Dispelling the myth of rock star entrepreneurs
“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: