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Thapelo Mokoena | South Africa | Forget About Your Competition!!

I’m simply a small town boy with an undying spirit and zest for life. It all translates in my missions and endeavours. I was born in a small town called Ladysmith, under the Mkhamba tree on the way to the hospital. This is the same town that boasts the birth of the legendary Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Sugar Boy Malinga and more. I am Sotho, Zulu raised and bilingual African,

And I am also blessed to be a multidisciplinary artist, actor. producer, African filmmaker and a passionate leader in my community. A man of many hats, born in the Mokoena family - always surrounded by a multitude of family members. This explains why I have always had such a strong affinity to people and communities: a man about family and love. But most of all love for the African Idea. I have always been blown away by the fundamentals of entrepreneurship dedicated to supporting and nourishing creativity, collaboration and community. Entrepreneurial for me is a mindset, an approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt to change. Seeing the big picture, I am humbled and grateful to dub in few businesses like a wine startup, a grooming startup and currently the restaurant space. No one embodies the word passion quite like me, when it comes to meeting amazing people throughout my journey. Please, check out:

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them? Capital is always the challenge. I have always implemented strategies that would get us the ROI back as soon as possible.

. What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read? Nothing at the moment. A good friend recommended Guns Germs and Steal. He is a glowing businessman.

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

Honestly, no! My entire family are: go getters. We had to go get everything we have ourselves. It wasn’t laid out in gold for us. So the trust came from that stand point.

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success? I’m always up and ready to try again. That is my single strength. That has helped me really believe in what I have. Still not yet successful but on my way. What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur? That a business is nothing unless you work in it and grow it. In my early days I assumed having the expertise and a registered entity was enough, I now know better.

What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?

Forget about your competition and focus on your customer. They have the answers to how you sell to them.


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