Uplifting communities – Kanyi Gasa

2012-10-23 09:34

As an economic development consultant, Kanyi Gasa, 34, promotes investment in KwaZulu-Natal.

She has a degree in economics and business management and worked at the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) before moving to Enterprise iLembe, the economic development agency established by the North Coast iLembe District municipality.

She’s now director of her own development consultancy, RivaLauretta.

How did you learn your business smarts?

Working from the bottom up! I also learnt a lot from my parents, who had natural business acumen and were born leaders.

What’s your tip for getting to the top?
Hard work, determination and discipline.

And I advise everyone to read newspapers and business books.

Study the people who have gone before you for a foundation, but be receptive to young blood with fresh attitudes and new thinking.

What’s your best investment advice?

Buy property, as soon as you can!

The North Coast of KZN, anywhere beyond the airport, is ideal for residential or commercial properties.

I’m seeing the boom and investing for myself!

The uMmgungundlovu (Pietermaritzburg) area is also worth looking at – these are the primary corridors for development in KZN.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I survived a hijacking and kidnapping in 2003.

I almost died, but something in me wouldn’t let me give up, and I lived to see my attackers brought to justice.

Equally important, I lived to share my story – to tell other young women that you can overcome, and continue with your life and dreams.

You just have to persevere, one day, one shuffle, at a time, rebuilding your life and recommitting to your goals.

What has been your best business decision?

Seeking advice from trusted mentors – former colleagues, friends and CEOs.

I’m a softie by nature, and my immediate response is always one of empathy, and sometimes inappropriate sympathy, when it comes to my team. There was a time when I mothered them too much.

They are so young; fearful but excited and trying to please the boss.

But when the boss is the same age, it can make management difficult.

Consulting wise mentors got me over it.

What was your biggest business mistake?

I’ve sometimes doubted I had the ability to lead an organisation and its people, and questioned business decisions I made on the spot, only to find out later that I was right.

Lesson?

You have to be your biggest fan before you can expect anyone else to be.

What does South Africa need to get ahead?
Young entrepreneurs need to look beyond relying on tenders and government business and grow their businesses.

Many companies can supply the same product – differentiate yourself through superior customer services and care, and exceed expectations by delivering top quality before the deadline.

She believes in uplifting communities through sustainable economic development.

Rest and relaxation

Your biggest weakness?
I have a special relationship with shoes and bags.

They are my reward when I’ve done good.

I also treat myself to a weekly delivery of flowers.

Best way to spend a Sunday?

Church, relaxing with family and the papers.

I’m still trying to learn how to light my own fire for a braai, but I am very determined!


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