I'm 20 And Own A Restaurant!

Working from a young age helped social media personality Innocent Matijane recognise a great business opportunity and jump to become an entrepreneur before graduation.

Matijane, at just the tender age of 20, can call himself a restaurant owner after identifying a gap in the market and capitalising on it in a major way.

As a vegetarian Matijane struggled to find restaurants that catered to his dietary requirements.

"I have been a vegetarian for five years and I found it difficult to find good vegetarian restaurants. I would find rabbit food and I was tired of eating carrots. I realised I needed to stop complaining and start my own restaurant."

After befriending the owner of one of his favourite vegetarian eateries in Westdene, The Wellness Centre, Matijane realised they had a similar vision for the growth of the company and joined forces.

He gathered funds from his savings and from an investor and put up money to buy half the restaurant. With the addition in ownership came a change in the name and location. It is now called HealthyU and will launched in its new location in Northcliff on 5 July.

"We already had resources from the wellness centre so the burden was released from that point of view." The money was spent mostly on relocating and renovations.

Innocent Matijane Restuarant
Credits: Twitter and

Part of his contribution to the establishment was moving it from its original location in Westdene to Northcliff to target a more upmarket clientele. 

"It was a business decision where we felt people in Northcliff were also health conscious and would be more willing to spend money on being healthy. Once we have built our client base and reputation then we would go back to these communities to sustain our brand."

The partners have also taken a different approach to the product and service offering.

"We are looking at a holistic process of helping people live healthy lives. Before they even get to the restaurant we want to help them understand the food, what food they should be eating to best benefit their body so they can make informed decisions when buying food."

Matijane, who is studying sports science at the University of Johannesburg, advises aspiring young entrepreneurs that they should avoid the party lifestyle and instead work hard now so they could build up their businesses at a young age - the partying and celebrating can come later.