GROOMING YOUTH TO GROW THEIR OWN JOBS
Lebona Moleli is promoting entrepreneurship and economic development through patience and perseverance, writes Luyolo Mkentane
A SERIAL entrepreneur who believes that small business is a key economic driver is encouraging people to be innovative and take risks to achieve their goals.
Lebona Moleli, 55, says he wants to expose township youth to entrepreneurship so they become self-reliant and contribute to denting unemployment by creating jobs.
Moleli, who spent almost two decades in the corporate world, is the founder and owner of several businesses including The Marketing Kraal, an advertising media and branding company.
He also runs Lesaka Marketing Consulting and Lebona Investments which focuses on property development, arts and crafts, craft beer brewing, and green technology.
Moleli says he spends much of his time at The Marketing Kraal where he looks after blue-chip clients such as MultiChoice, e.tv, the SABC, Eskom and Cell C.
“It’s a relatively big company,” says Moleli, who has worked for SAA, Coca-Cola Southern Africa and SA Breweries (SAB), among others.
Moleli holds an MBA from
Wits Business School, an MSc in biochemistry from Atlanta University in the US, and a BSc in chemistry from the University of Lesotho.
He says he is passionate about entrepreneurship, education, economic development and wealth creation and about creating a better South Africa for all.
He says he decided to venture into business after 17 years in the corporate sector, his last job being managing director at Uthingo Management, former operator of the South African National Lottery.
“I left my cosy job in 2007 and ventured into entrepreneurship not knowing if I was going to succeed.”
He says, however, that he has always known that he would end up running his own businesses one day.
Moleli says, by the age of 10, his grandmother had already initiated him into selling vegetables in his neighbourhood to make extra cash.
Every time he would ask for money to go to movies, his grandmother would tell him to go and sell some of her stock.
The profits from the door-to-door selling would then be shared equally between the two of them.
“She told me that she was only responsible for feeding me and for my education,” he says.
Moleli, who worked at SAB in senior management roles in the manufacturing, operations and marketing departments, says he should have embarked on entrepreneurship earlier.
One of his immediate assignments now is to launch his much-anticipated craft beer next year.
“I have just signed an invoice with a company that will start brewing my beer. I’m a brewer by training,” says Moleli.
“My passion for brewing is still there and I want to revive it.”
Besides beer crafting, Moleli says he is zealous about youth education and entrepreneurship, and has started a youth entrepreneurship initiative called Project Jala.
The initiative aims to mentor high school learners to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career after their tertiary studies.
Moleli says he also wants to establish a marketing academy which will provide marketing and entrepreneurship courses to the youth.
“People are sitting at home with degrees. We want to encourage them to be employment creators.
“We want to inculcate a culture of entrepreneurship in township youth from a young age.”
Moleli says he started all his business ventures with his own capital and personal investments.
He says he strongly believes in the 4Ps of entrepreneurship: purpose, passion, patience and perseverance.
“Entrepreneurship is a key economic driver. It has to be. Therefore, we want to encourage people to be creative, innovative, and take risks because entrepreneurship is risky,” he says.
“But the higher the risk, the higher the reward. My parting shot would be the fact that together we can make it better. We just need to work together by forming partnerships and collaborations.”
BUSINESSMAN Lebona Moleli is the owner of a number of enterprises.