The founding fabric of entrepreneurship, as told by township entrepreneurs [#KasiTalk Research, Feb 19 Issue]

Tony Malgas Uncategorized

In the first edition of Kasi Talks, we delve into the world of entrepreneurship through the insights of young entrepreneurs and business owners from various fields including fire protection, health & fitness, engineering, as well as entertainment/events management.

Is entrepreneurship innate or learnt?

Based on our engagement with our first four entrepreneurs on Kasi Talk, there is an overarching consensus amongst them as they concur with the idea that entrepreneurship is and can be learnt through experience.

For entrepreneur Maqhawe Nkosi, co-founder of Dirty Hands, Clean Money (DHCM) Engineering, entrepreneurship does not come naturally, nor is it a talent. It is a skill that can be learnt, but not perfected.

While some entrepreneurs start their business based on solid experience in their field of expertise, some entrepreneurs start off with limited experience, but the motivation to succeed.

Thulani Ntshuntshe, founder of Five Star Fire, went into the fire protection field without any prior experience and expertise in this field.

His main drive was to prove a point – “I am entrepreneur and I can make anything work”.  As a young entrepreneur, Thulani transitioned from construction to a car wash business and now runs a successful fire protection business.

All these accounts from well-accomplished entrepreneurs bear testament that entrepreneurship is a process of constant learning and growth.

Operating in the mass market

Being an entrepreneur in the mass market is a unique experience as entrepreneurs and business owners navigate tough socio-economic conditions on a daily basis.

How is business success measured? While mainstream understanding of business success being measured through achieving certain profit margins and other indicators of growth is important, findings from our interaction with different entrepreneurs indicated a different approach to measuring business success.

For entrepreneurs operating in the mass market business, success means creating job opportunities in townships, particularly for the unemployed youth.

Maqhawe said DHCM Engineering empowers the youth in Tsakane, East Rand, through creating employment and skills development opportunities. “It’s part of our vision and mission to help young guys around the township” – Maqhawe.

In response to the question how do you measure business success, Thulani, replied “how many lives have you changed”? Whilst profit and consistent growth of the business is essential, the business of changing lives is equally important for Five Star Fire.

Sibongiseni Ndwandwe, Herbalife Business Owner and Body Builder, does not measure success as the number of products he has sold, but the number of clients whose lives he has changed and continues to change through health awareness, fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle. For music duo, Unity Boys, their love for music and unity allows them to unite people through music. Unity Boys believe that talent exists in townships. They offer up and coming artists and DJs in Mamelodi, Mabopane and Pretoria, the opportunity to showcase their talents on entertainment platforms.

It is, without any doubt imperative, for entrepreneurs and businesses to grow and succeed. For entrepreneurs in townships, this means growing with others, lending a helping hand and celebrating each other’s success.

It is, without any doubt imperative, for entrepreneurs and businesses to grow and succeed. For entrepreneurs in townships, this means growing with others, lending a helping hand and celebrating each other’s success.

So, what does it take it to succeed in entrepreneurship?

There is a no universal formula or one-size-fits-all approach to entrepreneurship that guarantees success in the shorter to longer term. For the most part, entrepreneurship involves failure, uncertainty, mistakes, learning, small victories and hard work. This is what Thulani referred to as a rollercoaster ride in his business when he shared some of his learnings when his company fell victim to fraud & lost more than a hundred thousand Rands.

However, based on the experiences and perspectives of entrepreneurs on Kasi Talk, there are a few fundamentals that are essential to the growth and sustainability of any kind of business.

According to Maqhawe, it is through passion that an entrepreneur can succeed in the face of adversity and frustration. Maqhawe shared instances where he and Zakhele Sibeko, his business partner, would work in complete silence as a result of the frustration that emanates from running a business.

Karabo Setlhapelo, Herbalife Business Owner, says he has learnt to use his passion for science and fitness, to turn it into entrepreneurship.

Our Kasi Talk entreprenuers come from diversified fields and run diversified businesses, but there is one common factor they all resonate with – Passion. But is passion enough to sustain a business? This then brings us to the importance of business mentorship.

The significance of business mentorship

Starting a new business from the ground up and embarking on the entrepreneurship journey can get lonelisome as it can be much like tredding a road less traveled. However, entreprenuership is about materializing & implementing a bourne idea, be it a Spaza Shop, Laundramat, or Consultancy Firm of which many a time, is something that has been done before, the essence therefore being improving that which has been done before.

Entrepreneurs, Luvuyo Magagula and Koketso Pitse of Unity Boys, shared their anecdotal accounts of how they were mentored when they started their music careers and owe part of their success as Deck Jockeys or ‘DJs’ as we affectionately like to call them, to their mentor who is still with them till this day.

Business mentorship requires active engagement of the entrepreneur on the receiving end. It is important for entreprenuers to know what they want both in business and out of the mentorship and therefore find a mentor aligned to the interests and purpose.

Thulani shared similar sentiments on the importance of mentorship and incubation. Although Thulani may not be actively mentoring, he is determined to go where no one has been and live a trail behind for young entreprenuers to follow.

All these stories and experiences of Kasi Talk entrepreneurs have been such an exciting and captivating start to this journey we hope to share with our viewers and readers. In the next edition, we will look be looking at Marketing your start-up. Be sure not to miss out.

About Kasi Talk

Kasi Talk is a marketing exposure platform designed to serve as a marketing & advertising channel for mainly township based businesses and Entrepreneurs that is integrated with sound market research intelligence to enable entrepreneurs & businesses alike to showcase their passions, talents and solutions to a wide array of market audiences

Vula Vula Reserarch Services, the proud sponsor of Kasi Talk, is an independent black-owned market research company based in Johannesburg. Vula Vula Research prides itself in unique position of being the “voice of the township” owing to it’s intimate footprint in the South African township market landscape.

We encourage feedback and engagement from our readers and viewers of Kasi Talk. You can get in touch with us on the contact details below.

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“The founding fabric of entrepreneurship 01 February 2018”

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