There’s more to life than sitting behind a desk, he says
A YOUNG Johannesburg entrepreneur who has made the 2018 “Forbes 30 Under 30” list says he does not have any regrets over dumping a cushy corporate job for business.
Jack Mthembu openly admits he always wanted to explore his own world without the trappings of the corporate world.
The 27-year founder and chief executive of First One Adventures and The Entrepreneurs Club believes he is currently right where he needs to be.
“What keeps me going is the fact that I’ve got this heart to achieve, to be part of the key players, to make a better Africa for everyone else,” Mthembu says.
“I have this vision to create an Africa that can stand up for itself, regardless of the challenges I’m faced with.
“There have been a lot of sleepless nights and lot of early mornings. There is too much effort that I had to put in to be where I am today.”
The Phalaborwa-born Mthembu graduated with a degree in chartered accountancy from North West University (NWU) in 2015.
He says he only worked for six weeks for a consulting firm before quitting his first job to venture on his own.
He says he started establishing companies in 2014 while still a student at NWU, where he served as president of Enactus, an international non-profit organisation bringing together student, academic and business leaders to improve people’s socio-economic well-being.
First One Adventures offers adventure tours, camps and travel packages for young people, especially high school pupils and corporate organisations.
Mthembu says that First One’s weekends away are not just adventure trips for learners, as the organisation takes them further on a development programme post the camp.
This they do through The Entrepreneurs Club, where they get equipped with entrepreneurship, leadership and nature conservations skills.
He says they mostly target former Model C schools in the inland provinces but adds that plans are afoot to expand the programme to township schools and coastal provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape.
Understandably, he finds school holidays are their busiest periods.
“We want to do partnerships with corporate companies so we can give back to our learners who can’t afford to attend our camps.”
The company’s headquarters are in Johannesburg.
“But we outsource camps in areas such as Magaliesberg and Bela-Bela in Limpopo,” says Mthembu, who is originally from Phalaborwa in Limpopo.
He says they have been motivated by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts toward using entrepreneurship as a means to create jobs and grow the economy.
“We want to inculcate an entrepreneurship culture among learners so that they can study entrepreneurship in university and go on to become job creators.”
He says making this year’s sought-after Forbes 30 under 30 list is exciting.
“Being listed as one to look out for in the near future is exciting, but it also means that one will need to work 100 times harder than before,” says Mthembu, who also offers accounting services to small businesses.
“It also motivates one to continue on an entrepreneurial journey and tells you that you have what it takes to become an African billionaire one day.”
Mthembu says he is all about impacting and developing the youth.
“Our business is profitable but, really, we are not about profits. We want to shape the world to become a better place,” he maintains.
“After all, this is my full-time job.
“After graduating I worked for six weeks for a consulting firm. I got my first pay cheque and I was like, ‘No man, there’s more to life than sitting behind a desk’.”
The up-and-coming Forbes 30 Under 30 nominee says he is all about impacting and developing the youth.
Jack Mthembu is founder and chief executive of First One Adventures. He’s made the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 list.