Many students understand financial restrictions and for this reason, are constantly on the lookout for promotions and deals. Keeping up to date with the latest news and one’s favourite brands can however prove to be a challenge. A solution to this problem presents itself in the form of WhatsOnSale, a web and mobile platform aimed at creating a virtual mall experience for youths. It was developed by Wits students Jalome Chirwa, Emmanuel Mareme and Milaan Mashele. This start-up was recently featured in the Bizcommunity’s #StartupStory series. The young entrepreneur and Honours Student in the field of Information Systems at

Wits, Chirwa, reached out to PDBY to “share our story with your community and other entrepreneurs”.

Metallurgical Engineering student, Mashele, and current Masters student in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation, Mareme, were first inspired to create WhatsOnSale after conducting an eye-opening survey on youth-purchasing and brand loyalty where they learned that participants (including Witwatersrand students and those living in the Braamfontein area) who liked a particular brand or retailer wished to keep up with brands or a product in various ways. Some participants would use several resources such as brand websites and blogs to keep up to date whilst others would simply wander into a store and only then realise that certain items were on sale.

This fragmented and varied approach to “sale shopping” helped the pair identify the business opportunity. The students then proceeded to begin the work of starting up WhatsOnSale in partnership with Chirwa, the Innovation Hub and The Tshimologong Precinct. Chirwa told PDBY that the team was established in March 2018 when Mashele and Mareme approached Chirwa at the Tshimologong Precinct after the launch of an app that he had previously worked on. He added that “the guys approached [him] with the idea of building what they described to be a virtual mall. An app [which] could offer users the ability to engage with the latest retail specials.”

Many students understand financial restrictions and for this reason, are constantly on the lookout for promotions and deals.

The start-up provides access to the latest brand promotions and provides students with the ability to interact with these promotions. In an interview with PDBY Chirwa stated that “the goal is to ensure that users are kept informed about offerings from their favourite brands”. The target audience includes “students, student entrepreneurs and upcoming brands”.

Chirwa hopes to connect with UP students through WhatsOnSale which provides students with the opportunity to publish and sell their wares on platforms that are “fully dedicated to promoting their products and promotions”.

When asked about how WhatsOnSale impacts students, the young entrepreneur stressed that the core functionality of the start-up was “honouring brand loyalty” based on 3 levels; brand, product, and store. He went on to elaborate that on a brand and product level WhatsOnSale offers students the ability to keep up to date with all promotions from their favourite brands and retailers and at a store level by offering students the ability to locate the nearest physical stores that offer current specials.

the goal is to ensure that users are kept informed about offerings from their favourite brands

WhatsOnSale is a practical way for students to keep up to date with any item of interest as the website spans numerous categories such as fashion, groceries, home and garden, baby and kids, mobiles, restaurants and more. This allows students to browse effortlessly through the various products and brands on promotion which are further divided into categories of “hot”, “fresh” and “expiring” making the experience easy and efficient. The app is currently in beta (development stage) but users can sign up on the WhatsOnSale website at

https://www.whatsonsalsa.co.za. After signing up, the app will be made accessible

and customers will be taken through a tutorial on how to use the app. iOS and Android operating systems are supported.

Once beta testing is complete, the founders expect to have collected data on brand awareness

targeted at the youth and will then modify their platform accordingly to align with the interest of the users and have the larger brands sign onto the start-up’s platform.

The app is expected to be publicly available by November 2020 and it will be free of charge.

Any questions regarding the platform can be directed to the following email:

info@whatsonsalesa.co.za and anyone interested in taking part in the beta

programme may sign up on the WhatsOnSale website at http://www.whatsonsalesa.co.za.

Image: Sanele Zulu

TIFFANY SMITH