Following the recent figures around youth unemployment as well as the subsequent interventions that were identified and are being planned for, author Lindile Xoko has highlighted the importance of supporting young entrepreneurs in a drive to push the country’s economy forward.
“The recent unrest and looting in South Africa had implications and effects that none of us expected, adding even more strain to a strained economy. And while the focus is now on helping those who were affected by the looting rebuild, it is the young budding entrepreneurs who are still pushed to the wayside,” maintains Xoko.
He cited a recent survey conducted by the Gordon’s Institute of Business Science (GIBS) titled Understanding the Township Entrepreneur and maintains that one very important finding stood out.
“What was less expected was the importance of the small business ecosystem that sustains businesses within the townships. Almost half (48.77%) of the respondents listed other small businesses as key clients, while 21.99% listed medium-sized businesses, 13.10% cited large organisations and for 11.11% corporates were their key clients,” read part of the survey’s findings.
Xoko believes small businesses and entrepreneurs need each other to not only survive but thrive.
“We see this spoken of often in Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares series, where he and his team help failing restaurants, pubs and other eateries find their niche, fix organisational structures and give them solid foundation for their business going forward.
“Ramsay will often highlight the importance of these eateries buying their stock and supplies from other entrepreneurs and small businesses in their area,” explains the author who holds an MBA with merit from the University of Birmingham in UK.
Xoko says we saw a similar approach in Proudly South Africa’s positioning; “the power of buying local and supporting those enterprises of different scales to grow and become part of the national economy”.
“Community matters. The little communities we build through business ventures, social media groups, networking sessions and otherwise, are the key that can unlock futures and trajectories we did not previously see. It is in these communities, where trust and co-dependency foster relationships that lay the foundation for ecosystems that sustain its participants. It is where lessons from those who have walked the path previously, can be shared in a relatable and safe environment, to be understood in the right context.”
It is from this understanding of the importance of sharing the right information that Lindile penned The Young Entrepreneur’s Playbook: Using Failure as a Shortcut to Success.
According to Xoko, what sets this book apart, is not just the fact that it is written by a South African entrepreneur, but more importantly it is written by one who is invested in building communities and ecosystems of entrepreneurs, by sharing learnings and practical, easy to understand steps from a perspective of one who has been there.
“There is value in learning from others, and there is even more value from learning from others’ mistakes. Therein lies the opportunity for young entrepreneurs to make real changes to the way they do business, and eventually, their lives,” said Xoko.
His book has been described as a guide, a playbook and a step-by-step ‘how to’ for the budding entrepreneur. The Young Entrepreneur’s Playbook: Using Failure as a Shortcut to Success aims to enable and empower entrepreneurs with practical knowledge on how to monetise ideas, build a sustainable business and grow it, while navigating internal and external challenges.
“The playbook shows that failure is not something to fear, but rather a step towards success.”
Xoko has 24 years of entrepreneurship experience. He has led businesses in South Africa, UK, France, Portugal, Spain, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Germany and the greater EMEA, with a successful track record in growth, strategy, sales, channel development and acceleration, project management, transformation and business development.
All this after starting his first revenue-generating venture in photography at the tender age of 15.
While studying electrical engineering at university, aged just 18, he started selling refurbished mobile phones and computers.
After graduating he went on to work for companies such as Nokia, Motorola and Nashua Mobile and later co-founded Umtha Telecom in Cape Town.
While living in the UK some years later, he also founded Harvey Bean Mason Projects, working on projects across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia.
He was general manager of the small medium enterprise division at MTN and serves as the chief entrepreneur officer at Eden, a digital platform that helps entrepreneurs and small enterprises manage and grow their businesses. Primedia Broadcasting recently appointed Lindile as the company’s chief revenue officer.
Xoko considers himself an expert in growing businesses and hopes to share his expertise with other entrepreneurs in his new book.