We are excited to introduce “Here we are!” A series inspired by two topics close to our heart. Entrepreneurship and education.
In our first Q & A Series we chat with Nwabisa Mayema, Strategic Partnerships Director at Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship South Africa. She is an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs, a beaming light to women and youth around the world.
Let’s dig into the gold!
Goodness, I don’t quite remember! I know when I was finishing up at university, I was convinced that the only way I could earn a livelihood was to create my own job. In thinking about that, I realised that I could create my own job and use that job to do good in the world. We now call that impact entrepreneurship.
I am an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs so the pandemic has felt really close to home. I found myself giving emotional support to entrepreneurs whose businesses are taking strain. In my job, as a team we were always focused on creating jobs through the businesses we support. We continue to do that with the addition of paying attention to saving jobs. This weighs heavily on me because businesses are owned and run by people, businesses service people, businesses employ people so every closure we see means many people’s worlds have been turned upside down. Thinking about the turmoil, bearing witness to the turmoil takes my breath away!
However, we know that opportunities abound in periods of change and uncertainty. What we are seeing is existing entrepreneurs reimagining their businesses and we are seeing barriers to entry fall – think about businesses that have had to embrace e-commerce swiftly: in doing so they have opened up markets in geographies that were part of long term plans. This moment in time is also shining a light on the fault lines that lie in our economic-political-social systems and it is in these fault lines that I think businesses for the future will arise. Businesses that are a force for good, businesses that are scalable and profitable, with people at the centre of those businesses. Businesses that are good for people, good for the planet and good for profit. How do aspiring entrepreneurs leap into these areas of opportunity? Start with your purpose, build a community around yourself and start. Success isn’t guaranteed but if you’re having fun, learning is assured. #screwitletsdoit
Ensuring that everyone has access to good, locally sourced, nourishing food. Everyday. When you’re hungry you don’t have the luxury to think creatively or have the appetite for risk.
Ensuring that all women and girl children feel safe inside their homes and on the streets. If half of our population is vulnerable to danger then we are definitely missing out on the magic that can be weaved into our society.
Flip the script on the understanding that there is nobility in suffering. We can have fun and do good! We can have fun and be successful.
Build, nurture and share your community – a network of relationships of like minded people from all walks of life, all ages, all nationalities, all systems of belief but united by a common purpose. This is the community that will lift you up, this is the community that will support you, shout out loud about you and also very much pull you into line in terms of you being the best version of yourself. Share these relationships with others, it only serves to grow your community.
In the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, we are about to launch programmes that will deliver the red carpet treatment to impact entrepreneurs who are looking to and are currently solving for some of the world’s most pressing challenges – in big and small ways because every action counts. I am so excited even though I cant tell you too much for now but keep your eyes glued on the bransoncentre.co.za and follow us on LinkedIn!
Personally, I am about to release the first episode of a 7-episode podcast called She Rocks Global. It’s been a passion project that I have been incubating with two wonderful friends of mine, Zoja from Serbia and Macarena from Uruguay. We hope that the conversations we have curated are a showcase of perfectly imperfect women from around the world. Our first episode is going live on Women’s Day. You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
Thank you, Nwabisa! We loved hearing from you and we are certain that anyone who reads this will be impacted and challenged to be the best version of themselves, for the greater good of this world.