JOHANNESBURG – Businesswoman Candice Van Wyk has started a thriving property business as a shortcut to accumulate much-needed financial freedom while steadily building her wealth.
This, she says, will allow her to live her wildest dreams and help her to make a difference in other people’s lives through the different initiatives she is involved with.
Van Wyk is co-founder of property businesses Laos Holdings and Property Pick, an online platform which connects investors to distressed properties, sellers and a power team of property experts.
Van Wyk, who hails from Reiger Park in the east of Johannesburg, is also founder and director of SME Women, a global empowerment initiative aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs in and into business through workshops, motivational talks, mentorship and incubation.
The businesswoman says she ventured into entrepreneurship after years of working for different companies including software giant Microsoft, where she was a premier service delivery manager.
She resigned from the company in 2014 to focus on building Crystal Garnet Bridal Boutique, which she had started three-and-a-half years earlier, by converting her mom’s garage into a mini boutique.
She later moved the business to the affluent suburb of Fourways, north of Johannesburg.
Van Wyk, who holds a communications degree from the University of Johannesburg, says after graduating she wanted to get into the media industry.
Instead, she ended up working for an information technology firm and started as an administrator.
“I achieved a level of success in my career and the last company I worked for was Microsoft. But I always knew I wanted to do my own thing before I turned 35,” she says. She registered her first business at the age of 32.
Van Wyk admittedly grew weary of the bridal business because the returns were not so great and the startup consumed much of her time.
“I couldn’t pursue my other aspirations hence I decided to close down the business for now, or to park it, if you like.”
Van Wyk says in her business journey she quickly learnt that to achieve financial freedom and build her wealth, she needed to learn to become a trained property investor. She then established Laos Holdings with the intention of buying and selling property, focusing on the Gauteng province, South Africa’s economic powerhouse, and later Namibia.
The award-winning entrepreneur says she then noticed a gap in the market of distressed sellers who wanted to get rid of their properties quickly before they were repossessed.
In 2017 she launched Property Pick, an online property platform that connects investors with distressed sellers and properties.
“This is a very innovative platform, it’s not like your Property24 and Private Property (companies) at all. None of the other online property platforms bring together investors and distressed sellers like we have done,” she says.
“We see ourselves as the leading online investment property platform in the years to come with plans to expand into Africa and internationally.”
Van Wyk says she is at a stage now where she wants to go into property development and has already identified a portion of land where she plans to build residential units and sell them off at a profit.
“Property, for me, is the quickest way to achieve my financial goals and build my wealth,” says Van Wyk.
“I want to make sure that my foundation is solid so that I can comfortably pursue my other aspirations such as the bridal venture that I have parked,” she says, continuing: “I want to become a manufacturer of wedding gowns, but I don’t want to do it operationally on a full-time basis, hence I re-strategised by business ventures in order to move my business dreams and goals forward.”
Van Wyk has won numerous national and international accolades, with the most recent being named the Margaret Hirsch Woman in Business Achiever finalist for 2017/2018
She speaks passionately about helping other businesswomen achieve their dreams, saying: “Through the SME Women initiative I aim to empower other entrepreneurs because when I started my entrepreneurial journey I didn’t have the kind of information that I have today. I learnt as I went along.”
She says she wants to help women in business and startups get their companies off the ground and be a catalyst in growing them.
“I want to help other entrepreneurs avoid some of the mistakes I made. As you know most companies don’t make it past their first or second years in business,” she says.
“We want to empower them with information like marketing, HR, finances and productivity, etc. I’m passionate about helping women in business to achieve their dreams and goals.”
Van Wyk says she believes that if people pursue their dreams they will live and fulfill their purpose on Earth. “And that’s me in a nutshell.”