What does it profit to give thought to a man who behind him is 15 years crocheted with threads of failure, strands of financial ruin, loops of riches, all but one making up his entrepreneurial blueprint? SUNDAY STAMDARD’s TLOTLO LEMMENYANE chit-chat to Lebo Gunguluza – a South African entrepreneur dubbed “the breakthrough entrepreneur to find out.
It might very well be that a man with such a story to tell should be heeded to particularly by a country that is in dire need to stimulate meaningful activity in entrepreneurship as to turn around its economic misfortunes.
Seemingly aware that the entrepreneurial efforts in Botswana have not produced results similar to the investment made in them Gunguluza responded to this paradox by opining that Botswana needs to start paying keen attention to the manner in which it promotes entrepreneurship. “Botswana has to inspire, it needs to show successful cases of entrepreneurs, people must be excited to become entrepreneurs and make things happen,” he advised. He went further to explain that sometimes it’s the concept of a country promoting the level of entrepreneurship, in the sense that it should first be inspired and then from there the country will be able to grow its activity by means of putting in place policies that can aid the growth. He backed this up with the fact that it is equally important to communicate to entrepreneurs what they are getting themselves into as such is not an easy thing. “Those are the things the country needs to assess and check and start being creative and attend to them,” he advanced.
Gunguluza raises a valid observation given the analysis of the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship monitor report. According to the report findings “in Botswana and five Latin American and Caribbean economies (Puerto Rico, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Panama), established business rates are less than one-third the TEA rates for all three years (2013, 2014,2015). This shows a consistent imbalance between early-stage entrepreneurial activity and mature business activity, possibly pointing to issues with sustainability of start-up efforts in these economies.” The report further cites that regarding the rate of business discontinuance Botswana is included among countries in which more than one-tenth of working age adults had discontinued a business in the past year. It postulates that there may be a high level of opportunity and need for entrepreneurship in such countries as Botswana but a natural consequence of this is a certain degree of failure or other reasons for exiting a business. An interesting observation it makes is that the high rate of business discontinuance accompanies a high Total Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rate. This is particularly accurate in the case of Botswana as the report also notes that entrepreneurial intentions in Botswana record a high rate, estimated at 60 percent, which are consistent with high opportunity and capability perceptions and low fear of failure expressed by respondents in Botswana. “The case of Botswana provides a very different pattern of social values and individual attributes: 70% of respondents see entrepreneurship as a good career choice, there is a high share of respondents with perceived opportunities (57.2%) and perceived capabilities (67.1%), and a very low level of fear of failure (13.7%) led to 63.4% of respondents with entrepreneurial intentions,” it cites.
Entrepreneurship could in the case of Botswana be considered both a potential economic stimulant and a pain. It remains important, given the high unemployment rate, for Botswana to continue to fuel entrepreneurial activities. Garnering from Gunguluza what he considers to be entrepreneurship and that which earned him a multi-million net worth, he responded ““Entrepreneurship is taking on an opportunity for a very specific target audience that you understand very well, and making serious money out of it, because without the opportunity and without someone who is going to buy into that opportunity, you don’t have a business.”
Regarding his business acumen Gunguluza made his first million at the age of 27 which landed in his bank account solely from his prowess in the numbers game. At age 25 Gunguluza cracked the first trade trick, “the one thing that came to mind was changing the numbers,” he enlightened. He shared that his early riches did not trickle from any form of funding nor a government tender. He advised in that regard that entrepreneurs should understand the mechanisms of how money works in whatever particular space they are interested in by identifying areas where a lot of money is flowing.
The Botswana Trade and Investment Centre (BITC) roped in Lebo Gunguluza, a South African entrepreneur dubbed “the breakthrough entrepreneur” to inspire local entrepreneurs and investors on maneuvering the current business landscape in an engagement that took place this week Friday.