In South Africa in June the focus is on the youth and Youth Day. We see this as an opportunity to encourage young people to harness their entrepreneurial spirit and bring their business ideas to fruition. Here is knowledge we’ve gathered from coaching start-ups as well as some young entrepreneurs who inspire us.
“To any entrepreneur: if you want to do it, do it now. If you don’t, you’re going to regret it.” Catherine Cook, MyYearbook
“The earlier you start, the more time you have to mess up.” Emil Motycka, Motycka Enterprises
We recently met a 35 year old serial entrepreneur who’s done fantastically well. It turns out he started his first business 17 years ago! As much as we’d love to be successful tomorrow, talking to this entrepreneur was a reminder that business is a journey and we should set sail as soon as possible.
Young Entrepreneur Inspiration
One entrepreneur who started out really young is Moziah Bridges. He began his bow tie business, Mo’s Bows, when he was nine years old, with the help of his grandmother. In his own words: “Never did I imagine that a business birthed at my kitchen table in south Memphis would one day go international… I’m living proof that you can be anything you want – at any age.”
Fill a Gap
“Choose something unique.” Angelo Sotiro, DeviantART
“Great products sell themselves.” Kevin Systrom, Instagram
The great thing about young entrepreneurs is they see the world differently. If you have a good idea, be as bold as you can with it. Map out a business model for yourself looking at how your idea fills a gap in the market. Thinking through a customer value proposition and looking at how your product meets needs or provides solutions may give you the confidence to start a business.
Filling the Gap Inspirational Entrepreneur
Nigerian Godwin Benson created a knowledge sharing app called Tuteria. It is like an Uber for learning. A student chooses which subject they want to focus on and Tuteria links them to the nearest qualified tutor, within their budget. Godwin won £25 000 for his app as via the Africa Prize for Engineering, with the judges saying: “Benson’s Tuteria invention changes the way Nigerians – and Africans – share knowledge and skills with one another.”
““What is in your hands to make a difference in the world?” Artika R. Tyner
“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” Bill Drayton
Social entrepreneurship is on the rise because it is sustainable. There will always be room to improve our society and community and leverage that into business along the way.
This exert from Thomas L. Friedman’s book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, is a good summary of what a social entrepreneur is:
“One of the newest figures to emerge on the world stage in recent years is the social entrepreneur. This is usually someone who burns with desire to make a positive social impact on the world, but believes that the best way of doing it is, as the saying goes, not by giving poor people a fish and feeding them for a day, but by teaching them to fish, in hopes of feeding them for a lifetime… Those who get it and are adapting to it have begun launching some very innovative projects.”
Social Entrepreneur Inspiration
Iyeza Express is a bicycle courier service that focuses on collecting prescriptions for people and delivering to their door. The entrepreneur of the business, Sizwe Nzima, says his grandmother was his first client, and now he has over a thousand.
Sizwe’s thinking is motivational for any entrepreneur starting out: “As young people we need to move into the mind set where we don’t always focus on money but on what are the life challenges we experience and how can we solve those challenges and problems through business.”
Link to Higher Purpose
“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek
“Make meaning not money.” Brian Scudamore, O2E Brands
Brands with a purpose higher than the sale of the product itself are becoming more and more popular, even when the product is pricier. As Scott Porter, an Advisory partner at Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year says of purpose-driven entrepreneurs: “These inspiring trailblazers not only identify an unmet need, they also tap into the public zeitgeist and the innate desire people have for feeling connected and creating impact.”
Inspirational Higher Purpose Entrepreneur
Gugu Nkabinde, the founder of Gugu Intimates, saw a need in Africa for an underwear range for brown skin tones. While this is a gap in the market, Gugu Intimates is also going to be a brand that gets women talking and helps build confidence.
“I embarked on the project to find which basic shades I could start to develop for the market,” says Gugu, “But it was also about building a brand that can be more than just the product and start to redefine how all brown-skin toned women feel about themselves and see themselves.”
It Takes a Village
In other entrepreneurial news, the third Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) event will be held in Cape Town in October 2017 and, we encourage all innovative Startups to enter the 1776 Challenge Cup.
In closing, as Elli Yiannakaris says, “It takes a village to raise an entrepreneur,” and we’re excited to be part of that village.
Contact: Nokwazi Mzobe, Founder of Matoyana