Meet the #iKTribe: Making an Impact with Olivier d’Huart

Engineer. MIT graduate. Collaborator. Agent of change. Lover of all things Mzansi. Meet Olivier d’Huart. Product Manager at iKhokha.



Meet the iK Tribe

With a Masters in Engineering majoring in mathematics, Olivier knows a thing or two about systems organisation and data analysis. Having graduated from École Centrale in Paris and MIT in Boston, he’s built a career out of grappling with problems to create solutions that offer real value.

“There’s always more to learn.”

After completing a stint as a research and teaching assistant at MIT, Olivier left Boston and immersed himself in California’s start-up culture. For the next two years, he drove international business development as a senior associate at Amonix Inc, a fast-growing start-up that developed solar power systems and renewable energy solutions.

At the same time, Olivier had his first introduction to South Africa, and over several business trips to our shores – he fell in love with Mzansi.

The Spice of the South

“There was something about South Africa; life here feels more thrilling, more flavourful,” says Olivier. “What some might not like about emerging markets, I enjoy. In California, I sometimes felt like I was in The Truman Show, everything was super easy and polished. Here, in South Africa, I feel more challenged. There are unique and inspiring problems to solve. There are all these different cultures, mindsets and climates. I find South Africa very rich as a country because of the diversity ”

In February 2014, Olivier immigrated to South Africa when he stepped into the management consulting world at Bain and Company.

Over the next five years, he worked on numerous high profile projects in South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Qatar and Spain. However, after half a decade on the road in the ever-changing consulting space, the need to make an impact took hold once more. The East Coast had always appealed to him, so he started to search for opportunities in Durban. Then he found iKhokha.

“I think everybody wants to care about what they do every day.”

Finding Purpose on the East Coast

For some, a nine-to-five is all about the paycheck at the end of the month. For others, it’s an opportunity to build something that will enable their fellow man. It’s a chance to reinvigorate an economy and uplift a nation. For these types, making a difference and feeling concrete change is job satisfaction.

“I wanted to find the excitement I had working for a start-up,” says Olivier. “I wanted to work for a company where I could be the change I want to see in the world. And a company where the product has a positive impact on society.”

For Olivier, this fulfilment comes not only from working towards a higher purpose, but in having the space to create. It’s a unique combination that he has found in abundance at iKhokha.

“What you work on and the mandate you have is pretty cool,” says Olivier. “It’s more greenfield work, more responsibilities and somewhat more challenges. I enjoy having a blank page in front of me, with fewer constraints than at a big corporate.”

Olivier forms a key component of iKhokha’s product leadership team, tasked with ensuring that iKhokha’s product set truly makes business easier for entrepreneurs. As Product Manager, Olivier oversees all of our product development – from innovations to day-to-day maintenance. It’s a new role which, like many of the others in recent months, was created to meet the demands of our rapidly scaling company.

“It’s a new team, so it’s very exciting,” says Olivier. “We have the opportunity to build from scratch. I’m excited about all the profiles we’ve hired. We have smart, dedicated, impact-driven people, and we’re building iKhokha together.”

iK Tribe

It’s All About Impact

A pessimist might say that, more often than not, companies talk more about making a difference than actually taking action. But when you look at South Africa’s economic landscape, it’s hard to argue that the enablement of SMEs can lead to anything else than positive change.

“We are enabling the economy. I strongly believe that.”

As Olivier says: “A country’s economy thrives when small business thrives. If you want an economy to grow, you need a healthy small business ecosystem. By helping small businesses accept payments, we’re enabling that ecosystem. So, we are enabling the economy. I strongly believe that.”

While you’ll often see Olivier around the office well after 5pm, it’s not all work for the Frenchman. When he’s not in the office, you’ll find him catching a wave or two at North Beach or further down the south coast.

“Surfing is outdoorsy. It’s physical. It keeps me challenged. It helps me reflect. When you’re in the ocean, it reduces all the noise. It clears up your brain,” he says.

And that clarity and forethought, combined with a true sense of purpose, is a critical component in what’s driving iKhokha forward. He believes in the dream we’re building – as do we all in the iK Tribe.

Are You Ready to Make a Difference?

We have a unique opportunity to make a real impact. Through our shared vision and skillsets and the rich collaborative culture we’re fostering at iKhokha, we can truly embody Gandhi’s words and be the change we want to see in the world.

Like Olivier says: “I enjoy the impact. Working on something that has a positive impact on society, that’s very important for me. I found it working in renewable energy, and I’ve found it again working at iKhokha.”

Looking to be part of a purpose-driven organisation? It’s time to #Jointhehustle! Visit our careers page to view the latest job vacancies.

Josh Martin

The resident 'Word Nerd' at iKhokha, Josh is on a mission to help businesses grow with insightful, data-driven and engaging content that builds lasting enterprises. When he's off the clock, he's trawling Reddit or in the garden drinking wine.

Related articles

Meet the iK Tribe 1

Meet the #iKTribe: Getting into the Details with Keri du Raan

Detail-orientated. Meticulous planner. Communicator. Tech lover. Sports junkie. Meet Keri du Raan, Product Owner at iKhokha.. Read more
Frank Ogagba 2

Meet the #iKTribe: From Mercenary to Missionary with Frank Ogagba

Customer-first advocate. Boxer. Yoga lover. Hiking enthusiast. Empath. Meet Frank Ogagba, service designer at iKhokha.. Read more
Meet the #iKTribe 2

Meet the #iKTribe: Meditations with Deepak Folly

Electrical engineer. Student of yoga and meditation. Traveller. Security software designer. Meet Deepak Folly, senior software engineer in the #iKTribe.. Read more
Working through Covid-19

Hustle Hard Together: Working Through Covid-19

In a tough time for business, iKhokha's co-founder Ramsay Daly discusses working through Covid-19 and how iKhokha is helping small businesses bounce back.. Read more
Working Moms Working from Home

How to Work From Home: The Helpful Advice Every Mom Needs

Discover how real moms are adjusting to working from home and learn the strategies they are using to find a work/life balance during the COVID-19 pandemic.. Read more
3 ladies

Meet the #iKTribe: The Cash Advance Team

An iKhokha Cash Advance helps take your business to the next level. We’re giving you the short term assistance that will ensure your long term success.. Read more