NWABISA MAYEMA,

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP DIRECTOR, BRANSON CENTRE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP, SOUTH AFRICA

" GOOD BUSINESS - SILICON VALLEY LOVES UNICORNS. IN SOUTH AFRICA AND AFRICA, WE NEED ZEBRAS."

- NWABISA MAYEMA, STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP DIRECTOR, BRANSON CENTRE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP, SOUTH AFRICA

We as a society cannot decouple our prosperity from our development. What we can’t do is decouple our prosperity from the challenges that we face. Those two go hand-in-hand. We simply can’t be prosperous without tackling certain challenges.

Business can be and is a force for good. And in South Africa, that’s very important. Purpose-led entrepreneurship holds the key to our development.

The Leap
In a sense, I’m an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs. Inspiring a nation is only one aspect of enabling change in a country. Let us not be fooled in terms of thinking inspiration alone is enough. Let’s inspire people; show them what good looks like; get them excited. It’s no use bringing people into a room and saying, “Hey, this is how you write a business plan. This is what it looks like to be a successful entrepreneur. Look at Richard Branson. And, then wish them well.” We actually have to bring them into the room and then give them access to the tools, the resources, the expertise, the inspiration, and the fun – even the deceleration from time to time.

Screw it, Let’s Do it
What are you going to do every day to make sure that you become good at what you’re doing? Once that’s achieved, can we regard these people as being enabled? We need to put these entrepreneurs in front of investors, make sure we’ve cultivated warm relationships for them so that those investors will listen to them. Support must be carried through to help them access markets. We must enable them. They need to know that they aren’t going to walk the journey alone and that we will bring them access to the things that they really, really need. There’s no more time for fandom inspirational webinars anymore.

Force for Good
Silicon Valley loves unicorns. In South Africa and Africa, we need zebras. Zebras graze together. They move together. They protect one another. And, of course, when they’re in a collection, they’re a dazzle.

Business needs an embedded purpose. Once entrepreneurs have found that purpose, then they’ll truly start building their business and creating a social impact. Being an entrepreneur isn’t a sprint race. It takes a thousand days to build a business. It takes a thousand days to get your fundamentals right. It takes a thousand days to see significant growth and social impact.

BRANSON CENTRE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP SOUTH AFRICA

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