Dis­pelling the myth of rock star en­trepreneurs

Finweek English Edition - - JSE -

“NO CON­VER­SA­TION can take place in South Africa with­out talk­ing about en­trepreneur­ship, job cre­ation and poverty” main­tains Pro­fes­sor Nick Binedell, found­ing di­rec­tor of the Gor­don In­sti­tute of Busi­ness Science (GIBS). Speak­ing at an en­trepreneur­ship evening held at the busi­ness school, Binedell as­serted that the coun­try’s pri­vate sec­tor is an ex­tra­or­di­nary one that has pro­duced many global cham­pi­ons – both in­di­vid­ual and cor­po­rate – rel­a­tive to the size of its econ­omy.

“In spite of, or per­haps be­cause of, the many chal­lenges the coun­try faces, we con­tinue to pro­duce en­trepreneurs. Over the next 10 to 20 years, a gen­er­a­tion of South Africans will need the free­dom, sup­port and inspiration to pro­duce com­pa­nies from scratch,” he added.

Allon Raiz, founder and CEO of Raiz­corp, is op­ti­mistic about the pipe­line of en­trepreneurs in South Africa and be­lieves that peo­ple’s per­spec­tives have changed over the years to be more ap­pre­cia­tive of the im­por­tance of en­trepreneurs. He does cau­tion, how­ever, that there is a dan­ger in see­ing en­trepreneurs as rock stars. “Peo­ple see en­trepreneurs who are pro­filed as go­ing from zero to hero in 30 sec­onds and ex­pect their own path to be as quick, when in fact there is a high fail­ure rate and for those who do make it, it takes on av­er­age over five years to see that suc­cess.”

Natasha Sideris, founder of tashas restau­rants, could not agree more. It took 18 years of 16-to 18-hour work­ing days for her to achieve the suc­cess she now en­joys. “ There are many vari­ables to en­trepreneur­ship,” she ex­plains. “ The most im­por­tant are drive, pas­sion, a vi­sion, great te­nac­ity and a will to suc­ceed. Some get there quicker than oth­ers, but re­gard­less it is a long jour­ney with many per­sonal sac­ri­fices.”

Raiz be­lieves that there are five key in­gre- di­ents that en­trepreneurs need to make a suc­cess of their busi­ness:

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