By Graham Fehrsen, MD CFO South Africa (pictured with Starbucks founder Zev Siegl)
This was the driving message at the invitation-only Old Mutual Wisdom Forum on 10 November 2015, titled 'Cultivating the next class of entrepreneurs'. The event featured thought-provoking speakers Zev Siegl (a co-founder of global coffee empire Starbucks), international speaker and consultant Stephen Archer, Natasha Sideris (founder of the hugely successful Tashas) and Matsi Modise (MD of Simodisa Startups).
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The audience was filled with a veritable who-is-who,
including leading CFOs like Aarti Takoordeen
(JSE Limited), Peter Walsh
(Servest), Richard Cohen
(Glencore Coal), Michael Goemans
(Old Mutual SA) and Fabian Cazares
(Philips Southern Africa). CFO South Africa was also present at the function of Finance Indaba Africa
partner Old Mutual. The mood was both focussed and fun, as the speakers provoked, taunted and teased business leaders about their role in cultivating tomorrow's entrepreneurs.
Zev Siegl offered his more than 40 years of wisdom on incubating and building businesses suggesting that although the economic and legal landscape can always be improved the truth is that entrepreneurs need to be comfortable with a degree of risk that isn't suited to everyone. This is the reason successful entrepreneurs aren't on every corner and why, when you find one, they're likely to have been through the wringer to get where they are.
The fine dining, heady company and an opportunity to talk about how to make South Africa a better place created an outstanding experience and I am certain that its these types of platforms that create the most important component for a better South Africa - relationships. Social capital is often the difference between an entrepreneurs ideas finding the light of day or withering into insignificance.
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