You’veled engagements with the World Bank and the Rwandan Presidency on reducing thegap between the rich and poor in developing nations, and your book, In theRiver They Swim, details enterprise solutions to poverty alleviation. Whatdrives this passion?
It’s the biggest challenge of our timein Africa. The continent might be politicallyliberated but political freedom without economic prosperity is meaningless. Ourgeneration’s challenge is to create wealth for the everyday person
Whatrole do you believe entrepreneurship has to play in reducing poverty in SA?
Companies create wealth, notgovernments. Entrepreneurial companies can create wealth and reduce wealthdisparity on two fronts: they provide jobs and pay salaries to skilledemployees and contribute to a greater tax base, which gives government moreresources to create further opportunities for wealth creation.
What does SA need to do to helpentrepreneurs overcome their challenges?
On paper, South Africa has a number ofpolicies to support entrepreneurship but it’s clear that a shotgun approachdoesn’t work. We need more specific support models that target particularcategories of entrepreneurs. At Endeavor, we’ve identified fourmodels that need to be implemented. The Silicon Valleymodel provides support for IP that is created at local academic institutions orgovernment research centres, and is commercialised with the help of venturecapital or angel funding. The Mother-Ship Firm model incentiviseslarge companies to develop smaller spin-off companies by setting employees upas entrepreneurs. The External Trigger Model ensures fast, effective andadequate crisis-driven funding for new businesses when an external event (likemass retrenchments) creates an abundance of skilled workers. Finally the Role Model approach fostersa culture that celebrates entrepreneurs, inspiring others in the community tostart a business within or outside a local entrepreneurial hero’s industry, andproviding fast, efficient financing options.
Howdoes your vision for Endeavor tie in with these issues?
As an NGO that sits between governmentand business, Endeavor can play a dual role in furthering the cause ofentrepreneurship in South Africa. We showcase success stories ofhigh-impact entrepreneurs, providing aspirant entrepreneurs with a microcosmexample of what entrepreneurship excellence looks like, and we play an advocacyrole in contributing to discourse and debate on the state of entrepreneurshipin the country. Formore information call +27 11 463 0992 or visit www.endeavor.co.za