African Millennial Entrepreneurs on Leadership

Updated on 13 January 2017

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5 young entrepreneurs share 5 new ways of thinking about leadership

Independent and passionate, African millennial’s are shaping up to influence the ever-changing entrepreneurship landscape in a big way.

Not only are they a rapidly growing market and represent a big portion of most business’ current and future customers, they are also quickly replacing the baby-boomers as the biggest workforce and bringing with them new ways of thinking about leadership.

According to Stats SA, there are approximately 14,5 million millennial’s in South Africa and according to a PwC study, Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace, millennial’s will form 50% of the global workforce by 2020.

The Millennial Mindset

The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, ‘Winning over the next generation of leaders’, reveals that this generation has different ideas about leadership.

Almost nine in ten (87%) believe that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance,” the global survey revealed.

When asked: “What are the most important values a business should follow if it is to have long-term success?” The respondents said that businesses should put employees first, and they should have a solid foundation of trust and integrity.

This has meant that leadership itself is being changed quite dramatically.

The new year presents the perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs to consider a fresh approach and find new ways of thinking about leadership. It is a reset button allowing you to reevaluate your strategies as well as look ahead at what the new year is likely to bring.

5 South African millennial leaders share their thoughts on what leadership means to them to inspire you to start thinking differently about how you will lead this coming year.

African Millennial Entreprenur: Lynette Ntuli

Lynette Ntuli, founder of Innate Investment Solutions.

Why Ntuli is a next gen leader: Ntuli is the founding director and CEO of Innate Investment Solutions, a property, asset and infrastructure development and solutions firm.

Lynette is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and Founding Curator of a South African hub. In 2014, she had been selected as one of the Top 200 Leaders of Tomorrow by the St Gallen Symposium – the world’s premier symposium on leadership, politics and society. Lynette is a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow in the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI),

Authentic leadership – “Do not try to live second-rate versions of other people’s lives. Be the first-rate version of yourself and embrace that. Authenticity is not something you proclaim for others to see, it is a construct you build in the way you operate and the way you move through the world.” – Lynette Ntuli’s 5 ways to become a next gen woman leader

African Millennial Entreprenur: Tumi Phake

Tumi Phake, founder of Zenzele Fitness.

Why Phake is a next gen leader: Phake is the founder and CEO of Zenzele Fitness. The startup, which launched in 2014, is establishing gyms in some of South Africa’s most successful companies catering for corporates who are eager to promote employee wellness.

The former banker was earlier this year chosen to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme in the US along with 1 000 other young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa, each chosen for demonstrating a commitment to bringing about real change on the African continent. Phake was also chosen as one of 2015’s Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans in the Business and Law category.

Meaningful partnerships – “Collaboration is the keystone of leadership success for Africa. This is not about being best friends, or even necessarily liking everyone you’re working with. It is about putting all and any baggage aside, bringing your best self to the table, and focusing on the common goal.” – ‘Leading beyond my business’

African Millennial Entreprenur: Vusi Thembekwayo

Vusi Thembekwayo, founder of MOTIV8 Advisory.

Why Thembekwayo is a next gen leader: Global business speaker and Dragon Den’s SA’s Thembekwayo is a 30-year-old self-made millionaire.

At 25 he ran a R400 m division in a R17 bn multi-national. He is now the CEO of a boutique investment and advisory firm, MOTIV8 Advisory and one of the youngest directors of a listed company in SA.

Thembekwayo was selected as one of the Top 12 speakers in the world in the MeetingsNet Editors 2015 Awards and was an Entrepreneur of The Year finalist in 2010.

The greater good – “[We need to create] a culture of delayed gratification, that says build it, but build it for the next 10 years, next 15 years, shape generations, send young people through to varsity, create innovative structures and platforms and processes that will allow ours to build a different continent, but whatever you do, delay your own gratification” – Lessons from one of the world’s leading business speakers

African Millennial Entreprenur: Claire Reid

Claire Reid, founder of Reel Gardening.

Why Reid is a next gen leader: Reid is the founder of Reel Gardening, a company that manufactures innovative biodegradable seed strips which makes gardening accessible to everyone. Reid was only 16 when she developed Reel Gardening.

In 2003, her invention, which uses 80% less water than traditional gardening methods, won her the Stockholm Junior Water Prize.

Getting the best out of your team – “I have always been a leader who recognises the unique skill and passion that each person brings to the team and I work to enable them to give of themselves to the best of their ability and to grow within the team as a leader themselves. I do not believe in pushing or pulling people, I believe in holding their hand and walking on the journey with them until they are ready to let go and take someone else’s hand to guide them thus becoming a leader themselves” – What you can learn from how this millennial leads

African Millennial Entreprenur: Afua Osei

Afua Osei, co-founder of She Leads Africa.

Why Osei is a next gen leader: Osei is one half of a dynamic duo that founded and runs She Leads Africa, a social enterprise that is aimed at advancing female entrepreneurship on the African continent and the diaspora.

A political consultant by training, Osei has worked as a strategist providing communications expertise to political campaigns at EMILY’s List in the US, creating community engagement programs as a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia as well as a stint assisting the White House research and writing teams in the Office of the First Lady.

Forbes named her and her co-founder Yasmin Belo-Osagie, among 20 youngest power women in Africa.

Sweat the small things – “I have learnt that leadership is really about the little moments. I’ve tried those big inspirational things. I’ve tried to do that. I don’t think that’s my style. I’ve found that it’s the small things of remembering what’s important to your team. It’s about being there for them and supporting them, coaching and giving advice. It’s about letting people know that it’s not a boss-type of relationship. It’s about how can we both work together to achieve this goal.” – The face of young African leadership

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