There’s more to life than sit­ting be­hind a desk, he says

The Sunday Independent - - Features - Luy­olo Mken­tane

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.