The team of businessman came together to start the South African chapter of Ideasvoice are from left: David Venter, Brett Michielin, Yaseen Amod (Chapter Director), Adrian Butcher and Bheki Khathi. Image: Supplied.
JOHANNESBURG - A group of businessmen are looking to entrepreneurship to reverse the scourge of unemployment gripping South Africa.

The team including Yaseen Amod, Brett Michielin, David Venter, Adrian Butcher, Bheki Khathi, Jason de Leur and Johan Haysumen started the South African chapter of Ideasvoice in April 2018, in an effort to dent the unemployment crisis currently sitting at 27.2 percent.

They are spread are across the country’s economic hubs with Amod, Venter and Khathi based in Durban; while Butcher is in Johannesburg; and Haysumen mans the Cape Town fort.

The organisation was founded by chief executive Patricia Egard in France in 2012 and is aimed at matching small businesses and startups with investors and business partners, among other things.

This done through its online platform and its “Cups of Ideasvoice” events, where small businesses get to pitch themselves on stage and the audience and are then provided with mentorship and a future growth plan.

In an interview with Business Report, Amod, who was appointed the Chapter Director for South Africa by Egard, says he was drawn to Ideasvoice after attending various motivational effects.

“I felt that the motivation only lasts for a little while until reality strikes you,” he says.

“I therefore went in search for an organisation that encompasses change, allows the audience to get involved and make a difference.” 

Ideasvoice SA has already hit the ground running and that they are on a mission to reduce the unemployment rate and help increase the GDP growth through promoting entrepreneurship. 

“On our platform, we have over 8 500 international entrepreneurs and over 1 600 projects. Entrepreneurs can list their projects online and based on their wishes, the platform will partner them with their business partners, co-founders or investors,” says Amod, who holds a BCom accounting degree from University of KwaZulu-Natal.

“This is the first of its kind in SA.”

The certified life coach and project planner says the journey has been very exciting so far and that they have engaged with various organisations that they were collaborating with, including eThekwini Municipality and Minara Chamber of Commerce. “This has exposed us to the challenges we are facing in the country with regards to entrepreneurship and the realisation that entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the decrease of unemployment rate and the growth of the economy.”

Amod says they would like to see Ideasvoice SA being the leading entrepreneurship organisation in the country.

The organisation, which has various chapters across the globe, has already held a number of workshops aimed at promoting and explaining entrepreneurship to various communities in the country.

Amod says through the organisation’s collaborations they intend to assist entrepreneurs through the incubation and acceleration processes.

“We also would be hosting conventions which will include international speakers that will motivate and guide entrepreneurs,” says Amod, who has been involved in his family business since the age of 10.

He worked at his father’s butchery before progressing to his petrol station where he was responsible for allocating stock weekly in the convenient store.

“I have been involved in family business throughout my life. The exposure of

different fields allowed me to gain a wealth of experience.”

The businessman is also tech savvy and has recently developed a mum’s social app that connects mums and provides facilities that mums require from organising playdates to selling their unwanted baby goods. 

Amod says he looks up to his father and renowned venture capitalist Vusi Thembekwayo, who he describes as an avid young businessman who has achieved so much and for the assistance he provides to small businesses and startups.

“During my free time I like to socialise and meet other entrepreneurs and people in business,” he says.

“I also use this time to learn more (about business) by watching YouTube videos or doing some reading.”

He counts The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma as his favourite book.

“It ideally teaches how to lead by example in our current age and how to create a conducive environment for growth for employees and the company.” Another of his favourite is Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People.

“It talks about how to make friends quickly and easily; increase your influence, your

prestige, your ability to get things done; and gets you out of a mental rut, and gives you new thoughts, new visions, new ambitions.”