On Friday the 17th of November, BizCre8 hosted a panel discussion on the topic of entrepreneurship in the township economy versus that of the “mainstream” economy and how entrepreneurs can traverse the divide between the two. The panel discussion was facilitated by Timothy Webster, a distinguished author and expert on human and brand behaviour.
The panel was made up of:
- Ms Jean Chawapiwa, one of the few women to have reached the top of the mining industry in South Africa. Today she is the CEO of WeConnect South Africa, a platform for connecting and uplifting female led businesses in South Africa. She also sits on the board of Junior Achievement Africa and Junior Achievement World Wide.
- Dr Tash Ismail-Saville, author of the book New markets, new mindsets which showcases pioneering businesses and their base of the pyramid champions, as well as their experiments, success, failures and best practices in creating new and sustainable markets in previously underserved communities.
- Ms Neliswa Fente, grew up in the Alexandra township and is the co-founder of SpringAge, a youth led innovation consulting firm that brings together dynamic young people in South Africa to find innovative solutions for corporations. Her business was sold to Deloitte and she is now growing the company within Deloitte.
- Ms Noluthando Tutani, a senior consultant with Enterprise Room who is an enterprise and supplier development specialist with over 11 years’ experience in the SMME space. She has a passion for upskilling SMME’s and journeying with them through the different stages of their business growth.
- Mr Siya Sagweni, a charismatic media specialist who is regularly seen on “The Gareth Cliff Show”. He is also the founder of tech platform Black Space, a digital directory of black-youth owned businesses in South Africa’s major cities.
- Mr Mojak Lehoko, a comedian, writer and actor who has been previously nominated for the Comic’s Choice Awards and International Emmy award. He has transformed his innate artistic ability into a highly successful business venture, drawing from his experiences in both the towonship and suburbia.
The evening saw a crowd of entrepreneurs and SMME development probationers enjoy the lively discussion and participate in a Q and A with the panel. Those in attendance were also treated to a pop-up market and a traditional Sophiatown dinner as the live jazz band played away in the background.