow others. Trailblaze your own path.

Looking forward, Nexia SAB&T’s CEO concluded: “Every entrepreneur wants to go it alone. But [they should] utilise networks and seek professional help as and when required.

“We have stated many times that we do not want to be the largest firm in our markets. We are not large enough for our clients to become a number and monthly fee, but we are not small that our services are limited, and resources are scarce – we have carved out our own niche. We are that mid-tier level that focuses on a ‘personal, partner-led service’ that gives a brand promise of proven experience and an enduring relationship.”

To learn more about Nexia SAB&T and its range of solutions for small and large entities, visit

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