Breaking bread with the people

Entrepreneurs will always tell you that the best thing about being self-employed is being your own boss. For Brett Simpson, the owner of Breadbin Interactive, that was the reason for becoming an IT entrepreneur. “I have always wanted to run my own business and therefore manage my own time and determine my own income potential,” says Brett.

Breaking bread with the people

Like many great companies, the origins of Breadbin Interactive had a simple objective in mind – find a way of distributing open source software in South Africa. While open source software can be freely distributed across the internet, high bandwidth costs in South Africa have always been a barrier, so the idea was to find a way around this by creating another means of software distribution. And so, the “Freedom Toaster” was born.

With the support of the Shuttleworth Foundation, the prototype for the Freedom Toaster was developed as an interactive display unit for open source software at the MTN ScienCentre in Cape Town. It wasn’t long before Brett and a previous business partner, Jason Hudson, realised the potential of the product and decided to start Breadbin Interactive in 2007.

Toast to success

The company designs and supplies the Freedom Toaster, which is an interactive touch-screen content delivery kiosk (quite the mouthful, isn’t it?) that enables users to access open sources software that can be burned onto CDs, DVDs and USB flash drives. Although initially aimed at popular Linux software, any open source material, from E-books to music, can be downloaded from a Freedom Toaster.

The company’s clients include UNISA, the MTN ScienCentre, the Western Cape Education Department and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape.

In addition, Brett’s company was the winner in the Technology Top 100 category of Overall Emerging Market for 2008. Breadbin Interactive also picked up the Africa SMME “Best New Business” sector award in the same year.

By with a little help

Not only did Brett accept the situation and then work through it effectively, our IT Hero has seen the experience as a learning curve. “I personally coped by allowing the process to take its course and learning from the failure,” he says. “These kinds of experiences do happen throughout an entrepreneur’s journey and provide great insight into growth personally, and within a business context.”

Brett advises would-be IT entrepreneurs to do the same. “Persistence and self-belief are essential in building a business. Keep learning and change your course when necessary, but keeping moving forward,” he says.

Brett the square

Brett’s creative mind has worked outside of his company as well, with the entrepreneur playing a part in launching the Shuttleworth Foundation’s unique youth brand “Hip2B2”



Contact Information

Tel: 021 910 4347

Address: 100, Edward Street, Manhattan Plaza, 6th Floor, Tygervalley


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