Tag Archive | "Entrepreneurship"

The High Cost of Being an Entrepreneur in SA

female entrepreneur

I read an article some time back that put forward the notion that South Africans are lazy, always waiting for government to hand out jobs. The article claimed that we are content to work for a pittance because we lack the spirit to create jobs for ourselves or others.

Naturally, I was outraged. Who were these people that the article was talking about? I, for one, have always been surrounded by entrepreneurs; from the lady down the street who started out selling ice-blocks and skopas then finally branching out to magwinya and s’phatlho, to my sister who does consulting work in her spare time.

In order to understand the point that the articles’ author was trying to make, I decided to dedicate a few weeks of my life to starting my own business and it is no exaggeration to describe my experiences as harrowing and painful.

It says a lot about the multitude of South Africans who have successfully started and maintained businesses, because the conclusion I have come to is that South Africa doesn’t encourage entrepreneurship.

So You Have an Idea?

Congratulations in even getting this far when we live in a world where it sometimes feels as if everything has been said, done and invented. Unfortunately, this is where the hard work really begins if a friendly little website like www.sabusinesswarrior.com is to be believed.

The process begins with asking yourself a few questions calibrated to gauge whether you have the correct temperament to even think of becoming an entrepreneur. If you can answer YES to questions ranging from ‘Are you a self-starter?’ to ‘Do you have a network that would provide additional financing?’ then you’re better off than most South Africans who cannot.

Richard Branson once said that a business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts, but Read the full story

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Entrepreneur Diaries: Tshego Chanda Brown – The Lady Behind Sebilo Creations

Tshego Chanda BrownIt is difficult to run a business in a country where home-brewed products and services are not supported and embraced as they should be. But, this didn’t stop the Mafikeng-born Tshego Chanda from starting her own furniture business. She is the mastermind behind Sebilo Creations, a business which offers an array of services including architecture, interior design, contemporary furniture design and furniture manufacturing.

Where It All Began

As a teenager I was quite creative with everything I touched. Friends thought I would pursue a career in the fashion industry, but interior design chose me. At the tender age of 13, I designed floor drawing layouts for my mother’s house – the house was built from the drawings. I was present at every construction stage though I didn’t know anything about building materials apart from brick, cement, sand and stone aggregate.

I also used to play around with furniture layout in the house; I felt the urge to re-arrange my mother’s furniture at any given time because it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing, and that usually got me into trouble. I was finally introduced to architecture and interior design in Grade 12.

Taking a Step Further

After I matriculated I enrolled for studies in Architecture at the former Technikon Pretoria. Five months into the course I was employed by an architectural firm in Pretoria. My love for furniture and interior design magnified when I was designing houses. The passion I have for this industry inspired my career choice, and this led me to start my own company.

Business Background

Sebilo Creations is a young company which aims to apply an African feel to its products. I registered the business in 2008 and operations started in 2009. The name was inspired by a Setswana idiom “bana ba mmala o sebilo” directly translated “children of the soil (of a darker skin).” African people are known to be hard, strong and warm – these characteristics are translated into Sebilo Creations team and work ethic.


Finance was the greatest challenge in getting the business off ground. I had no funding back up. I had to fund the business from my own pocket. It would have been great if I had had a mentor to guide me through this journey and advising on crucial elements of the business. I relied on the internet for information. I also asked friends and family for advice and I read self-help books.

Another major challenge is Read the full story

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Entrepreneur Focus: Wendy Dikgole

Tell us about yourself: who you are, your background, where you’re based, and what you’re passionate about.
I’m a 24 year old Beauty Therapist and a business owner of ZeroBase Entertainment, an events company that deals with the logistics and coordinating of small, big, outdoor and corporate events. I also a founded a young women’s movement called “It’s a Ladies Thing” aimed at empowering young women and aspiring entrepreneurs. I’m originally from the North West province and I reside in Johannesburg.

What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture? How did the idea for your business come about?
I have always been surrounded by and worked close to people, and was inspired by my bosses. I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship and empowering others around me.

Describe/outline your typical day?
I run my business from home so my day starts with checking emails, going from one meeting to the next, attending mentorship\entrepreneurs workshops, planning events under our Ladies’ Movement, and attending to clients.

How do you build a successful client base?
I attend a lot of events and networking sessions, which is where I’m likely to meet potential clients.

What motivates you?
I’m motivated by the people around me, and those that wake up every morning to make things happen for themselves.

What’s your definition of an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship to me is a responsibility and I believe we’re all capable of bringing change in our lives and others around us.

Have you had any major setbacks/ challenges?
I lost a lot of money when I started my business due to lack of experience and knowledge.

What would you do differently if you had to start the business again?
The only thing I’d change is getting a mentor. But, apart from that, it has taught me to be the better and stronger person I am today.

What South African business people inspire you, and why?
Wendy Luhabe. She’s an amazing business woman I look up to. I respect that she strongly believes in entrepreneurship and in making a difference to people’s lives. She knows that as young people we cannot make it on our own and she keeps mentorship as a priority. I’m grateful that she’s my mentor.

How do you define success?
Success is finding happiness in anything you do and doing it to your full potential.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Success is finding happiness in anything you do and doing it to your full potential.

Where you see yourself and your business in 5 years?
In 5 years I see our women’s movement being bigger and having other campaigns. I see myself having started an NgO back home that helps with feeding the hungry and having built a library. I see Zerobase growing and with at least 10 employees. I see myself as a mother too.

What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I love that I can implement any ideas I see relevant to my company.

What’s next for Wendy?
Oh yes, I’m so excited! I will be officially launching my company next year and I have one big project to start off the year, in Morula Casino in Mabopane- a women’s empowerment seminar on March the 3rd.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
Entrepreneurship is like a calling to me. Be like a postage stamp: stick to it until you get there.

How can people reach you?
My email address is w.dikgole@gmail.com

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Lead or Follow

Unfortunately in life there are only two groups of people. It’s either you are a leader or a follower. An entrepreneur or an employee. You either choose to sell or be sold to. Produce or consume. This phenomenon is synonymous throughout society and we are inherently making these decisions daily as we make our paces through the journey that we call life. There is nothing wrong with being on either side of the fence but it pretty much determines where you are going to end up as far as financial freedom is concerned. Being a leader, trendsetter, entrepreneur, producer or seller is the difficult side of things because it involves convincing or getting buy in from other people; it means most of the time you are thinking outside the box about what the rest of society does not normally think about. You are constantly exercising your imagination to the “possibilities” of things that have not been thought of before, and usually you are faced with a lot of resistance to change. But, as with every great risk, there is a greater reward; so it’s either you choose the easy way or the hard way, but whichever way you go, the rewards are reciprocated. It’s in all of us to choose mediocrity or to be exceptional.

– By Wilbert Chaniwa

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