November, 2014 | Allan Gray Orbis Foundation
The 10 books that have most influenced the Foundation’s journey

The 10 books that have most influenced the Foundation’s journey

“Books are a uniquely portable magic” – Stephen King

It is difficult to over-estimate the impact that books can have on both an individual and an organisation.  Thankfully as we move closer to the end of the year more spaces open up to do that long awaited reading we have been promising ourselves. So in our pursuit to be a learning organisation, we thought we would combine the usual year end book list with a reflection on the books that have had the most influence on the Foundation’s journey. It was E.P. Whipple who said that “books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.”  In looking back at the waters that we have covered so far, these are the “lighthouses” in the development of the Foundation:

The_7_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People1.     Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Steven Covey

This is an undisputed classic and was the starting point for the Foundation’s own pursuit of effectiveness.  One of the early workshops we conducted took people through the seven habits and it became a rite of passage into the Foundation to have to complete this training.



Good-to-Great2.     Good to Great – Jim Collins

Another classic and unsurprisingly another workshop for the entire Foundation.  Over the years we continue going back to exploring the nature of the hedgehog principal for the Foundation or assessing ourselves against the benchmark of Level 5 leadership. The essence of a Hedgehog Concept is to attain piercing clarity about how to produce the best long-term results, and then exercising the relentless discipline to say, “No thank you” to opportunities that fail the hedgehog test. We respond to this concept by saying we want to be best in the world at:  “Activating the entrepreneurial potential of individuals in Africa”

the-artofpossibility-199x3003.     Art of Possibility – Ben & Rosamund Zander

This book quickly became part of the language of the Foundation and was the perfect launching pad for helping people understand the mindset to which we wished to expose theme.  “Giving people an A” and “Rule Number 6” became part of the modus operandi of our final selection camps over the last nine years.




RE-IMAGINE US PB Reduced4.     Re-Imagine – Tom Peters

A more recent work from an old expert, helped to re-energise the way that the Foundation worked with its people.  It was as a result of this book that we dumped the description employee and termed everyone working at the Foundation talent.  As Tom says “Talent – I love that word! So different from ‘employees’, so different from ‘personnel’.”



The_Mind_of_a_Fox_25.     Mind of a Fox – Clem Sunter & Chantell Ilbury

Finally some local content! The strategic approach explained by Clem and Chantell was incredibly helpful in thinking about future scenarios in an increasingly complex world.   It pushed us to better understand what it would take to achieve what became known as our “October Sky” scenario rather than being dragged down into “Finding Nemo”. We were so taken by this learning that the offering for the Circle of Excellence Principals one year included being taken though the Mind of a Fox workshop with Chantell.



41ZFCA9QHSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX385_SY500_CR,0,0,385,500_SH20_OU02_ 26.     Now Discover your Strengths – Marcus Buckingham

The Foundation was inspired by this book to join the strengths revolution, convinced that building on people’s strengths was a far more effective approach to building a great organisation than trying to improve on their weaknesses.  Strengths are now a way of life at the Foundation forming part of induction and even the performance evaluation process. Everyone knows their top five strengths and tries to bring them to the fore in their daily work.   It hasn’t stopped with Talent either.  All Candidate Fellows are assessed and know their strengths as part of the Fellowship journey.

BOStrategy7.     Blue Ocean Strategy – Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne

The Foundation is determined to activate high impact responsible entrepreneurs and while there is no magic formula for pursuing high growth and innovation, one of the most robust frameworks we have come across for evaluating potential opportunities is the blue ocean strategy.    Many South African business are fighting in the fierce competition of “red ocean” while the real opportunities lie in finding the uncontested space of blue ocean. The analytical tool of the strategy canvas has proved very helpful for us to try and better understand our distinctive value proposition.

MindsetBook8.     Mindset – Carol Dweck

When one is in the business of developing talent, any clues as to how to better do this are gratefully received and one of the most exciting of these clues is the work of Carol Dweck in understanding the difference between a growth and a fixed mindset. Essentially her work revolves around two meanings for ability, not our previously understood single meaning: firstly a fixed ability that needs to be proven, and then a changeable ability that can be developed through learning.  The latter being a growth mindset and the link between this mindset and future achievement is becoming increasingly clear.

outliers-book-cover9.     Outliers – Malcom Gladwell

Continuing on this theme of talent and tied to the implications of the growth mindset, there has been an increasing body of evidence suggesting that talent is not so much the result of winning the gene pool lottery but much more about effort and hard work.  As Gladwell explores the dynamics and explanations for people that out-perform, so called outliers, one of the fascinating principles he comes across is the fact that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become world class in any activity.  We thus encourage the Allan Gray Scholars, Candidate Fellows and Fellows to discover their chosen field of interest and start the journey to 10,000 hours.


startup-communities10.  Start Up Communities – Brad Feld

As the Foundation’s Association of Allan Gray Fellows has started to take definition over the last few years we have tried to better understand how this community should interact and structure themselves.  The book that has had the most influence on this aspect of the Foundation has been Start Up Communities – to such an extent that we now conceptually see the Association as a start up community and look to find ways to demonstrate the “give before you get” philosophy promoted by Feld.


That completes the list of the 10 books that have most influenced the Foundation’s journey – so far.  Next month we will look at another list of books that have the potential to most influence the future stages of the Foundation’s journey.  In the meantime happy reading and please tell us about books that have influenced your organisations’ below.

2014 Global Entrepreneurship Week lights an entrepreneurial fire across the globe

2014 Global Entrepreneurship Week lights an entrepreneurial fire across the globe

Make a R100 Fb_post 403x403px 3We are half way through this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (“GEW”)  which started on 17th November and finishes on Sunday! GEW is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who are bringing ideas to life, driving economic growth and expanding human welfare. GEW looks to inspire people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators.  There has been an explosion of entrepreneurial energy this year and the momentum continues to grow with 150 countries around the world now participating in thousands of activities.  It is a fundamentally powerful movement for shifting the entrepreneurial culture of participating countries.


It also provides the platform for some important developments in the world of entrepreneurship:

Firstly the launch of the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Index measuring the entrepreneurial ecosystems in 130 countries—from Albania to Zambia.  South Africa ranked number 52 in this index and was the highest ranked country in Africa. This is a positive development relative to South Africa’s performance in the annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor where we have tended to lag other African countries.  The bad news is that our areas of weakness continue to be around human capital and start up skills.

Secondly, this week was the culmination of the Creative Business Cup 2014 where creative entrepreneurs from all over the world gathered in Copenhagen for the “World Cup for creative entrepreneurs”. The winner was “Professor Why” of CTAdventure from Poland, a startup re-imagining education by involving users in a creative learning process in important areas such as chemistry, physics, and maths using modern technology like augmented reality.  Sounds like the South African education system could do with some assistance from the Professor!

Thirdly, yesterday was Woman Entrepreneurship Day which provided the opportunity to celebrate, support and empower women entrepreneurs worldwide. There is increasing evidence that bridging the gender gap in entrepreneurship will be an important catalyst for the next frontier of entrepreneurial endeavour. A development the Foundation is well geared for with 55% of our Candidate Allan Gray Fellows being female.

And very importantly Africa is proud to be hosting one of the most important annual entrepreneurship gatherings, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, for the first time, in Morocco, this week. The theme is harnessing the power of technology for innovation and entrepreneurship. The Foundation is participating in the summit and looks forward to reporting back on its impact.

With regards to GEW, South Africa has been pulling its weight with 127 activities powered by 45 different partners. One of those 127 activities is the “Make a R100” challenge, which is a campaign designed to encourage South Africans to experience the possibilities of entrepreneurial action in a non-intimidating way.  Everyone is challenged during the month of November and particularly during this week of GEW to make a R100 profit (in a legal and ethical way) by providing a creative service or product to a willing buyer.

So far there have been some great responses coming through with people harnessing their musical, fashion, practical, beauty and even tax skills.  If you looking for a good starting point, there has been a strong culinary theme with a number of people taking advantage of our natural inclination for good food! Someone even showed great entrepreneurial insight by turning the challenge of Eskom’s recent load shedding in Pretoria into an opportunity to sell pre-charged solar lights! Have a look at the emerging ideas on our Social Media page and challenge your friends, family, colleagues and/or classmates to take up the challenge too.

Let’s hope that this incredible energy and excitement around the potential for entrepreneurship continues way beyond this one week. Let us know how you have experienced GEW in the comments below.

Shape the Future Series: Market Investigating – Arthur Charles Nielsen

Shape the Future Series: Market Investigating – Arthur Charles Nielsen

77691860_131913853992.jpgOur Shape the Future series on cogs will soon come to an end.  In our previous post we outlined the attitude of persisting and profiled Robert Kearns.  This week, in our penultimate cog post we look at the attitude of market investigating which forms part of the learning mindset under the pillar of Achievement Excellence.

The learning mindset centres on committing in an ongoing way to growing your personal frontier of knowledge, skill and ability.   We define the attitude of market investigating as asking probing questions from different angles and finding relevant information sources to get to grips with the extent, diversity, trends and complexities of any market. 

Where would we be without market research?  We wouldn’t have products and services that meet our needs and wants and they would probably never be tweaked and developed to be more efficient and easier to use.  Without it, many more businesses would end up failing through not consistently providing the market with sufficient value.

Arthur Charles Nielsen was born in Chicago on 5th September 1897.  He completed his studies at the University of Wisconsin and started his working life as an electrical engineer.

As early as 1923, Nielsen began pioneering market research techniques and founded his company, ACNielsen.  His techniques involved test marketing new products before they were massed produced, and measuring sales to work out a product’s market share.  Before long, his company became extremely successful thanks to the valuable service it was providing.

Initially working in the arena of developing measures in the print media, Nielsen then turned his focus to radio and television broadcasts, resulting in the establishment of Nielsen Ratings.  The Nielsen Ratings measure the composition and size of audiences watching and listening to specific programmes.  This not only provides vital information about the demographics of audiences watching or listening to specific shows, it also helps producers to target specific products to specific customers.  The value-add of the Nielsen Ratings is that it helps product sellers target specific market segments during the times at which they are at their peak in terms of media consumption.

From its earliest years as a pioneer in a new industry, the company originally founded by Nielsen still remains a leader in the measurement of consumer behaviour and trends.  The company currently studies consumers in more than 100 countries and to this day, long after his death in 1980, the Nielsen ratings remain the primary source of measuring audiences throughout the world.


Benjamin Shaw shares their entrepreneurial challenge

Benjamin Shaw shares their entrepreneurial challenge

Allan Gray Orbis Foundation National Jamboree, Spier, Western Cape.Every year the CFA Institute hosts a research challenge aimed at university students in the finance sector. It is considered the ‘investment Olympics’ of university students, expecting them to do hands-on financial analysis and compete with teams from around the world.

2014 saw the UCT team from South Africa reach fifth place in the Europe-Middle East-and-Africa (EMEA) regional finals. The team consisted of Benjamin Shaw, Monique Baars, Sam Barton-Bridges, Alisair Murie and Lauren Reeves.

In order to qualify for the regional finals being held in Milan, Italy, during April this year, the UCT team first had to compete against other South African universities during September/October last year. Each university’s team had to compile an investment report for the same company.

“We compiled a research report on the MTN group to provide a recommendation on the company – to buy, hold or sell. We spent almost two months researching, writing and modelling and then compiled a 10-page report, which was judged by the CFA Institute,” explains Benjamin Shaw. The top four reports from around the country were then presented by the respective teams at an event held in Johannesburg a few weeks later. The UCT team walked away with the honour of representing South Africa in the EMEA regional finals.

After attaining fifth place in the EMEA region, the South Africans were free to enjoy the sights of Milan and greater Italy for a week before heading back home. The global winner was selected a few weeks later at an event held in Singapore. The University of the Philippines Diliman won the title of champion of the eighth CFA Institute Research Challenge.

Reflecting on the most challenging and enriching aspects of this experience, Benjamin confesses that “the most challenging was balancing final test and exam pressure with putting in the hours required to deliver the report and prepare for the presentation. Being unused to the parallel demands was hard.” He also accedes that “the competition was an excellent barometer of finance and accounting skills picked up over four years at UCT … the technical skills I picked up were a significant help in starting at my job at the beginning of the year.”

It is perhaps with this practical expression of skills in mind that Benjamin highly recommends the CFA Institute Research Challenge to any finance student still in university.

Written by Alexa Anthonie.

Purposeful passion.

Purposeful passion.

LowellWhen you hear how passionately he speaks about the land and its people you might be tempted to think of Lowell Scarr as just another tree-hugging hippie. But that would be short sighted. Thinking differently about the environment is but one aspect of Lowell Scarr’s wholly alternative approach to life. Or as he puts it, “perpetuating the status quo – for me that’s not success, for me that’s not progress; being successful is about pushing the envelope, challenging the way people think, really trying to make a difference.”

Making a difference and doing something meaningful are things Lowell believes he can do in the agricultural sector. He teasingly accedes that it’s not a very “sexy” sector among young people, but it’s one that he feels most comfortable in. Having grown up on a small holding just outside Port Elizabeth where a dense forest is a mere stone’s throw away might’ve had something to do with the life choices he’s made. More influential than the beauty of the Eastern Cape, however, must be the fact that he was raised by parents and grandparents who also loved the land. His grandfather owned a farm; his father, Nicholas, works as an environmentalist and his mother, Denise, is an organic agriculture expert.

Lowell’s future plans include owning a farm or two one day. One will be for him and his family to live on while the other will serve as a kind of training centre and think tank. People from different sectors of society – agriculture, science, engineering, and economics, to name a few – will form part of this think tank for the purpose of exchanging ideas, learning from one another and putting together plans to provide our country with alternative approaches.

He has already taken such alternative approaches in his own life. Not only did he go in the opposite direction in his economics field of study – the “unsexy” agricultural sector – he has also chosen to pursue postgraduate studies instead of following his classmates to big cities to earn big salaries. In fact, this past year saw him living completely off the grid on Windsor Farm, about two hours’ drive from Grahamstown. Its remote location and lack of municipal and other “normal” services were ideal circumstances for living out what he terms his “practical side”. He was forced to become farmer (of crops and cattle), electrician (installing a solar panel for their energy needs), plumber, carpenter, painter and mechanic.

This plan to go live in the middle of nowhere was often laughed at, but he persisted nonetheless. While he acknowledges that the year has been a lot harder than he imagined, he still looks back on it as his proudest achievement – having the courage to follow his heart. It’s an example that his mom and dad had always set for him and it’s the essence of what he learnt during his term as Candidate Allan Gray Fellow. “Follow your passion” is such a hackneyed saying these days, but for Lowell it’s a saying that has proven true for himself and countless others – more often than not they are the ones who end up making a success of their lives.

Where others would see any development as good as long as there’s progress, he argues that economic development does not necessarily lead to social development and that social development is worth far more. Having been a student in Economics and Philosophy (he is now busy with a master’s in Economics) these fields have no doubt informed his paradigm. And one would hope that he would be able to inform the paradigms of others, especially through his proposed doctorate studies in Economics and Agricultural Economics. His research will look at how and to what we assign value and how our habit of acknowledging and preserving only those things with monetary value (for instance, a mine as opposed to a flourishing environment) could lead to our demise.

Lowell’s way of thinking is a vivid example of one of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation’s Pillars, Intellectual Imagination. The Foundation defines it as being “demonstrated by an established record of intellectual achievement, an ability to see the unseen, a willingness to challenge the status quo and suggest that things could be done differently.”

Speaking of his time as a Candidate Allan Gray Fellow he recalls the sense of community he experienced with the Eastern Cape cohort of Candidate Fellows. It’s a striking reminder of how much he values people, community, and social development. And of course, there’s the fact that he will always have a soft spot for anyone and anything relating to the Eastern Cape.

Written by Alexa Anthonie.

Working towards the greater good.

Working towards the greater good.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 7.34.08 AMTime is a luxury for most but more so for those committed to finding a cure for diseases like TB and HIV. Loretta Magagula, one of those committed ones, has spent the last few years of her life pouring over scientific journals, working on lab experiments and wondering how she will one day use her expertise for the greater good.

Doing things for the greater good is one of Loretta’s intrinsic beliefs. In fact, it’s what struck her most about the Allan Gray Fellowship. She explains that it was unlike any other scholarships in that “there was this dream behind it … and it was working towards an end goal and the end goal wasn’t my grades; the end goal was, you know, the betterment of our country.”

It was also through the Foundation that Loretta was exposed to the idea of social entrepreneurship. “I relate more to social entrepreneurship; I think that’s more in line with who I am.” She goes on to say that she does not have it in mind to make lots of money. In fact, before engaging with the Foundation she had no entrepreneurial inclination whatsoever, which is why being offered a Fellowship came as such a surprise. The Foundation no doubt saw the potential for greatness in her.

Loretta is the quintessence of what the Foundation deems Achievement Excellence. It is a Foundation Pillar defined as “the ongoing pursuit of excellence with tangible and specific focus on setting goals; a motivation to make a difference and leave a mark.” With two degrees (a BSc in Biochemistry and an Honours degree in Biotechnology) already behind her name and active plans to obtain three more, she is the picture of academic excellence. And her goals? Well, she’s set on impacting this continent by improving healthcare, specifically diagnostics. She explains that the sooner a disease can be diagnosed, the better the chances of preventing its spread and far-reaching damage.

This principle of early detection underlies the idea she came up with for developing an HIV home-testing kit. She presented her idea at the recent Startership Seminar, an event hosted by the Association of Allan Gray Fellows, aimed at eliciting and developing Fellows’ business ideas. With the help of three other Fellows, Danisa Nkuna, Dineo Lioma and Lindiwe Nkhosi, Loretta hopes to bring to market an HIV home-testing kit that will combine existing technologies in the form of a skin patch that changes colour depending on the tester’s HIV status.

Such an innovation can revolutionise this country and this continent’s healthcare landscape. And one can only hope that Loretta will come up with more ideas like the HIV home-testing kit in the near future. But first, though, she must complete her Master’s degree in Clinical Science and Immunology (she’s currently in the throes of writing her thesis). After that the plan is to do a PhD, followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship.

When encountering such intense discipline and passion, it’s always intriguing to consider their origins. In Loretta’s case it had to do with how she was raised, a favourite TV show and an embarrassing close call with her science teacher. Loretta’s parents, Ruth and Thamsanqa, took a keen interest in their children’s education. While her dad worked hard to keep her in the Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa, her mom took a more hands-on approach. She would buy books for her two girls to read, but like most children Loretta and her sister often skipped pages to find out what happened at the end. Ruth saw right through their schemes and made a habit of quizzing them on exactly those skipped bits.

As for the incident with Loretta’s science teacher; suffice it to say that a blushing moment can be a very effective wake-up call. As a last encouragement before the final year exams, her teacher noted that with a little bit of effort she would be able to get a C for science. Loretta was shocked at her teacher’s estimation of her abilities and decided there and then to prove her wrong. The result was a final-year A for science!

Her weakness for the TV show CSI (Crime Scene Investigation), she confesses, also had an influence on her choice of career. She found it incredible that so much information could be coded into one’s DNA. Admittedly, studying the real thing has spoiled the show for her a bit. She now knows that tests they conduct in mere seconds on screen actually take days in reality.

Of all the experiences that have led Loretta to choosing such a lengthy career path, the most significant and perhaps the most sobering must be the reality of illness. Several members of Loretta’s family – her grandmother, two of her aunts and her mother – are all affected by the same genetic disorder; a disorder that often had Loretta wondering if her mom would still be alive when she got home from school.

While Ruth has managed to hang on for all her daughter’s homecomings through the years, the reality is that time is a luxury. And for Loretta, in particular, time is what she’s racing against. And it’s a race she wants to run for the greater good.

Written by Alexa Anthonie.

Nine out of this year’s 40 Mandela Rhodes Scholarships have been awarded to Allan Gray Fellows and Candidate Allan Gray Fellows

Nine out of this year’s 40 Mandela Rhodes Scholarships have been awarded to Allan Gray Fellows and Candidate Allan Gray Fellows

MRF-poster-2012At a time when a lack of leadership in Africa is often bemoaned, most recently as a reason for the worst recorded Ebola outbreak, news of foundations and scholarships set on building leadership excellence in Africa comes as welcome reassurance that there is yet reason for hope in our continent.

On 5 November 2014 the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation received word that nine of its beneficiaries have been awarded prestigious Mandela Rhodes Scholarships. “Considering we have only ever had one other Mandela Rhodes Scholar in our history, this is an extraordinary achievement,” said Foundation CEO, Anthony Farr.

A Mandela Rhodes Scholarship award allows recipients to pursue a postgraduate degree in their chosen field of study as well as giving them access to leadership development programmes. A stringent selection process ensures that recipients exhibit both academic excellence and leadership potential. The fact that more than 20% of the Mandela Rhodes Scholars for 2015 have come through the ranks of the Allan Gray Fellowship testifies to the effectiveness of this programme and the calibre of person it produces.

The complete list of the 2014 Foundation Mandela Rhodes Scholars (both Allan Gray Fellows, who have already graduated, and Candidate Allan Gray Fellows, who are in the process of completing their undergraduate courses) are, in alphabetical order: Ameil Harikishun, Francois Becker, Joseph Maisels, Kyla Hazell, Luthando Lulu Mzilikazi, Richard Bryce, Selokwane Morake, Senzile Daniel Ndima and Zikhona Ngumbela.

The fields of study that these young men and women will be pursuing are quite diverse, ranging from Commerce and Business Management in Joseph and Zikhona’s case to Biochemistry and Structural Biochemistry for Selokwane and Senzile.

Of her anticipated Mandela Rhodes experience, Zikhona says, “I look forward to lasting interactions with young leaders across Africa … I look forward to my leadership development and learning from these leaders.” Selokwane in turn hopes “to grow in terms of entrepreneurial mindset in order to play an active role in moving scientific innovations into opportunities that will lead to economic change for the benefit of South Africa.”

It is through the joint efforts of organisations like the Allan Gray Orbis and Mandela Rhodes Foundations that we can look forward to the positive influence of high-impact entrepreneurial leaders in the near future.

Time for entrepreneurial action – no more excuses – Just do the “Make a R100” Challenge

Time for entrepreneurial action – no more excuses – Just do the “Make a R100” Challenge

Make a R100 Fb_header 851x315px3

Join the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation as we harness the platform of the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Week in November to continue the entrepreneurial revolution in South Africa. We all have the potential to be entrepreneurial and here is your low risk opportunity to prove us right.  Take up the “Make a R100” challenge.

The Foundation is gearing up for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 and we need your help! Global Entrepreneurship Week (“GEW”) is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During this one week from 17th to 23rd November 2014, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovator. Only started in 2007, GEW now has over 140 countries participating. For a quick video explanation of the event have a look here.

As our contribution to this global movement the Foundation has initiated the “Make a R100” challenge, which is a campaign designed to encourage South Africans to experience the possibilities of entrepreneurial action in a non-intimidating way.  Everyone is challenged during  the month of November and particularly during the week of GEW to make a R100 profit (in a legal and ethical way) by providing a creative service or product to a willing buyer. Share your idea on our Social Media page and challenge your friends, family, colleagues and/or classmates to take up the challenge too.

Not wanting to ask anyone to do something that I wouldn’t do myself, there was little option but to take on the challenge.  The initial brainstorming didn’t produce any really inspiring results.  Would colleagues, really want to pay a premium on the coffee I was willing to buy from the coffee shop down the road? Offering myself as a butler for a few tasks seemed to lack any real innovation.  Finally I settled on the concept of scarcity as the driving principle for extracting a premium price – what could be scarcer than an ice cold drink on the top of Lions Head! So the planning and execution kicked off.  First purchasing enough stock at the local supermarket, before placing it into the fridge for overnight cooling. Thankfully the weather was generous and the chosen Saturday morning was a scorching hot day. My patience and resilience was tested hauling the 25 drinks up the mountain, not least with the cooler bag strap breaking half way up. While climbing I became so convinced of my idea that I was sure all I would need to do is open up the bag and the drinks would literally fly out themselves.  Well, it didn’t happen that way and I found myself confronted with the intimidating realisation that it was time to sell. An hour later with around R340 of sales on a 100% markup and a few loss leaders, a gross profit of R200 had resulted and the job was done!  I was amazed at the number of lessons that emerged from this simple exercise:

  • Deciding on product mix was vital, no one seemed that interested in flavoured water and diet drinks at the top of the mountain;
  • Knowing the context – I lost count of the people that thought the idea was brilliant but had not brought any money with them;
  • Don’t forget processes – reconciling actual profit later was a real challenge, even for an accountant, after getting carried away with unrecorded sales at the summit.

And I could go on with a much longer list, but after all the reflection one thing I will not forget is that powerful feeling as people handed over their notes on top of the mountain – the entrepreneurial search process finding validation in the exchange of value.  This is the magic of the entrepreneurial journey and one that awaits you in the “Make a R100” challenge.

In action

Now that my challenge is complete, it is time to challenge others to catalyse this campaign into the hearts and minds of South Africa as we aim for at least 10,000 people participating.  I therefore nominate the following to #MAKEA100

  • Gary Morolo (Entrepreneur and Trustee)
  • Adrian Gore (Endeavor Chairman)
  • Herman Mashaba (Entrepreneur)
  • Alexandra Fraser (Silicon Cape)
  • Michael Jordaan (Venture Capitalist)
  • Bridgette Gasa (NPC, Entrepreneur and Trustee)
  • Lucas Radebe (Sportsman and Businessman)
  • Michael Mol (Doctor and Celebrity)
  • Rapaleng  Rabana (Entrepreneur)
  • Gary Kirsten (Sportsman and Businessman)

All the best and enjoy the journey! Tell us about your experiences as you #MAKEAR100.

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