Founding chief executive of the Black Business Council (BBC) and the current chief executive of the Small Business Development Institute (SBDI), Xolani Qubeka. Image: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - Xolani Qubeka, the founding member of the Black Business Council (BBC) will be speaking at the Raging Bull Summit  - a platform for exploring investment opportunities, economic policies and business and leadership.

Take a look at his career:

He is the current chief executive of the Small Business Development Institute (SBDI).

Qubeka has got no formal qualification. In an interview with Georgina Crouth, Qubeka said he regards himself as a graduate of the University of Hard Knocks. Yet his humble beginnings never defined his future.

He attended short courses at Walton in University of Pennsylvania and Insead in Fontainebleau, France in an endeavour to acquire business skills.

"My humility and care for people in general arises from that upbringing, where respect and hard-work were the order of the day. My major exposure to discrimination, gross racial inequality and bias stems from that environment, where ordinary black mineworkers were not considered human enough. This environment influenced my Pan Africanist orientation," Qubeka explained.

At the age of 15 years, Qubeka was already trading in fruit, stockings, meat and cold drinks; participating in stokvels, and selling newspapers as money was a scarce resource at home.

Qubeka’s love for business progressed to hair-dressing, construction, IT and telecoms. 

Crouth perused Qubeka's CV, where she found that Qubeka's first formal job was working as a messenger at a trading company.

After that, he moved to Market Research Africa as a field worker, team leader and then supervisor.

In his third job, he was working as a  salesman for empowerment pioneer Richard Maponya’s General Motors dealership in Soweto. This job encouraged him to open his own car sales brokerage and later, he ventured briefly into construction.

In the 1980s, Qubeka opened five salons and on the anniversary of his first store, he published “Hair Vision” - the first proudly black hairdressing magazine in the country.

He was appointed the president of the African Hairdressing Association, an affiliate of the Foundation of African Business and Consumer Services (Fabcos), and later became its marketing manager.

He credits the former Telkom chief executive and current Eskom's new board chairman, Jabu Mabuza - then Fabcos’ chief executive - for giving him his big break when he invited him to join the Fabcos fold. 

"I suddenly got noticed and head-hunted in major corporate firms such as MultiChoice, Denel, the Gijima Group, and served as a non-executive director during the establishment of MTN," Qubeka explained.

He told Crouth that his term as founding chief executive of the BBC, and subsequently as its secretary general, is a “monumental period” of his activist years, because there were tangible and notable successes such as the amendment of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, the Amended B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice and the enactment of the Ministry of Small Business.

After years in leadership at the BBC, Redisa, Pamodzi and his own business, Qubelisa Enterprise Empowerment and Training, Qubeka’s relinquished those positions, handing over the reins to his son at Qubelisa, which focuses on accredited skills development and training, while he remains devoted to the SBDI.

Qubeka said the SDBI is his passion. The Institute looks at interventions that give people access to the major value chain of large companies.

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE