Entrepreneurs can play a key role in boosting SA's economy
Entrepreneurship has been identified as an influential role player in growing the economy and improving the standard of living in SA. To get ahead, our economy is in urgent need of more entrepreneurs to boost growth, foster innovation and aid in job creation.
Entrepreneurship is known to be for those brave and ambitious individuals who aim for the stars while chasing unicorn dreams. Behind all the glamour, however, it has proven to be one of life's most challenging journeys. Any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you that they have dealt with their fair share of failures, setbacks and rejection, all being tough to deal with. Entrepreneurship requires courage, confidence and determination to endure the hardest knocks and toughest critics in the industry.
While many stories of entrepreneurs highlight the successes and "big wins", it is the endless hardships that entrepreneurs have to endure and overcome that makes their efforts both humbling and inspiring. SA's entrepreneurial community has experienced rapid growth and maturity in the past five years. Today, more and more entrepreneurs are beginning to see the value of sharing their story both with other entrepreneurs, for the benefit of the next generation of go-getters, as well as with corporates, which can positively influence and play a role in their business.
Earlier last year, you may have heard that NuPay, a division of JSE-listed Altron, launched NuPayGO, a cost-effective payment solution and mobile payment device (mobile point of sale, or mPOS) that accepts real-time debit and credit card payments. Since then, NuPayGO has been on its own journey to unlock opportunities for entrepreneurs and empower the growth of small and medium enterprises in SA.
During our recent roundtable discussion with entrepreneurs, we captured some of their thoughts. "Running a successful business comes with great responsibility not only for yourself, but for others' wellbeing too," explains Gill Nadas, founder of Volure hair products and a NuPayGO customer.
"It is very important to learn from your failures, find ways to improve and, more importantly, work smart. My inspiration came through creating wigs for people struggling with hair loss, cancer and alopecia. Not only is it close to my heart, it also gives me great pleasure to be able to restore individuals' dignity and hope."
Another inspiring entrepreneur is Malcolm Mooi, who says: "The reality is that entrepreneurship can be like walking on broken glass, but you have to keep moving to get to the end. It is an arduous journey that will test every fibre of your being, both physically and emotionally. However, entrepreneurs should learn to embrace failure and celebrate the successes, even the smallest ones. The one quality you need is persistence."
Mooi goes on to mention that his 10-year journey has been filled with many successes and failures, but 2017 was a highlight as this was when he self-published Indigo Child: Chasing dreams money can't buy, a memoir documenting his entrepreneurial journey. "2018 was the most challenging and most successful year: my start-up, Zibuza.net, was one of 15 recipients of a Grand Challenge grant, awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The winners were chosen out of 3 000 global applications. Zibuza.net also secured a 2018 World Summit Award for the best and most innovative digital solution for SA in the Learning and Education category," says Mooi.
The journey of an entrepreneur is nothing if not adventurous. It is all about the willingness to take chances, and the fearlessness and boldness to invest in an idea. And, while chasing dreams has launched many entrepreneurs, the best stories come through partnerships.