Who teaches SA’s young entrepreneurs?

25 May 15

Young Entrepreneurs of 2015 Series

Where does one learn the vital skills to be an entrepreneur? And what exactly are those skills?

In the second of our Young Entrepreneurs of 2015 series we interview the SAB KickStart Boost finalists for 2015 and find out how and where they learned to run their  businesses.

These entrepreneurs run businesses of all shapes and sizes, with industries ranging from healthcare to energy to farming to digital media. Some are single person enterprises and some employ several people. The average age of the group is 30 and they have been selected from across in South Africa. The group is already well into their intensive business development support programme as part of the SAB KickStart Boost competition.

So where did they learn what they needed to know about running their businesses? We asked them.

My mother

Caroline Kgomo SAB KickStart Boost programme Finalist 2015“I was raised up by a very strong woman who is my mother and I watched her running her business. Although she was operating on her small scale you could say she groomed me at a very young age. She would buy me a packet of sweets to sell to other children at school, and that’s where it all started.”

Caroline Kgomo’s mother taught her business skills at a young age, which today help her run her waste management company.



My uncle’s business

Bonisile Mjoli South African Entrepreneur“I worked at Tren-Tyre ‎for four years as Tyre Recon Specialist for trucks and small cars. I didn't have much experience to run a business, I used to help my uncle in his truck transport business but through the help of God I've managed to run it because this is the fifth year. Still growing strong.”

Bonisile Mjoli learned from his uncle’s business and started a similar one of his own: a vehicle fitment center in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth.



My parents, husband and people I work with

Nomonde Ntinga SAB KickStart Boost programme Finalist 2015“My parents were teachers but had businesses on the side. I saw how they went out of their way to please their clients. My husband sharpened my skills of being a consultant. He gave me the tools to grow this business to be this professional. I have also learnt from these peoples’ mistakes, and intuition.

Health and safety auditing is a very specific field… I gained most if not all health and safety mentoring from the employees of contractors that are the plant operators, foremen and construction supervisors. I was mentored by my husband who is a qualified BTech Civil Engineer.”

Nomonde Ntinga’s occupational health, safety and environmental and quality management systems consultancy firm is now five years old.

Two important components of the SAB KickStart Boost programme are the business development through lectures and workshops at GIBS and the mentorship programme. Many of the entrepreneurs interviewed commented on their experience with SAB KickStart Boost.


My father

Precious Segametse Mapedi SAB KickStart Boost programme Finalist 2015“During school holidays I would go and work in his supermarket based in a rural area. He is my current mentor as well.

The SAB KickStart Boost programme has helped increase my business acumen with the Enterprise Development Training attended at GIBS. Also I have started taken my business growth more seriously and visualised it.”

Precious Segametse Mapedi now runs her own fish and chip business in Polokwane.  



My tertiary agricultural education

Clement Ngwako Pilusa SAB KickStart Boost programme Finalist 2015“The farming skills, both theory and practical, I learnt from Tshwane University of Technology… I also enrolled for experiential learning for 12 months in the Tshwane University of Technology Farm.

I’m currently studying B-tech Agriculture Management with the University of South Africa, and have had four years farming experience with broiler chickens.

The SAB KickStart Boost programme opened my eyes and made me see my vision; the programme paved my road and boosted myself confidence. It made me realise that to run any business you must be trained and acquire skills. The programme equipped me with business operations and management skills through the course that we attended at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). I have learnt lot of things from certain modules such as: ethics and compliance, Financial Management, Marketing and Supply chain management and many more.”

Clement Ngwako Pilusa began his business farming vegetables and more recently expanded into broiler chicken production.


Diverse work experience

Chantelle Smith South African Entrepreneur“My skills were developed from working in different sectors and health departments.

The best part of the SAB KickStart Boost programme so far has been all the business knowledge I learnt. I never knew anything about running a business [before that].”

Chantelle Smith runs a different type of clinic, which focuses on bridging the gap between private and public health care.




A knowledgeable friend

Nolubabalo Pulu South African Entrepreneur“I was fortunate enough to convince a friend of mine to assist me in leading the firm forward. This was the turning point for my business.

Lusani was a friend of mine who, at the time, was in the process of completing his BCOM Honours Business Management in Financial Management (which he completed). At the time the company did not have much focus in its activities and was merely ambling by from job to job. Lusani proved to be a dynamic, technologically inclined individual with a drive to succeed and his contribution to the firm was just that. Together, we continue to set the firm’s strategy.

The skills development segment was definitely the best and the most enriching part of [the SAB KickStart Boost] programme that I will treasure. It reinvigorated my focus and energy through the interaction with a number of business leaders from a very dynamic scope of operations. The enrolment at GIBS and the many skills sessions and support the programmes offered were invaluable.”

Nolubabalo Pulu’s business manufactures and markets homecare and industrial cleaning products to local homes and businesses.


My mentor

Rishane Rajkoomar South African EntrepreneurThe two weeks intensive [SAB KickStart Boost] training at the Gordon Institute of Business Science was life changing. For someone like me that comes from a creative and technical background without much business training, the course was invaluable.

The long term support provided by the business mentor has also been extremely important for me. Sean Paterson, the mentor assigned to me has been really amazing at helping me analyse the strengths and weaknesses of my business, evaluate the choices and opportunities that I have available to me and focus on the ones that will help my business grow the fastest.”

Rishane Rajkoomar worked at one of South Africa’s top film production companies before he started his own media production company.


Spending time observing

Solomon Tohlang South African Entrepreneur“Through attending various stokvel meetings with my mom, it has given me an opportunity to learn and observe how stokvels are managed and also understanding what contribution can I bring within this market to ensure long term sustainability and success.

The best part of the SAB KickStart Boost programme for me so far has been intense business mentorship. It has provided me with an opportunity to work on the business to implement systems to ensure sustainability of the business.”

Solomon Tohlang started a marketing and promotions agency focusing on the stokvel market.


Merging my MBA & SAB KickStart

Ranjan Sewgambar South African Entrepreneur“The SAB KickStart Boost programme has allowed me the opportunity to fine tune my entrepreneurial skills and to think about business differently to the way we learn science or clinical skills.

Currently I am in my final year of my MBA and the enterprise and the business management skills training at GIBS allowed me to think beyond the MBA textbooks. I found value in the merging of both programmes.”

Ranjan Sewgambar is a private practicing audiologist with a passion for innovation.


Where else can people learn the skills they need to be entrepreneurs? Share your comments below.


Keep an eye on SAB Stories for more in the Young Entrepreneurs of 2015 series.



About these entrepreneurs and SAB KickStart Boost:

Each of these promising young South Africans has received business grant funding and is currently undergoing an intensive business development support programme as part of SAB KickStart Boost. This will culminate in an award ceremony at the end of this year where the top five stand to win additional grant funding of between R100 000 and R500 000. The next year’s SAB KickStart Boost Competition is open for entry until 31 May. Find out more here.