AHMED SEEDAT BIO
Renowned businessman, Ahmed Seedat, has spent years cultivating his knowledge and experiences into applicable solutions, empowering a multitude of entrepreneurs globally. His work nationally, in Southern Africa and internationally has earned him a spectacular reputation, based on his successful results.
His has vast expertise in the dynamics of family-owned businesses from personal experience and through academics. He currently holds a Diploma/Certificate in Management, as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degreeexploring the same topic, which has encouraged him to author two well-known books. The first is Profits Progeny Politics on the challenges and how to overcome challenges in Family-Owned Businesses (2017)and his recent follow-up edition called, The Dynamics of Succession in Family-Owned Businesses (2019).
Although his journey has been long, much of Seedat’s academic success is attributed to his wife, Fahmida, who pressured him to further his studies. This would eventually open the doors to Vector Consulting, which he established in 2005.
This platform allowed him to interface with a multitude of family-owned businesses, receiving insight into a cross-section of family business experiences, from SA, to Tanzania and other parts of the Africa continent. Consequently, he lived in Tanzania; Qatar one week a month for 18-months and travelled the African continent extensively.
Seedat has advised many influential corporates and High Net worth individuals in Southern Africa.
In 2000 and 2002, Seedat suffered the horrific tragedy of losing two sons. Following this, he was also diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer which required oncology treatment and seven months of chemotherapy. The diagnosis of the dreaded disease devastated him. Drawing on his inner strength and previous experiences of managing depression, he boldly fought the disease with medical treatment and the will to overcome it.
Growing up, he belonged to a family business and noticed the dynamics of both success and failure. He also noticed many avoidable trends that affect successful businesses, pushing them toward a downward spiral. Raised from humble beginnings, his first attempt at tertiary education was cut short, when he had to join the family business called M C Seedat, in Grey Street, Durban, after his father bought out fellow family member’s business.
Perfectly located in the heart of the Durban city centre and the hub of local businesses, its rate of success was inevitable. However, working with the historical linear thinking of his elders and the competitive aspirations of siblings, made for uncomfortable business partners. To say the least, new academic and transformational ideas were rejected, despite the strategic aspirations, ideas and business positioning which would have encouraged it to flourish. With a change in the political landscape in the mid to late 80s, there was a myriad of competition in the Central Business District from foreign traders. Shopping patterns started to evolve and these factors had a strain on the family business. Seedat had to move on.
By 1992, he dappled in the furniture industry, adding to his tapestry of business experience. After a short stint, he moved into textile manufacture, also in a family business with his stepfather. The business called Ismed was initially successful in its formative years, but with the opening of the trade embargos flooding the streets with cheaper Chinese and Pakistani products, Ismed struggled and ultimately sold.
In retrospect, Seedat recognised with the aggressive competition, the business needed to be recapitalised, search for new directions and renewed growth strategies. Whilst Seedat experienced first-hand hostile trials and tribulations of family-owned businesses and partnerships, he also observed the movements of the SA economy from being insular to loosening of the tariffs allowed cheaper imports to decimate the textile sector. Consequently, Seedat sold Ismed and saw a niche for family business consulting.
He observed that over the years, a tsunami of corporate and multinational business had placed family-owned entities in an invidious position of “adapt or die” scenario. Hence, he strives daily, to help businesses adapt. Seedat is entrenched in expanding family values outside academia and business as he is integrally involved in the Doba Foundation. This is a family development organisation, which aspires to maintain family values and support descendants of the Doba family in their respective challenges.
Seedat’s maternal grandmother is a direct descendent of the Doba family, who reached the shores of South Africa as traders in 1885. He spent his childhood and teenage years on the very same property, which was purchased in 1885 by Suleman Doba. North Coast General Dealers and Wholesalers was a family-owned business with immigrant Indians brought to SA through British colonialism. His reading of the family business terrain offers a discerning perspective of the topic and serves as a beacon for family-owned businesses to explore the conversation as they navigate themselves in the complexities of the “Where to from here” scenario.
Enquiries: +27 82 676 1994 / +27 31 003 5100 / Skype: vector422