SA Legends offer a mentorship toolbox to gear up and coming entrepreneurs for the challenging road ahead
Against all odds, South Africa’s entrepreneurs and small business owners have had to find ways to keep their ships sailing in the face of enormous adversity over the past nine months. Now, while still reeling from the economic impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic, those whose enterprises have survived are facing their biggest challenge yet - how to develop new strategies and solutions in response to the altered business landscape.
According to Brend Badenhorst, founder of the Entrepreneurship School in Cape Town, one of the biggest challenges small businesses will face coming back from lockdown, will be trying to revive momentum. He says this is because people’s spending habits have changed drastically, and they are hanging on to their money, while confidence in the economy has dropped and commercial activity has slowed down.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners generally navigate the waters solo, and most agree that having the guidance of a good mentor to steer them through the unchartered murky waters of a post-Covid world, could well make the difference between sinking and swimming.
Gordon’s Gin, part of Distell, one of South Africa’s leading producers and marketers of spirits, fine wines, ciders and ready-to-drinks (RTDs), has stepped up with a support initiative that shines the spotlight on the vital role of mentorship for entrepreneurs in this time of crisis. ‘#BeALegend with Gordon’s Gin’ is the brainchild stemming from a partnership with four legendary South Africans, each of them a highly successful entrepreneur in their own right, who will provide guidance and mentorship to those who partake in the campaign and win. Winners will also receive financial support for their ventures.
DJ Dimplez is the creator of national hip-hop experience - Pop Bottles, and is one of Mzansi’s top Hip Hop DJs; while DJ, television presenter and businesswoman Lamiez Holworthy, who has been flying the flag for women in one of the toughest industries for over a decade, needs little introduction.
Founder of GalXBoy Clothing Thatiso Dube is one of Mzansi’s smartest businessmen who has overcome the odds to succeed in the fashion world; and the fourth legendary mentor is none other than internationally renowned footballer-turned-fashion-magnate Morgan Gould.
We asked Morgan why mentorship is so important to entrepreneurs right now and what kind of mentorship is needed in this time of crisis.
Q: How important is mentorship in the life of an entrepreneur?
A: It is very important. A mentor is someone who has walked the path that you are aspiring to walk as an entrepreneur. He or she can help you to align yourself with the character traits and actions that can make you a successful and even great entrepreneur.
Q: Do you think mentorship can make the difference between sinking or swimming in a time of crisis?
A: Yes, I do. A mentor can share vital granular details that can ensure that your strategy is implemented in such a way that you don’t sink, and a mentor can share the exact actions to take to guide you towards overcoming a crisis. He or she can keep you aligned with your vision and goals, and support you while you navigate the rough waters.
Q: Our country’s entrepreneurs and small business owners have been the hardest hit by the economic impact of the Covid-19 lockdown – what kind of support do you believe is needed right now to survive the worst of the crisis?
A: We need to ensure that we equip entrepreneurs and small business owners with skills to survive the post-Covid aftermath. They need to be enabled to revive their businesses based on a new business model that adheres to COVID regulations. It is important to ensure that small businesses and entrepreneurs are knowledgeable on how to plan and dedicate resources for other potential natural disasters.
Q: What role has mentorship played in your career as a soccer player and also a fashion magnate?
A: Mentorship enabled me to learn the disciplines and values of a good and trustworthy role model to the youth. It is only by understanding and practising good values and being committed to acting with integrity that a leader or role model can succeed in the soccer fraternity and in the fashion industry. It’s the role of your mentor to instil this in you until it’s a part of your persona.
Q: Who has been your important mentor along the way?
A: My most important mentor was legendary soccer player and coach Jomo Sono. By working alongside him I learned to develop skills and qualities that have been vital to my success. I learned to listen and take instruction on the field, how to come up with solutions to problems and how to multi-task. Jomo was owner and coach of our team and he coached us on the field and made sure that the team stayed afloat financially. He also owned other businesses that he managed on the side. He is my greatest role model.
To enter the Gordon’s #BeALegend Challenge, entrepreneurs and aspiring small business owners need to follow @GordonsGinSA on Instagram or Twitter and share how they are building their legacy. To find out more or to follow the campaign follow the hashtag #BeALegend.
"Despite the radical nature of the year that’s passed, we’ve felt the loyal support of people from diverse walks of life through it all, many of whom are young entrepreneurs and small business owners. It’s no secret that many of these aspiring and established business owners have had to delay their ambitions and find ways to keep going in the face of enormous adversity over the past nine months,“ says Kayla Hendricks, Brand Manager, Gordon’s Gin.
‘’We understand the difference a supportive nudge can make to someone who may feel like they’re fighting the good fight alone. This is our fight, together, and this is the impetus behind the #BeALegend campaign, now extending into mentorship opportunities by hand-selected SA living Legends,’’ she adds.
The Gordon’s Gin team encourages all South Africans to stay safe, buy only what they need and to consume alcohol responsibly this season, wherever they may be. Alcohol not for sale to persons under the age of 18 years.