JOHANNESBURG - A serial entrepreneur who believes that small business are a key economic driver is encouraging people to be innovative and take risks to achieve their goals.
Lebona Moleli, 55, says he wants to expose township youth to entrepreneurship so that they become self-reliant and contribute to denting unemployment in the country by creating jobs.
Moleli, who spent almost two decades in the corporate world, is the founder and owner of several businesses including The Marketing Kraal, an advertising media and branding company.
He also runs Lesaka Marketing Consulting and Lebona Investments which focuses on property development, arts and crafts, craft beer brewing, and green technology.
Moleli says he spends much of his time at The Marketing Kraal where he looks after blue chip clients such as MultiChoice, eTV, public broadcaster SABC, power utility Eskom and mobile network operator CellC.
“It’s a relatively big company,” says Moleli, who has worked for national carrier SAA, Coca-Cola Southern Africa and then SA Breweries (SAB), among other companies.
Moeli holds an MBA from the Wits Business School, MSc in Biochemistry at Atlanta University in the US, and a BSc in Chemistry at the University of Lesotho.
He says he is passionate about entrepreneurship, education, economic development and wealth creation and creating a better South Africa for all.
He says he decided to venture into business after spending 17 years in the corporate sector, with his last job being managing director at Uthingo Management, the former operator of the South African National Lottery.
“I left my cosy job in 2007 and ventured into entrepreneurship not knowing whether I was going to succeed or not.”.
He says however that he has always known that he would end up running his own businesses one day.
Moeli says by 10, his grandmother had already initiated him into house selling vegetables in his neighbourhood to make extra cash.
He says every time he would asked for money to go to movies, his grandmother would tell him to go and sell some of her stock.
The profits from the door-to-door selling would then be shared equally between them.
“She told me that she was only responsible for feeding me and for my education,” he says.
Moleli, who worked at SAB in senior management roles in manufacturing, operations and marketing departments, says he should have embarked on entrepreneurship earlier.
One of his immediate assignments now is to launch his much-anticipated craft beer in 2019.
“I have just signed an invoice with a company that will start brewing my beer. I’m a brewer by training,” says Moleli.
“My passion of brewing is still there and I want to revive it.”
Besides beer crafting, Moleli says he is zealous about youth education and entrepreneurship and has started a youth entrepreneurship initiative called Project Jala.
The initiative is aims to mentor high school learners to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career post their tertiary studies. Moleli says he also wants to establish a marketing academy which will provide marketing and entrepreneurship courses to the youth of South Africa.
“People are sitting at home with degrees. We want to encourage them to be employment creators. We want to inculcate a culture of entrepreneurship in township youth from a young age.
He says he started all his business ventures with his own capital and personal investments.
He says he strongly believes in the 4Ps of entrepreneurship, Purpose, Passion, Patience and Perseverance.
“Entrepreneurship is a key economic drivers. It has to be. Therefore, we want to encourage people to be creative, innovative, and take risks because entrepreneurship is risky,” he says.
“But the higher the risk the higher the reward. My parting shot would be the fact that together we can make it better. We just need to work together by forming partnerships and collaborations.”