By Clotilde Angelucci TSiBA on 06 Mar 2018
How learning from each other helps making the entrepreneurial circle bigger.
In their article “Why kids should be taught how to start a business at school”
Michael Gaotlhobogwe & Adri Du Toit outlined the importance of entrepreneurial skills as one route of reducing youth unemployment. Their research compares curricula in Nigeria and Kenya to South Africa and Botswana, and findings showed how equipping children with skills such as risk taking and emotional intelligence from a young age led to appreciation for self-employment.
These skills become critical in finding and creating new profitable opportunities, should students find themselves unemployed at times. While this clearly would not fully solve the unemployment figures South Africa has faced in the last few years, it would definitely help to break through self-pity coming from the temporary inability of finding employment.
As Visiting Prof. Laura Foote wrote in her blog piece, Send me…to develop entrepreneurs, one cannot build business skills with chalk and a blackboard. This is where conversations with entrepreneurs become relevant, as they offer a platform where business practice CAN “make perfect”. For this reason, 2018 BBA 3 students at TSiBA have started a new monthly event in the Current Affairs slot called CONNECTION: sharing the entrepreneurs journey, to invite entrepreneurs and business people to come and share their learning in their professional journey.
The first guest was Lizelle van Ryn, founder and co-owner of co-working space The Cape Town Office (CTO); she opened her doors in 2011, when co-working (sharing office space) was still a novel concept in the Mother City. Fast-track to 2018, freelancing is the order of the day, and Cape Town offers a dynamic scene for co-working and collaborations; competition notwithstanding, CTO established its position in the market, crowned by a special recognition by Forbes, which voted it as one of the top 10 co-working spaces in the world.
Speaking to an Arena packed with TSiBA future entrepreneurs, Lizelle shared her journey to founding her own business “Fred Roed, one of the cofounders of Heavy Chef once told me “Do what you’re good at, until you can do what you love.” Looking back, that is exactly what I did; I honed my marketing skills and I worked as a consultant, until the right partner came about and CTO was borne”.
The topic sparked questions covering a wide range of marketing and management topics, from price setting, Unique Selling Points and founding models. Networkingcame through as one of the essential skills for the modern businessman “Get out there as much as possible and speak to entrepreneurs who are busy with business challenges and who are happy to share their leanings” says Lizelle to the students.
Fuelling her passion for startups, Lizelle brought to the Cape Town shores a global movement and event series called F-U-N Nights (for its full name, click on the link). This is a global movement with monthly events, (which happen in 80 countries and 252 cities) where speakers share their stories of professional failure. The stories of the business that crashes and burns, the partnership deal that goes sour, the product that has to be recalled, we tell them all. In Cape Town, these monthly chapters take place at 6A Canterbury Street, Zonnebloem, Cape Town, from 18h00. South African entrepreneurs that have told their story so far include Stuart Shapiro from Brand Rocket, Kat van Duinen Design and Nigeria based advertising agency Sponge Limited.
“In South Africa we like to talk about our successes because we think that failing is embarrassing; but we need to share our mistakes as they create powerful learnings. We all need to get inspired by local entrepreneurs and by the solutions they are delivering”.
Lizelle has given all TSiBA students a special discount to attend the March FUN Night. Tickets can be obtained on Quicket and enter the code Tsiba.
BBA 3 student Khwezi Jackson was ecstatic after the speech when he told us “To hear first hand from an entrepreneur, their highs and lows was breath taking experience”.
We look forward to the engagement, networking and idea creation that will come out of CONNECTION. Please get in touch should you wish to be a speaker at the next chapter!