Entrepreneurs are people who want to make a difference, are their own boss, work hard, and want to live a lifestyle that they want. It is a lonely path to take at the beginning and probably for most the hardest thing to do (start your own business) in their lives.
They are people who dare to be unique – dare to keep a promise to themselves and have make their ideas are reality.
Now you must be thinking why am I telling you this? Well, this information is vital for my work and my lifestyle at the moment because I am an entrepreneur. As part of the recent start-up company called Over The Rainbow –Empowering Entrepreneurs- I am conducting research and writing chapters, which are going to be part of a book and webpage, that form part of educating entrepreneurs by letting them follow the 7 steps in how to start and maintain a sustainable business and help them find their pot of gold (at the end of the rainbow). We have only been working on this project for the last 6 months and for me personally the last 2 weeks and we launched our business last Wednesday.
What we have discovered is that entrepreneurs lack the education, especially here in SA, as to how they can even begin to start a business and make sure it becomes a successful business. Some hard facts on this point:
- The SA total entrepreneurial activity stands around 8 % at the moment
- 70% of the SA small businesses fail in their first year.
- 9 out of 10 new businesses do not last five years
When you compare these facts to the Total Entrepreneurial Activity in Brazil (15%) and Mexico (13 %), South-Africa has a relatively small entrepreneurial community. This situation is alarming within a society where the gap between rich and poor is now one of the highest in the world. But why are entrepreneurs so important for a developing country’s economy? Firstly, entrepreneurs create new businesses and result in new employment. If their businesses thrive, their employees are likely to receive a better education and training so they can develop further and the business can grow (providing even more employment). All of this is beneficial across a broad spectrum of the economy of the country. Aside from the economic benefits, entrepreneurs break away from tradition, so to speak: they can contribute to creating social change, and be an example that it is possible by creating a successful business. Entrepreneurs are also a part of a major network of other entrepreneurs who nurture each other and give back to society. Think about Bill Gates, who uses his own money to support good causes.
Taking all of this in consideration, it is of great importance to educate and help entrepreneurs in SA.
Think about this quote by Nelson Mandela:
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
This is the core mission at Over The Rainbow and my challenge is to find a way to speak to and educate entrepreneurs and thereby empower them to find their pot of gold.
As for being in SA for 2 weeks now:
The division between the poor and the rich seems even bigger and more out in the open than when I was here 3 years ago. This division offers even more motivation to continue with a career within developing countries and wanting to make this Over The Rainbow business succeed. In my spare time I’ve been surfing, walking around in shorts (yes in September! ;)) and enjoying that liberating feeling of being in a stunning part of the world. I wake up every morning, walk to my bedroom window and see the sun come up over the Table Mountain – I feel so privileged to have been studying in Oxford last year and now being involved in an inspiring and valuable project in the Rainbow country