Mogau Seshoene is the founder and CEO of The Lazy Makoti, a cooking startup, with some retail… or is it education? The Lazy Makoti provides comprehensive cooking lessons that are largely targeted at the young professional who do not know their way around the kitchen as they would like. The Lazy Makoti also sells branded kitchen accessories that are manufactured in Mamelodi.
Most of us know, or have at least heard of popular business books. Books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad; Steve Jobs, The Lean Startup, Think and Grow Rich, Good to Great and I’m sure I have missed a few which you have thought of. But what do all these popular books have in common… the geographic region where their stories are based. Is American literature relevant to African entrepreneurs?
What is it about?
The Startup Playbook is composed of 41 entrepreneurs who’ve made their mark and their money on this treacherous path of starting and running a business. Entrepreneurs such as Chris Anderson of Ted Talks, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn and Elon Musk of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX. Its a playbook because not only does it have the stories of these successes but it also has the advice that they consider critical for startups.
Paseka Lesolang is the founder and CEO of WHC – Water, Hygiene, Convenience. WHC produces several products that save water, most notably, the Leakless Valve.
Since 2008, he has started several businesses varying from branding, sales & marketing, bottled water, outdoor advertising and social initiatives. He has been extensively covered in radio (Motseding FM, Talk Radio 702, Power FM and SA FM), television (Rize Mzansi, Living Land, 48Hours, Morning Live, CNBC, Soweto TV), print media (Pretoria News, Daily Sun, Engineering News, SAA Magazine) and a ridiculous list of online publications.
In the past few months South Africa has received a great deal of national and international attention for its treatment of foreign African nationals. Most call it “xenophobia”, fear/hatred of foreigners, and others call it “afrophobia” because its not Europeans or Americans who experience the brunt of this violence but Africans.
Based on some of the research that I’ve done on book review “etiquette”, books reviewed should be fairly recent and this is far from it. This book was originally written in 1936 and its been edited since. It’s sold over 16 million copies and remains popular still today. I probably shouldn’t start asking for forgiveness for reviewing such an oldie because I anticipate that its probably going to happen again.
Benzi Kuzwayo is the founder and CEO of the confectionery startup, Keki Patisseries. Her current business has won the best pitch at the HookUp Dinner and was part of the SAB KickStarter programme. She has been profiled in a number of print and radio stations including YFM and Destiny Magazine. However, I am most impressed by the fact that she started and ran her own spaza (she calls it a “coffee shop”) for 4 years while she was studying BCom Finance at the University of Johannesburg.
Right up there with death and taxes, certainties in life, is change. I can’t think of anyone or anything that’s immune to change, rates may vary but change is inevitable. If its not improving, its deteriorating. Our language is no different especially in South Africa where we mix masala our 11 official languages (I spoke to a Ghanian friend recently who said that SA TV shows such as Generations were different to other African soapies because they were able to communicate in several different languages and not stick to one) . In line with how things change is how certain words become more popular and ambiguous thus losing their denotation. At some point the word “deep” was very popular, I would normally associate that word with a Maya Angelou poem or a book by Bessie Head but it was at the stage of having lost its meaning, “You got 90% on your exam? That’s deep man!”.
Its only after I started a business that I realised how rough it was. Before that, stories of successful entrepreneurs like Mo Ibrahim and Wale Tinubu, in Africa’s Greatest Entrepreneurs by Moky Makura, made me think that entrepreneurship was just… different. I also had this idea that divorced couples had support groups to deal with the trauma of “failed marriages” yet people were getting married by the millions. There weren’t entrepreneur support groups (not that I knew of) for failed businesses so entrepreneurship couldn’t be that bad – with that reasoning, I won’t be getting a Nobel Prize anytime soon.
In the very first post of this blog, titled Girl In a Taxi, I shared the story of some of the secondary research that contributed to the development of Red Case. What was not included was the manner in which I conducted the primary research, it may be helpful to you and your journey. This is also inline with the series of the past few blogs where we discuss What Research Means for Your Business Idea and How To Conduct Secondary for Your Business Idea.