He completed a Master’s degree, got a good job at a good company, but he wasn’t happy. You see, at his very core, Grant Oosterwyk is an entrepreneur and the idea of working towards a pension for the rest of his life left him feeling empty. He wanted more, so he decided to start a successful company.
Born and raised in Elsies River, Grant’s road to success was not as straightforward as one might assume. Despite being a top student and head boy at Elsies River High, he did not have any particular plans to pursue a tertiary education. Where he comes from, the idea of going to any sort of university after completing school seemed foreign. He says that the way he saw it, he had one of two choices: either work at Shoprite or Edgars. However, it was at his high school valedictory that he began to imagine a world beyond Edgars.
The speaker at his valedictory had spoken about the value of education and more importantly, she had a PhD. To see someone with a PhD sparked something in him. He began to wonder what it was that he wanted to do with his life, and it was most certainly not working at Edgars. He also liked the idea of being called, Dr. Oosterwyk.
He began to flirt with the idea of success by joining the Reconstructed Living Lab, a community based organization that focuses on empowering youth by teaching them about technology and innovation. Its founder, Marlon Parker, became a mentor to Grant and made him realise that he had a passion for technology and innovation. Of course, after matriculating in 2006, he pursued his passion by registering at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Grant completed his degree in information systems in 2010 and got job as a Network Specialist at MMI Holdings. He completed a Masters degree in 2013 at the University of Cape Town and in 2015, he moved to Johannesburg where he started working as the Head of Network Operations for EOH. Despite his rise to the top, he began to develop a burning desire to run his own company. It was here in Johannesburg that he met his future business partner, Brandon Como. Together, they risked it, left their jobs and started a business. However, starting a business is not as easy as it sounds.
Coming from the Cape Flats, Grant did not have the sort of connections that a kid from Constantia would have. The world they were about to enter did not identify with him and did not know him. To build his business, he had to work harder than anyone else, knock on more doors, and take harder knocks. However, he was from the world of the hard knocks and a hard knock knows how to stand firm on his feet.
Grant and his partner started their company Altnetplanet SA, in 2016 and two years later, it is well on its way to becoming one of the most sought after names in digital solutions. The company develops digital marketing strategies for big brand companies and their list of clients include everything from local brands like Zebros to international multi-billion dollar brands like Spotify and Mini.
Despite his entrepreneurial success, Grant still likes the idea of being called, Dr. Oosterwyk. He is currently focused on completing his PhD in Information Systems and his dissertation focuses on big data within the financial sector. He is however not the only success story within his family. His wife, Izolda, recently completed her psychology board exams and his sister, Chandre, is also completing her honours degree in medical bioscience at UCT.
When he is not trying to build an empire, he enjoys spending time with his family which include his wife, 1 year old son, sister and of course, his mom and dad. Grant is also passionate about being a positive influence on the young people in his community and giving back where he can. For him, it was not just about starting a business and making money. He wanted to prove that regardless of where you come from, if you can dream it, you can achieve it, but you have to be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked before.
Grant comes from a world where kids simply do not have dreams and he wanted to change that world. You can let the walls of your world trap you, suffocate you and destroy your imagination, or you can push back, break down, and expand those boundaries towards limitless possibilities. Grant chose to push back.
If you want to know more about Grant’s company, check out their website at https://atnetplanet.co.za