Vusi Thembekwayo: African Business Culture

Updated on 9 February 2016

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Vusi Thembekwayo: African Business Culture | SME South Africa

VusiThembekwayo has joined global business leaders, including Levi Strauss & Co executive VP James Curleigh, Arianna Huffington – co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, and crisis management superstar Judy Smith as MeetingsNet Editor’s Pick Top 12 Speakers of 2015.

Global business speaker and Dragon Den’s SA’s Thembekwayo is a 30-year-old self-made millionaire and the chief executive of MOTIV8 Advisory, chairman of Watermark Afrika Fund – a private equity house with assets in six African countries – and chairman of the venture capitalist start-up, My Growth Fund.

In light of his recent accomplishment, we look at his most recent talk which is a Tedx talk he gave in 2015 at the University of Namibia.

In the talk entitled ‘The big lie of small business’, Thebekwayo looks at what needs to be done to shape and change the narrative shaping entrepreneurship and SMEs on the continent.

“We need to start a culture of delayed gratification”

Thebekwayo says, “It’s not ok for us to start small businesses. It’s not ok for us to be happy to be vendors on the side of the road anymore selling fruits and vegetables. What we need to do is own the place that produces the fruit, own the road infrastructure that moves the fruit, own the retail infrastructure that sells the fruit, own the banking system that transacts the whole platform and by the way why don’t we just take the taxes as well.”

Here are four powerful quotes from Thembekwayo on what needs to be done for the continent to reach its full potential.

1. Change the conversation 
“The conversation needs to be how do you build a business with a philosophy in mind? It’s got to be greater than you. It’s got to be about changing the very way our very own continent works, bettering other people’s lives and the innovations that we bring to market –  we have something that nobody else has in the rest of the world and they can only get it here.”

 2. We need a strong system of mentorship
“Incumbent upon us is to create a system in our social spaces where we can access mentorship to think differently. This I would imagine is our deepest challenge socially.”

See also: How To Apply For Mentorship

 3. We need to start a culture of delayed gratification
“Fast money moves fast in, but it also moves really fast out.”

“[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.”

4. Don’t wait for perfect
We need to create a culture that says start – start badly, start scrappy, make mistakes, fail, start again but whatever you do just start.

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