Traditionally, a business would build a product and hope to find customers who want to buy it. Aggressive marketing tactics would hook consumers who, faced with few other choices, would respond accordingly. The company would corner the market and move on to building the next product.
While broken relationships weren't the only factors in the demise of Buys' first business, they did teach him some of the most important lessons about founding teams. "It's not an easy journey," he says
Are you an early-stage start-up with an idea that advances financial inclusion for customers in Sub-Saharan Africa? Have you developed a new electronic payment system, customer-centred payment plan, new financial products, mobile banking instruments or similar ideas?
Quoting Reshma Saujani's TED Talk, MTN Scholar Lianne du Toit agrees that "we're raising our girls to be perfect, and we're raising our boys to be brave." Du Toit is the Business Network Director for The Young Presidents Organisation (YPO), a global platform for chief executives to engage, learn and grow.
"I went to a demo day recently hosted by a leading incubator. Not a single woman was pitching" says Elli Yiannakaris, director of the Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development (RAA) at UCT GSB. Our own experience at the Solution Space supports Yiannakaris's observation.
Can entrepreneurship be taught? Given the number of universities across the world that offer degrees in the subject, the answer may seem obvious. But entrepreneurship is a state of mind, a necessary precondition for the acquisition of skills and an appreciation of the value of theory.