Know your strengths, be prepared to fail, and always keep pushing forward. This was the core message of keynote motivational speaker, Energy FM CEO Simphiwe Mdlalose, at the University of Limpopo (UL) fourth annual Business Day on Friday.
Mdlalose was one of several speakers who addressed students to encourage them to become entrepreneurs.
“Every single person here can contribute to the world. Stop saying ‘I have to look for work’ and start saying ‘I have to create an opportunity’,” he said, adding that he has never worked for an employer in his whole life.
The Programme Director, Malegodi Moloto, started the proceedings by asking Student Pastor Tebogo Vincent Malope to open the meeting with a prayer. Then she asked all the guests to turn to their neighbours and say, “I am going to employ you one day.”
She explained that this was the main aim of the Business Day, to encourage young people to become entrepreneurs and job creators. Dr Olabanji Oni, Head of the Business Management Department at UL, also spoke at the event and proudly announced the UL Business Plan Competition.
He said that they received over 50 entries of which 14 made it to the final round. The top four business plans would win cash awards worth between R10 000 and R30 000 to help these entrepreneurs make their dreams come true.
Dr Oni also introduced Mdlalose, who took the students on a voyage of self-discovery and growth.
The energetic entrepreneur encouraged students to follow their passion and said he studied economics, but his real passion was always for broadcasting.
He explained that he founded the popular Turf FM community radio station and thereafter started a non-governmental organisation that helped start community radio stations all over the country. Thereafter he started his own business in the broadcasting industry.
“I found my passion, applied my strengths, and never looked back,” he said.
Business guru Kholofelo Pholafudi, author of ‘The psychology, science and art of turning contacts into connections’, warned the students never to allow the people around them to drag them down.
“Surround yourself with winners. A loser will always want to bring you down to their level so that they don’t have to feel bad about their failures,” he said.
The students also had the opportunity to hear from representatives of Masisiszane Fund, a business funding venture, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), and the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (Ledet) to find out how these entities can help them launch successful businesses.
The Business Day was concluded with a delicious lunch and networking session, where the students had the opportunity to speak to business advisers from Standard Bank and Seda.