I am excited that in this episode that I had an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with the founder and CEO of Local Village Foods.
She is someone that I admire both as an entrepreneur and a dear friend. Our conversation made me realize the value of reflection as an entrepreneur. This is the practice of taking time out to understand the environment we start businesses in and to understand the value that we bring to society.
Our businesses are not just about us, they are about the staff that work in our businesses, the lives we transform, and the new economic value that we bring to our countries and the world.
Reflection truly is the key to unlocking opportunities in our businesses and society.
Please click on the link below to listen to our conversation:
Today, we launched our first Thursday of the month feature on emotions, fear, and entrepreneurship. In this episode, we gain an understanding of all the different ways in which our emotions impact our thoughts and ultimately business success.
There are enough tools to help entrepreneurs think through technical aspects of their businesses, but few tools that help entrepreneurs understand themselves emotionally and mentally.
Emotions are entrepreneurs’ greatest asset as they regulate motivation, creativity, and behavior. Please click on the link below and share some of your thoughts on how you manage the most intimate aspects of your entrepreneurial journey.
Today marks the celebration of Heritage Day in South Africa. Heritage Day is about celebrating the diverse cultures within South Africa. Celebrations typically include a flamboyant display of cultures through dressing followed by a day of “braaiing” or barbequing with family and friends.
My reflections on this day include assessing whether South Africa has the right environment for entrepreneurs to thrive. Does our culture or heritage truly empower entrepreneurs in their thinking? In this episode, I unpack the various dimensions of culture according to Hofstede and analyze whether we indeed have a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. I encourage listeners of this podcast who are not from South Africa to apply the same framework in their own countries.
I conclude by saying that even though we are a nation of risk-takers that values individual creativity, expression, and individual freedoms. These values are fundamental to entrepreneurship and a culture of innovation. However, we are an unequal society that emphasizes the need to acquire material wealth with less focus on purpose and the quality of life. Our short term thinking ultimately limits our entrepreneurs’ ability to stay the course and own established businesses. This is a loss to our entrepreneurship outcomes as a nation as our policy frameworks emphasize entrepreneurship as a key economic driver. I challenge us to rethink our need to see short-term results and quick wins and to rather adopt a future focused mindset.
The past few months of 2020 have been described by The Economist, The IMF, and others as unprecedented. Covid-19 has not only been declared as a pandemic, but it has left many economies ailing with large serious contractions in GDP, job losses, and putting many people into poverty.
In this episode, we explore how entrepreneurs can stay sane at this time and guard their minds during this time of crisis. I emphasize the need for entrepreneurs to be especially mindful of their emotional wellness. I also share some thinking tips that will help entrepreneurs gather enough courage to rebuild what may have been broken by Covid-19 during this time of change.
Please feel free to share some of your own experiences in the comment box below or to write to me directly.
On Friday, 21 August, we celebrated World Entrepreneurship Day and I had the pleasure of presenting at the SEDA and EDSE Webinar based in South Africa. In summary, the webinar was about opportunities for incubators in South Africa to create value in corporate supply chains. This is quite a timely topic in South Africa and the world at large.
We are living in an age where the entrepreneurship and innovation eco-systems of countries are becoming their recipe to growth. I say this because I am a Schumpeter -ian. Schumpeter believed that innovation was the key driver of economic growth. This requires a reflection on Adam’s Smith who believes that economic growth is driven by labour specialization and productivity.
I bet the moment you read “Schumpeter” you immediately thought of “creative destruction”. Well, that is exactly what I think is important right now. The idea of the new replacing the old and creating a new equilibrium, or “new normal”. It’s interesting that most people are referring to the impact of Covid19 as the “new normal”. It is interesting because that is exactly what “creative destruction” is… Schumpeter describes creative destruction as the “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.” (Investopedia, 2019).
Earlier on, I made note of SEDA’s Webinar on incubators being timely. This is because I believe that innovation is the new currency of our “new normal”. If I think of the companies and industries that will not only survive, but thrive, in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), it is those that embrace innovation as a currency to maintaining Competitive Advantage.
I have long being following innovation theory even as many corporates, incubators, and entrepreneurs insist on using traditional strategy methodologies such as PESTLE, Porter 5, and Ansoff to determine competitive advantage.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Covid-19 are certainly challenging many of these traditional models. An increasingly uncertain geo-politics agenda, a movement from global supply chains to localised supply chains, and the knowledge economy are all resulting in trends that lead to the adoption of Schumpeterian- led economics which loosely translate to innovation.
As such, our country, South Africa, and the rest of the world need to pay particular attention to our innovation eco-systems. These include incubators.
As an investor and evangelist of entrepreneurs, I believe our incubators have let us down. For starters, I have never met an entrepreneur who credited his/her incubator in helping them fully prototype their products in our country. I have also never met an entrepreneur who credited his/her entrepreneur in testing, through data, some of the assumptions around the actual problem that potential customers were experiencing or how the particular product/solution in question was appropriate for the target market in question.
Incubators in this country, should play a more important role beyond Enterprise Development and Supplier Development points on the B-BBEE Scorecard as required by legislation.
I look forward to a time when investors, corporate innovation accelerators, and international investors are confused because the quality of pipeline and innovation in South Africa is nothing like they would have seen before.
I spent most of my professional life investing in entrepreneurs and working with founding teams during new venture creation. I noticed that there were many technical tools to help entrepreneurs navigate new venture creation, but very few that focused on empowering the minds of founders and their teams. Wellness for Entrepreneurs provides a space for founding teams to share their journeys, find resonance, and knowledge on how to mentally navigate the new venture creation process.
Entrepreneurs are 50% more likely to suffer from mental illness. This just shows the importance of building a community of fellow entrepreneurs who can verbalize the complex mental processes that underpin entrepreneurial ventures.
Throughout this journey we will hear from psychologists, fellow entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and many others who navigate the journey of new venture creation from end to end.