Le­bona Moleli is pro­mot­ing en­trepreneur­ship and eco­nomic devel­op­ment through pa­tience and per­se­ver­ance, writes Luy­olo Mken­tane

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - BUSINESS -

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,, 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.

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