My First Attempt at Building a Company

2015-02-26 14:12

I could be dead by next week when I (and my partners) are scheduled to officially commence our journey as start-up founders of Friends of Brands through the accelerator programme, StartUp90, and in 3 months time, our Mark Zuckerburgian ambitions might also be dead. However, as things stand, life is looking pretty rosey. I've taken the time to write this because I want to share my state of mind as I take such a great leap in my life, which I am certain many young, ambitious South Africans are facing as well. The PR benefit that this may have of course, is just a positive externality which I most certainly welcome.

My journey to building Friends of Brands, which for now is still a patch of different works that will glue together in the next 3 months, didn't start in June last year as I was preparing to take leave from work after exams. I'd say it began when I was younger and watched business news on SABC3 at 1PM – there was no CNBC in SA at that time. High school was a pretty easy ride, and university could've been too but I made it not be. I feel my mojo only came back when I started working in Online Marketing, which is a field I had never thought of before my exposure to it. The accumulation of these things have birthed Friends of Brands, and what I plan to be a portfolio of other technology enterprises.

I've read about and had encounters with many people in my age group who could also benefit from the opportunities that I've been afforded, but many aren't exposed at all either because of their demographics, and/or their own fear of failure. It also doesn't help much that older, more established people chastise young entrepreneurs for failing.

So, young person reading this, if you believe in your idea/product – whatever – South Africa right now is well-suited for you to take the plunge and get started on building businesses that can grow into the next MTN, Bidvest and so on. I would measure your seriousness by how focused you where during yesterday's Budget Speech, which was very much pro-small business – the kind of businesses that most first-time entrepreneurs found.

I'm taking a risk by going on a sabbatical from my 9-5 to build Friends of Brands, but it's a worthwhile risk. Youth is on my side, and so unless you have a huge family to support, and have no partner to do that with, then there's really nothing stopping you from taking the same or similar route that I have. That's what's been going through my mind throughout all this time.

My aunt often reminds me that she wanted to study languages, but she found coding where better languages to learn. That resonates with me so much lately because I wanted too build things, I just didn't know what, but now I've realized that building companies is a future which I look forward to.

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