Among its many protégés, Vunani counts the co-founder and CEO of pharmaceutical company Destiny Corporation Group, Nkosi-Yawo Gugushe, who spent seven years with Vunani, and Pani Tyalimpi, who i s now head of corporate finance at Harith General Partners.
In Gugushe’s own words: “Everything I have learnt about investment banking, and how to be an economic freedom champion in the world of super-capitalism that we live in, I learnt from Butana, Mark and Ethan, as well as my other colleagues. There were practical lessons in analysing financial statements, building financial and economic models, presenting to clients and engaging with them to understand their point of view and persuade them to yours.”
“Beyond that, the chance to freel y express one’s i deas, to l earn through error and correction, to dream into the future and work to make those dreams a reality were integral parts of the package. The fact that one was able to do this in an environment owned, l ed and ‘ culturally’ dominated by black people was an eye opener.”
Says Tyalimpi: “They exposed me to opportunities that I would not be exposed to under normal circumstances especially around that time. The era was still not conducive and not ready to support and develop black people, let alone for women.
“The magnitude of transactions I worked on and the role I played in those transactions [and in Vunani in general], exposed me to deeper knowledge and shaped my confidence and character. I was then prepared for the road ahead and to be a player who understands and is able to competently deal with the demands that come with this sector.”
She concludes: “It is not about a salary only but also the working environment. Most i mportantly entrepreneurs must be self- driven, focused, resilient, committed, determined and have tenacity especially i f t hey are women because they have to demonstrate their capabilities twice as much.”