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Knowledge transfer leads to successful business practice in South Africa


Education is the first step towards a better life in South Africa. These are the opening lines of the business plan of the young South African founder of ‘Pimp My Book’. Based on the fact that 700,000 students in secondary education need at least three study books every year, the entrepreneur identified this as a gap in the market.

Innovative business

This was the start of ‘Pimp My Book’, a business that not only offers students an alternative for expensive books, but also promotes avoiding unnecessary felling of trees. For every 14 second-hand study books that are resold, a tree can be saved. Pimp My Book started in 2006 and has since grown into a successful, innovative business that creates sustainable jobs. At an early stage, Mpodumo Doubada, the charismatic young entrepreneur who founded ‘Pimp My Book’ called in the assistance of PUM. Clemens Sandmann, a PUM expert with extensive experience in marketing, sales and coaching among others for publishing house Kluwer and Van Ede & Partners, on three occasions visited the company in Cape Town that has since become a solid business.

The story of Mpodumo Doubada, Pimp My Book and Clemens Sandmann is an excellent example of the PUM principle in practice: knowledge transfer that leads to successful business practice.

Clemens Sandmann: In 2010, I visited the enthusiastic entrepreneur Mpodumo Doubada, owner of the South African Pimp My Book (PMB) for the first time. A number of the things I noticed were the absence of indexing of the books in the shop, making finding the right book a time-consuming business; there were too many people at work who did not have the necessary skills basis. This meant unnecessarily high salary costs; the business also lacked a clear strategy. We set to work straight away. The second time I visited PMB, my advice was focused on finance, modern media, websites and online orders. And also: how to acquire a place on the South African study book landscape.

‘It was very successful and I was able to make a solid contribution to further success’

I visited a total of three times, and saw the entrepreneur and his business grow. He not only won a prestigious prize but as well as three stores in Cape Town, now also has an outlet in the student city of Stellenbosch. Plans to open two further outlets in Durban and Pretoria are already in place. I stay in contact with via mail. I am delighted that I was able to make a meaningful contribution, and was able to help this dedicated entrepreneur!

Mpodumo Doubada: At Pimp My Book, we make school books affordable. We create a platform where students can hand in second-hand books they no longer need. They receive money in return, and we sell the books on. I started the business while I myself was a student at the University of Cape Town. I realised in my first year that study books were expensive and that second-hand books were difficult to obtain via noticeboards and advertisements. I decided to create a place where students could hand in their second-hand books. What once started in my student room has grown into what it is today!

‘He brought us knowledge and wisdom’

When I heard about PUM I thought, That’s exactly what I need! To receive support from someone who has 30/40 years of work experience in the business, and who will visit for two weeks to give you advice every day is extremely valuable. I would never be able to pay for someone like that myself. The PUM expert offered me advice and created the foundations I needed to see how I could make my ideas workable. He helped us tremendously!