Over the next few weeks our Shape the Future Series of blog posts will be outlining our 5 Pillars as well as introducing some of the 120 attitudes which underpins the 20 mindsets required to fully activate our 5 entrepreneurial pillars. By entrenching the right entrepreneurial mindset, we believe, our Allan Gray Fellows will Shape the Future and bring about societal and economic transformation in the coming years.
Through our online platform, iShift, the Foundation introduces the Candidate Allan Gray Fellows to the 120 attitudes through 120 personalities who, for us, personify the hallmarks of a particular attitude.
In this, our first post, we talk about the attitude, Internally Controlled, which forms part of the mindset: grounded, under the pillar, the Spirit of Significance. Grounded is defined as being firmly rooted in reality with a clear understanding of how you measure up to others, and being down to earth with no self-inflated opinion of yourself.
For us, South African businessman, Herman Mashaba who founded Black Like Me, personifies what it means to be internally controlled. We define internally controlled as Recognising that life and destiny are a result of your own decisions and actions
In 1985, Herman Mashaba resigned his sales job to start a company that specialised in ethnic hair products. Starting up a company is difficult enough, but in apartheid South Africa, black entrepreneurs had it even tougher.
With a loan of R30 000, Herman, and his wife Connie, along with two partners started Black Like Me. Setting up small operations in Garankuwa, Gauteng, the partners mixed the chemicals by day and bottled them at night. The following morning, they delivered the products to customers. Black Like Me started with a range of hair-care products including shampoos, conditioners, relaxers and hairsprays as well as a small range of body-care products.
The company soon outgrew its small premises, forcing Herman to build a bigger factory. From humble beginnings with just four partners, to a profitable business with a staff of 130 people, the company was poised for great things. But then tragedy struck in 1993 when the new factory was totally destroyed by a fire which threatened to bankrupt the whole company.
At this point, a lesser man may have allowed his emotions to get the better of him. However, Mashaba was determined to overcome this obstacle. With admirable internal control Herman Mashaba resurrected his business and worked hard to build a strong distribution and retail network. Sales increased and market share strengthened.
By applying internal control in difficult circumstances, Herman Mashaba went on to shape his future towards achieving great success.
The Foundation is currently looking for those individuals, who, like Herman Mashaba, are able to recognise that life and destiny are a result of your own decisions and actions rather than a series of external factors. If you know of someone in Grade 12 or 1st year at university or you are the kind of individual who wants to Shape The Future by becoming an Allan Gray Fellow, visit our website to find out more.