Lyle Malander says entrepreneurship is the answer to tough economic times.
WHILE some large auditing firms suffered crippling reputational damages through their links to state capture, a young entrepreneur, Lyle Malander, 33, is making inroads in the field.

He is on a mission to eradicate youth unemployment and create jobs through his firm, Malander Group - established in 2015, and boasts 90 Chartered Accountants (CA), based in their Sandton and London, offices.

The businessman who was voted the overall winner of the prestigious top 35-under-35 award by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) in 2018, said the country needs more CAs.

Malander who is co-founder and director explains that the group focuses on three areas - namely advisory, digital and placements.

Building the business that currently sits on revenues of over R40 million has been a labour of love for Malander, who counts President Cyril Ramaphosa and Patrice Motsepe among his influences.

“The first challenge is access to big businesses so you can provide the best services to them.

“The barriers to entry are big when it comes to dealing with well-established clients. You need good relationships and also know people in the right places and get your foot in the door from a business perspective, in order to deliver a service. The biggest challenge for us right now is creating a name for ourselves and the ability to do business with big clients,” said Malander.

The Cape Town-born businessman strongly believes that entrepreneurship is the answer to the country’s socio-economic challenges.

“I am a firm believer of entrepreneurship, it is the key cornerstone or key component in the economic crisis we find ourselves in. A lot of big companies are struggling financially and people are being retrenched so entrepreneurs are needed to provide employment.

“We all have the ability to become entrepreneurs because it is not only a job but a lifestyle too - something you can do all day. Financial education is also key in assisting entrepreneurs on how to run their businesses.”

Despite his success in the field, accounting wasn’t Malander’s first choice. Growing up in a coloured community with limited exposure to career guidance, he aspired to become a doctor.

“I was good with numbers at school - they came naturally to me unlike history, geography and biology which weren’t my strongest points. I was not exposed to a lot of careers growing up, my mother’s colleague and friend helped to expose me to a variety of courses I could study. After some research, I chose the commerce route for a career,” he said.

With corruption rife in both the public and private sector, Malander feels that ethics and professional codes of conduct need to be applied in order to eradicate corruption and create more job opportunities.

He further urged the youth to follow their passions and do what they love. “Find your passion, know what drives you every day because that is important in order to achieve your goals. Work hard, put your mind on your craft and believe in yourself.”

To pay it forward, the University of Stellenbosch alumnus recently launched the Malander Program for Change which aims to assist underprivileged institutions with computers and access to the internet as a way of closing the digital gap in the country.

Malander, who attributes the success of his company to his hard-working team and the support from his family, has his sights set on expanding the Malander Group to become a global player in the audit, advisory, IT and placement economies.

“I am passionate about business and growth. The key goal is to create employment as an entrepreneur in the next five years and also grow the business in South Africa and internationally and also keep learning,” he concluded.

The Sunday Independent