Getting entrepreneurs started and giving them the advice and encouragement to succeed was what Joburg’s first entrepreneurship symposium in Braamfontein was all about.
Leading up to this event, the City of Johannesburg hosted regional symposiums over the past month, encouraging business owners to start interacting with the city about how it can better provide a sustainable economic environment.
MMC for Economic Development Leah Knott said the symposium focuses on improving entrepreneurial ecosystems, in order to grow the economy and facilitate job creation.
“As per the Department of Economic Development’s 17/18 Financial Year deliverables, we have committed to increased regional economic development and support towards entrepreneurial development,” she said.
“In order to succeed, such an approach can only work through stronger alignment between the department and regional offices as well as collaboration between
the city, private sector and small businesses.”
The event brought together various business minds, promoting networking and mentorship.
The first black South African to receive an MBA from Stanford University, dynamic businesswoman, and entrepreneur Zipho Sikhakhane, agrees that mentorship and networking is a key factor to entrepreneurial success.
In her inspiring speech, Zipho Sikhakhane also said education is very important and a tool that can lift one out of poverty, ultimately helping to create jobs.
She advised that people who want to start their business should work hard and put in the effort.
“When you really take a look at billionaires today, they have been perfecting their craft for 10 years ago.”
Doing what you are good at and giving it your best, is what she advised.
“If you are not doing this, and if you are not doing what you enjoy, don’t be surprised when you can’t find financing or partners.”
Vuyiswa Mutshekwane, an entrepreneur and a strategist who has built a successful career in fashion retail, marketing, and events, believes a structured proposal will get you the funding you need.
” Financing is the number one challenge. But check if your business is viable. If it really is, money will start appearing,” she said.
Mutshekwane encouraged entrepreneurs to work together, ensuring everyone will get where they want to be faster.
“Share ideas. Don’t be afraid someone will take it. And if someone already has that idea, it probably was not a good idea in the first place.”
Both speakers also encouraged failure. This is where lessons are hardest learned.
Sikhakhane said people should continue to fail until they succeed.
Ultimately, she said, entrepreneurs should not build a start-up, they should build a business.