The appointment of our new CEO

The appointment of our new CEO

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of our new CEO, Yogavelli Nambiar.

Yogavelli succeeds Anthony Farr, who tendered his resignation earlier this year after 12 years at the helm of the Foundation. He will be moving on to take up responsibilities for Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies (Africa), a philanthropic arm of the Allan & Gill Gray Foundation.

At the time of his resignation, Anthony said: “The greatest adventure of my life was being part of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. But as with any adventure there comes a time to step aside.” Yogavelli inherits a well-established Foundation, equipped to embrace a range of new challenges associated with the modern world and to further grow the organisation.

“We are pleased to welcome Yogavelli to her new role as CEO of the Foundation. She has so many insights to offer and we look forward to drawing on her long line of experience developing entrepreneurs across the African continent,” says board chairman, Professor Njabulo Ndebele.

Professor Ndebele again thanked Anthony, who he says delivered well on the Foundation’s inception mandate to invest, inspire and develop individuals who will go on to become high impact, responsible entrepreneurs capable of transforming the future of the Southern African Region.

As the new CEO, Yogavelli joins the Foundation with extensive experience, having previously founded and headed up the Enterprise Development Academy at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), business school of the University of Pretoria as its Director, where she led the entrepreneurship efforts of the school within the centre. Prior to that she was Country Director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative and led the design and delivery of this successful international women’s entrepreneurship programme in South Africa.

“I am excited to be part of the brainchild of Allan Gray and to work alongside a long line of capable individuals who work tirelessly to help make a sustainable, long-term and positive contribution to Southern Africa. Thank you to the board for entrusting me in my capacity as the Foundation’s new CEO,” Yogavelli says.

Professor Ndebele concludes: “Yogavelli’s experience and expertise will ensure future opportunities are harnessed while building on the institutional capabilities of the Foundation in the process.”

You Can’t Win the Raffle If You Don’t Buy a Ticket

You Can’t Win the Raffle If You Don’t Buy a Ticket

The 2017 Allan-Gray Orbis Foundation Jamboree event is an incredible opportunity to expose your idea to a world of possibility. Your idea is interrogated, torn-up and built-up by a room filled with bright students. This has opened up many doors for us including meeting the executives of Zoona, Silicon Cape and a large part of the tech-ecosystem in and around Cape Town.

We are currently building our MVP and are incubated with the Telkom Innotech Programme at the Bandwidth Barn.

This is our story;

“The Jamboree experience began before we had even arrived at Jamboree. My partner (Sinqobile Mashalaba) and I were on the late transport set to arrive the Friday evening. We had discussed the prospect of pitching our idea that weekend but given how little thought and effort we had given it, the consensus was that we would be underprepared and, hence, very easily overlooked. Boy, how wrong were we!

Don’t get me wrong, our business idea had undergone about 8 weeks of intense incubation and we were in the process of concluding our first transaction. So we had some traction behind us but, coming straight out of exams, we did not have a pitch-deck ready nor did we have any notion of our pitch structure or how we would respond to some tough questions. Nonetheless, we made a bold decision to put ourselves out there for the community to see. Though we lacked much, what we did have was a strong sense of purpose and validation.Simon Sinek put it best in a Ted Talk when he spoke about how people care much, much more about WHY you are doing something than WHAT it is you are actually doing. Before you can sell product, you must sell purpose. So, with that motivation, my partner and I decided to put Hlanganisa down as a Wildcard. Then, it all began…

We did not much sleep that weekend- which was difficult considering we had just come off an intense exam period. We persevered because there was strong sense of conviction to present Hlanganisa in the best way possible. In all honesty, it had very little to do with winning. It had almost everything to do with growing because as an early stage start up, your idea and the work that you have put into it is all you have. And if you are going to present it on a platform such as Jamboree, you got to give it all you got. Anything less is a disservice to your business idea and to the time and energy you have put into it.

The Open Canvas happened on Saturday and the responses we were receiving were unbelievable. On the one hand, we were receiving validation that what we are doing is necessary and makes sense (which is always so good to hear!) while on the other, we were receiving advice and tips on how we could do it better. Having made it into the top 10, excitement and nerves were high- but so was physical fatigue. We do not think we will ever be able to explain how we were able to get up on that stage and pitch, given the state we were in, but we did and it was WELL WORTH IT!.

Winning Jamboree is something We will always be proud of. We encourage every Candidate Fellow to open themselves up to at least one Jamboree experience. As the old saying goes: ”You can’t win the raffle if you don’t buy a ticket.”

– Hlanganisa Team

 

 

Scholarship Development Camp: Grade 10 & 11

Scholarship Development Camp: Grade 10 & 11

The picturesque town of Franschhoek was the setting for the grade 10 and 11 Allan Gray Orbis Foundation National Development Camp. This town is rooted in history and is a stone’s throw away from the Klein Drakenstein Prison, the iconic setting of Nelson Mandela’s release and the emergence of a new democracy. The place where the South African dream of an equal South Africa for all took flight.

The Foundation’s vision of an equitable South Africa is driven by our belief that a community of high impact responsible entrepreneurs will positively shape the economic, social and political landscape of our beloved country. We also know that this takes time and patience to bring to bear a transformed South Africa. It is in the hands of our beneficiaries to take up the challenge and it is our duty to empowering these bright sparks. However, this journey to empowerment is not a quick fix with short-term change but rather sustainable change and movement toward personal dignity and courage.

The Scholar Development Programme comprises of various interventions of which the National Development Camp is one. It is a pitstop in our Scholars’ journey toward growing themselves and their entrepreneurial mindset in preparation of the Fellowship opportunity. In his book, Seven Habit of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey say that personal victory leads to public victory and this means knowing yourself equals winning in the game of life. For this reason, one of the core foci of the Development programme is Personal Mastery. In support of this we hosted Personal Mastery sessions dealing with identity, choice and diversity which highlighted the challenges Scholars navigate daily. Scholars identified with diverse issues such as not fitting in and the fear of being different among other. These sessions also saw Scholars emboldened toward personal change and the roots of transformation evident in their reflection on the transformative power of the sessions.

One of the broader aims of the Foundation is to build a community of like-minded individuals who may affect future change. The Fellowship host Jamboree, a space where Candidate Fellows can grow their entrepreneurial muscle and pitch their ideas to a cohort of their peers. The Scholars were given the opportunity to be a part of Jamboree, gaining direct access to Candidate Fellows and Association members. Among the Candidate Fellows Scholars also met up with Scholar Alumni who had made the transition into the Fellowship programme. A handful of Scholars also took some time to pitch their ideas at the Jamboree.

Finally, the Scholars were taken on a journey that explored the concept of entrepreneurial mindsets. They were given scope to ideate, present, design and prototype a response to the challenges outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP). To give context to how young South Africans are addressing issues related to the NDP Scholar used Dadewethu, a social entrepreneurial business, who provides solutions for the lack of support for females at the university campus of UCT (University of Cape Town) as a live case study. Scholars then had an opportunity to experience bringing their ideas to life at the Maker-Space in Observatory, Cape Town giving them the opportunity to apply their understanding of entrepreneurial mindset in a live simulation.

There was a general sense that this Development Camp galvanised Scholars resolve to remain connected to the Foundation pipeline.

 

Accelerated Entrepreneurship: A Taste of the Real Thing

Accelerated Entrepreneurship: A Taste of the Real Thing

For one weekend only, the graduating Fellows of 2016 left their ordinary comfortable lives of new employment or post-graduate studies to occupy a seat at the executive table of New Horizons Financial Services. This pilot Accelerated Entrepreneurship Assessment Lab spearheaded by the Association aimed at developing the personal and entrepreneurial mind-sets of the latest cohort of fellows.

One would think that having being on the Foundation from year engage to experience, the Fellows would be well equipped to develop and implement a turnaround strategy in a company over a weekend. The reality of the situation was that when faced with decisions relating to cutting costs in order to achieve a higher returns, Fellows needed direction as to how to do this effectively. This highlighted the fact that no matter how well read you are about entrepreneurship, you still need guidance through the practical elements in order to succeed.

Over the course of the weekend, Fellows were tasked with managing a company in the financial services sector for three years. A high pressure environment was created by the volume of information that teams had to digest in a limited time period. And competition, of course. The mandate for the three years was clear: increase return on equity, customer and employee satisfaction while simultaneously decreasing costs. Teams were given a board pack outlining the operations, strategy and financials of New Horizons from which they had to develop a strategy on how to achieve the objective at hand.  After each financial year, the teams’ performance was evaluated. Some teams made bold moves by firing half of their work force in the first year only to hire most of them again in the second and third year. Other teams decided to focus on staff development in order to improve client service and sustain brand loyalty while others increased capital investments in the information technology and systems integration. It was evident that all the teams knew which aspects to focus on. The difficulty came in prioritising which aspect to focus on and when.

These decisions resulted in robust discussions amongst the Fellows that challenged them to think about entrepreneurship holistically instead simply focusing on increasing return on equity. The winning team, Multiply, comprised of engineers and a scientist. Multiply won because they were confident in their strategy despite the poor financial performance they experienced in the first year and consistently applied their strategy.  This reinforced the idea that entrepreneurship is about diversity of thought amongst people who are willing to work together and endure the test of time in order to achieve a common goal.

The simulation did not only give Fellows a skillset on how to make the tough business decisions but also challenged them to think about what entrepreneurship means to them individually and what it looks like. As fellows returned to their ordinary lives, the facilitators encouraged them to interrogate the initial intention driving them towards entrepreneurship and the need this intention addressed. The Accelerated Entrepreneurship lab unlocked each teams’ entrepreneurial potential. Now it’s up to the Fellows, “to harness it, hone it, tap into it, nurture it, nourish it, guide it and watch it grow.”

The appointment of our new CEO

The appointment of our new CEO

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of our new CEO, Yogavelli Nambiar.

Yogavelli succeeds Anthony Farr, who tendered his resignation earlier this year after 12 years at the helm of the Foundation. He will be moving on to take up responsibilities for Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies (Africa), a philanthropic arm of the Allan & Gill Gray Foundation.

At the time of his resignation, Anthony said: “The greatest adventure of my life was being part of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. But as with any adventure there comes a time to step aside.” Yogavelli inherits a well-established Foundation, equipped to embrace a range of new challenges associated with the modern world and to further grow the organisation.

“We are pleased to welcome Yogavelli to her new role as CEO of the Foundation. She has so many insights to offer and we look forward to drawing on her long line of experience developing entrepreneurs across the African continent,” says board chairman, Professor Njabulo Ndebele.

Professor Ndebele again thanked Anthony, who he says delivered well on the Foundation’s inception mandate to invest, inspire and develop individuals who will go on to become high impact, responsible entrepreneurs capable of transforming the future of the Southern African Region.

As the new CEO, Yogavelli joins the Foundation with extensive experience, having previously founded and headed up the Enterprise Development Academy at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), business school of the University of Pretoria as its Director, where she led the entrepreneurship efforts of the school within the centre. Prior to that she was Country Director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative and led the design and delivery of this successful international women’s entrepreneurship programme in South Africa.

“I am excited to be part of the brainchild of Allan Gray and to work alongside a long line of capable individuals who work tirelessly to help make a sustainable, long-term and positive contribution to Southern Africa. Thank you to the board for entrusting me in my capacity as the Foundation’s new CEO,” Yogavelli says.

Professor Ndebele concludes: “Yogavelli’s experience and expertise will ensure future opportunities are harnessed while building on the institutional capabilities of the Foundation in the process.”