The Cham­pion of Fi­nan­cial Free­dom

Premier Magazine (South AFrica) - - Contents - Text: Paula Ra­bel­ing Im­age © Sup­plied

Grow­ing up with the un­wa­ver­ing be­lief that en­trepreneur­ship was a part of her, cou­pled with the de­sire to help more South Africans be­come savvy with their fi­nances, Nelisiwe Masango has cre­ated an im­pres­sive in­vest­ment em­pire – be­fore even en­ter­ing her 30s.

“While some peo­ple as­pired to be en­trepreneurs, I was born one,” ex­plains Masango (26), the founder and di­rec­tor of Bear Run In­vest­ments, an award-win­ning and in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised in­vest­ment train­ing com­pany. “En­trepreneur­ship is re­ally about find­ing so­lu­tions and serv­ing the com­mu­nity. I am a firm be­liever in ‘ser­vant lead­er­ship’, so be­com­ing an en­tre­pre­neur was def­i­nitely sec­ond na­ture be­cause it is within me.”

It was this com­mit­ment to make a pos­i­tive change in com­mu­ni­ties that saw the cre­ation of her com­pany.

Bear Run In­vest­ments

Masango be­gan Bear Run In­vest­ments in 2013. She was fas­ci­nated by wealth cre­ation, and how some peo­ple went on to be­come fi­nan­cially suc­cess­ful in their lives, while oth­ers did not, de­spite hav­ing the same amount of hours in a day. She be­gan re­search­ing, and found out that be­ing fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent is mind-set based.

“With the ma­jor­ity of the South African pop­u­la­tion be­ing fi­nan­cially il­lit­er­ate, I made a de­ci­sion to make a dif­fer­ence in the world by teach­ing peo­ple about per­sonal fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, wealth cre­ation, long-term in­vest­ing, and en­trepreneur­ship.”

She wanted her com­pany to be about ed­u­ca­tion and skills de­vel­op­ment be­cause “once you im­part the in­for­ma­tion and the knowl­edge, one car­ries those lessons for­ever”. Masango con­tin­ues, “It is very im­por­tant for one to be fi­nan­cially ed­u­cated as ed­u­ca­tion is not just a once-off process, but an on­go­ing, life-long jour­ney to fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence.”

The Im­por­tance of In­vest­ing

South Africans are not known for their sav­ings savvi­ness. Ac­cord­ing to the In­vestec GIBS (Gor­don In­sti­tute of Busi­ness Sci­ence) Sav­ing In­dex re­leased ear­lier this year, which mea­sures the sav­ings rate of South Africa and the sav­ings be­hav­iour of the coun­try, South Africa scored 60.5 points at the end of 2017 – with the pass mark be­ing 100, this does not bode well for the sav­ings cul­ture of the coun­try.

Masango wants to see this change; her de­sire is that ev­ery South African knows the ba­sics of fi­nance and be­comes open to im­prov­ing their fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion and in­vest­ing in fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy.

“We spend a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time work­ing to­wards mak­ing money and we do not fo­cus enough of our at­ten­tion on keep­ing that money. As a na­tion, it is im­por­tant for us to ad­dress these is­sues from within our own house­holds and com­mu­ni­ties.”

When it comes to which in­dus­try she would per­son­ally in­vest in above all oth­ers, she chooses train­ing and skills de­vel­op­ment – the in­dus­try she is cur­rently in­vested in with Bear Run. “I per­son­ally feel that ed­u­ca­tion, on all lev­els, is re­quired to build a sus­tain­able global econ­omy. The late Nel­son Man­dela put it best when he said: ‘Ed­u­ca­tion is the most pow­er­ful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ By build­ing a lead­ing train­ing com­pany, we can em­power in­di­vid­u­als through ed­u­ca­tion as well as up­lift the com­mu­nity and those who were pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged, through learn­er­ships.”

The Suc­cess Equa­tion

Ac­cord­ing to Masango, prayer, pas­sion, and per­se­ver­ance are the qual­i­ties be­hind her suc­cess. She makes time to med­i­tate in or­der to en­sure that her daily plans align with her ul­ti­mate goals, as well as to re­flect on the day when busi­ness closes.

She goes on to ex­plain, “Be­ing pas­sion­ate about what you do is im­por­tant, es­pe­cially as an en­tre­pre­neur. Most days are bet­ter than some so it is of paramount im­por­tance to put your pas­sion be­fore prof­its and re­mem­ber why you started this jour­ney. My fa­ther taught me to per­se­vere in ev­ery­thing that I do, be it big or small. Start­ing strong means noth­ing if you are not go­ing to fin­ish even stronger.”

Masango be­lieves it im­per­a­tive to stay rel­e­vant as a brand and as a busi­ness for suc­cess. “The big­gest mis­take I made in the in­fancy stages of Bear Run In­vest­ments was be­ing timid and shy­ing away from all forms of me­dia by at­tempt­ing to build a busi­ness be­hind the scenes. Tra­di­tional me­dia, as well as cer­tain so­cial me­dia plat­forms, are power tools to reach the masses and gain the trust of your au­di­ence. The world is con­stantly evolv­ing and so­cial me­dia plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in shap­ing the en­tre­pre­neur­ial space, there­fore, all com­pa­nies need to adapt and im­ple­ment dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing,” she ex­plains.

This en­tre­pre­neur has a lot of suc­cesses to be proud of: from start­ing a busi­ness in her early 20s, to hav­ing that ven­ture be­come a renowned, award-win­ning suc­cess story. For Masango, her great­est per­sonal ac­com­plish­ment was re­ceiv­ing the African En­tre­pre­neur­ial Vi­sion­ary Lead­er­ship In­no­va­tion Award 2017 from Frost and Sul­li­van, while her great­est busi­ness ac­com­plish­ment was be­ing the youngest fe­male owner of a Seta (Skills Ed­u­ca­tion Train­ing Au­thor­i­ties) ac­cred­ited train­ing provider in South Africa in 2018. Em­pow­er­ing Women

In ad­di­tion to Bear Run In­vest­ments, Masango started Fe­fine in 2016, a non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that aims to en­cour­age and em­power women to come to­gether and sup­port one an­other pro­fes­sion­ally, as well as be­come fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent.

Fe­fine has col­lab­o­rated with South African brands to up­lift women and help them achieve their dreams. “Sta-sof-fro has done an im­pec­ca­ble job at bring­ing a group of women to­gether to stand as one and to in­spire women from dif­fer­ent back­grounds. Their amaz­ing #Wearyou cam­paign speaks on the im­por­tance of be­ing an in­di­vid­ual, em­brac­ing your ex­ter­nal beauty, but also mo­ti­vates women to be bold, fear­less, con­fi­dent, and un­apolo­getic about their as­pi­ra­tions and abil­ity to con­quer. United we stand, di­vided we fall!”

At only 26 years of age, Masango has risen to in­cred­i­ble heights in the busi­ness world – with her drive, de­ter­mi­na­tion, and pas­sion for ad­vanc­ing pos­i­tive change, she is cer­tainly some­one to cel­e­brate, and def­i­nitely watch as she con­tin­ues to build her em­pire.

For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit www.bear­run­in­vest­

The suc­cess or fail­ure of a busi­ness is very rarely de­ter­mined by macroe­co­nomic fac­tors alone, but rather by the el­e­ments of a busi­ness that are pos­si­ble to con­trol.

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