By Ntando Ndlovu
…Meet Nkosana Mazibuko a Youngman who wears many hats, a renowned Global Speaker, Brains behind the Hustlers Summit, A social Entrepreneur, and A Tony Elumelu Alumni. His drive is to transform lives and bring desirable change that will illuminate the glory of the African Continent. Nominated in the Forbes 30 under 30 class of 2016, Nkosana is an unstoppable force of Nature.
You have a rich biography stretching from a creative practitioner to an international award winning Social entrepreneur and founding CEO of MatLIVE business incubation centre. Where does it all start, when does it occur to a young Nkosana that I want to be a Global Leader and a Change Maker?
Thank you Ntando for this opportunity, when you ask me such a question it poses to me to reflect on my journey to self-discovery on the heroes journey as well as we often refer to that in entrepreneurship. It is the desire to live life fully expressively of one’s purpose, one’s passion and one’s calling. Once you understand who you are then nothing stops you from having a sense of fulfilment and that comes only when you have self-consciousness and self-awareness. Right from Childhood I have always seen myself as someone who is meant to dent the world, someone who is meant to leave a mark in the world. That is always been the way I perceive myself. I am a student of history so I follow a lot of history makers, I don’t believe in reading history, I make history. Right from the time I was a young boy, I always watched epics, followed movies that documented people that came from nothing and dented the world that has been my journey. Even when I worked with different people and companies I saw myself as a disruptor, I believe in this principle: Disrupt, Design and Develop. It embodied in me to do that because of what I already mentioned that I don’t just read history, I make history. To make history, I don’t believe in traditional and conventional ways of doing things. I believe where we are in the world, it is a result of someone else’s thoughts, so if someone did think of the world to be this way, I can also think of making the world better. So that’s where it all emanates from, the high level of self-consciousness, self-awareness and the deep seated desire to disrupt, design and develop a better world where there is a flow of intergenerational wealth
In the spirit of transforming hustles into sustainable businesses, what is the gap that needs to be filled specifically by youths that aspire to run competitive businesses?
It all comes to transforming informal economy to that of a formalised economy. There is a lot of gap, remember the informal market has more than 12 million people in the Sub-Sahara region. There is a massive flow of unregulated money and because of it not being regulated it cannot in any sustainable way contribute to the fiscus and that way it cannot develop communities. So, much of the people who are into hustling in the informal sector are marred with everyday challenges, it’s hard for them to self-sustain because there are no clear cut ways of doing business, there is no succession planning, they also have limited knowledge of the business matrix. What they know is understanding trends only, its hand to mouth. The gap that is there is transforming the informal market into a vibrant ecosystem where there is collaboration amongst, hustlers, entrepreneurs and that collaboration is relevant in solving societal problems. Let’s look at how in Zimbabwean entrepreneurs and hustlers in the informal market are keeping the country going, it tells you that if the space is opened and there is the collaboration and partnership between hustlers and key stakeholders the country can move beyond 45% industry utilisation. If you look at the amount of young people that spend time in sports betting, the way they are highly competitive in terms of bets, numbers and mathematics, it tells you we need to open up spaces where they can practise that sort of intelligence in solving economic problems in the country. The other gap that is there is Africa Free Trade, entrepreneurs and hustlers need to understand all those policies and incentives all those gaps so that they scale up the businesses that they are doing in between countries.
From a Nelson Mandela Washington Fellowship to the Tony Elumelu Foundation Alumni to being the man behind The Hustlers Summit and the Forbes 30 under 30 class of 2016, the vision must be huge. What is your Vision?
I am a highly spiritual person, those that know me will tell you that spirituality is one of my core values, ambition is my core value, impact legacy and resilience those are my personal core values. I have values that I use to relate to others such as collaboration, presence, generosity. I am driven by these things, in whatever things that I am doing they inform my intuition, they inform my instincts and being mentioned in different circles across the continent, it’s not only an affirmation of who I am but it’s an affirmation of every child coming from the dusty streets of Bulawayo, dusty streets of Mbare, dusty streets of Buhera, name it all. Where there is purpose, ambition and God things are aligned very well. My Greatest vision is in actual fact if you look at Habakkuk 2v 2-4 it say write down the vision upon tablets so that whoever redeath it may understand. My Vision is to see the continent highly competitive against other continents, is to see African brands competing at a global scale, telling the African Story. Stories of Innovation, stories of transformation, stories of communities where we are and be able to compete and tell our narrative. That is my vision.
As an Author of a business book titled “The Winner Who Never Won” and a well-travelled entrepreneur, what is your advice to a budding entrepreneur from the dusty soils of Lobengula and Magwegwe and anyone swimming in the similar common waters?
Each day I meet different entrepreneurs, some highly established. One thing that I have come to appreciate is that people come to me in the streets and say Nkosana you inspire us, keep on doing what you are doing. Sometimes I receive a random message on Socials from people I don’t know just to tell me that I inspire them. That on its own speaks into the purpose, passion and the calling that we possess as an entrepreneur. The words that I have for fellow entrepreneurs is that don’t give up. Black child don’t give, there is no room for giving up we are on our own. Young people, the world is full of endless possibilities. Yes, they are days when we wake up even us established entrepreneurs feeling like we can’t do this thing anymore but the best thing that we can ever do is to be available. You never know what opportunities may arise, what conversation may arise by being available for that particular day. So don’t give up on yourself, learn to master the craft, put time to that. Understand who you are, the markets you are dealing with and also to go beyond your skillsets. Again, formalise, we live in a world where intellectual property is the oil of the 21st century.
For the Entrepreneurial magazine Reader and a discerning entrepreneur, why is now the best time to invest in local businesses?
As an entrepreneur there is a sellers’ market and a buyers’ market, once you understand the difference between the two, you have leverage. Also don’t be afraid to fail, the day you accept failing not only as a possibility but a probability then you are good to go, you are a few miles away. In the journey of entrepreneurship we fail many times. It is the ability to wake and learn from failing, seeing where you missed and learning from it makes you a better entrepreneur and also if you ask me I am a successful failure, I fail every day. Understand team building, understand partnerships and also understand alliances. You will come across what is called obstacles in life, personal, and business, spiritual and once you are able to manoeuvre and position your business in what we call Unique Value Proposition and Unique Selling Point. Sometimes it’s about building a business into a Market Valuable Product and sell it to others. Or you can build a business, scale it up and open it up to different shareholding to make money. Our greatest dream is to one day have a continental company which upon hitting IPO( Initial Public Offering) we raise a billion dollars and make sure most of our young people, our youths have shares in that company.
Thank you for your time Nkosana, any parting shots?
For some weird reason, I trust passion, not career paths. Not ones level of education. |Simply passion. Believe in what you do. We will follow suit. Home for me is an opportunity to start afresh: the promise of tomorrow. You deal with so much out there, most of which you don not get to pick. If I had to live the same inside my four walls, I would run mad.
Ntando Ndlovu is Business and Travel Media Personality/ Entrepreneur who enjoys documenting stories of great success that impact lives.