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We caught up with Anele Mkuzo-Magape who is the Managing Director for African Entrepreneurship Initiative, a consulting and entrepreneur development company aimed at empowering youth entrepreneurs in Africa. She has designed programs for more than 400 entrepreneurs and has been nominated by Mail and Guardian as one of the Top 200 young South Africans in the education category.  Read on and be inspired by this amazing woman!

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where you grew up, studied and where you worked.

 

I was born in the Eastern Cape, and moved to KZN when I was 8 years old. I was matriculated at Kingsway High School in Amanzimtoti, Durban in 2004. In 2005 I went to study Business Science at Rhodes University, which I subsequently changed to a Bachelor of Economics. I completed my degree through UNISA and in 2017 I graduated from GIBS for my Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration.

I’ve been accepted into UCT’s GSB to do my MPhil in Inclusive Innovation.

The most significant work i did was with the enterprise development academy at GIBS. I designed entrepreneurship development programs for hundreds of entrepreneurs from different industries.

Q: What made you decide to go into business?

I noticed an opportunity in the market and decided to pursue it. I get to work on what I’m passionate about every day.

Q: How did you pick the field you are in now?

I thoroughly enjoyed working with entrepreneurs when I was at GIBS, and I knew I wanted to work in a space that encompasses education and entrepreneurship.

Q: You were nominated for Mail and Guardian top 200 young South Africans in education category. How were you selected and how did this nomination influence your leap into entrepreneurship?

I was nominated (they don’t reveal who nominated you). It really gave me the confidence boost to explore the option of starting my own business. But also showed me other young people doing extraordinary things in our country.

Q: For most entrepreneurs the hardest thing is getting start up finance. How did tackle this problem when starting your business.

 I received grant funding that assisted in getting things started.

Q: How many entrepreneurs have you helped to date and how do you find and select people to work with?

In our 17 months of trading, we’ve up-skilled almost 200 entrepreneurs. We usually have an open call to entry or tap into our networks when there is an opportunity for entrepreneurs available.

Q: Education for entrepreneurs is sometimes an ignored field with more emphasis being put on people just starting a business without being given the tools they need to succeed. What do you think needs to be done to shift focus from throwing entrepreneurs into the deep end to actually equipping them before sending them of.

The education about entrepreneurship needs to start at Primary school level. That is when mindsets start forming. The possibility of entrepreneurship as a career must be tackled at a young age. With subject matter that includes elements on starting, growing and sustaining a successful business.

 

Q: What have you learnt now that you wish you had learnt when you started and how did you come about this lesson?

When starting a business ensure you have the right systems and processes in place. Those systems must assist you in making credible business decisions. Example if you have good financial systems, you’re able to make informed decisions about the direction of your business.

Q: Where do you draw strength to keep going especially during the bad days?

I always believe that, “this too shall pass”. I try by all means not to dwell on the things that are beyond my control.

Q: What have been the biggest challenges in your business and how have you managed to tackle them?

New business development is always a challenge. Securing new clients is difficult and takes time. I’ve made sure that our current clients are serviced well so we have repeat business from them.

Q: If you were to give entrepreneurs who are aspiring to be in your field a simple piece of advice, what would it be?

Do your research of the industry, and make sure you have an offering that’ll differentiate you from other organisations.

If you want to learn more about the African Entrepreneurship Initiative and their programs visit their site at: African Entrepreneurs Initiative .

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