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NGO, NPO & Social Enterprise News South Africa

5 tips on creating a sustainable, purpose-led enterprise

As purpose-driven entrepreneurship trends upward, serial entrepreneur Patricia Nzolantima believes this will positively impact the future of consumerism and how organisations operate in the long term. With a background of developing projects that empower and support underserved communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nzolantima believes that purpose-driven business will have a bigger resurgence in the post Covid-19 era.
Patricia Nzolantima is the founder and chair of Bizzoly Holdings, Africa regional honouree for the 2020 YPO Global Impact Award, and ambassador of Women In Africa (WIA) empowerment initiatives.
Patricia Nzolantima is the founder and chair of Bizzoly Holdings, Africa regional honouree for the 2020 YPO Global Impact Award, and ambassador of Women In Africa (WIA) empowerment initiatives.

She is encouraging current and future entrepreneurs to see this as a period of significant change that can hold massive potential in the way consumers will interact with organisations. “Entrepreneurs should see this as a real opportunity to make a difference in their communities. Now is the time to make a profound impact. To inspire each other to have more humanity, think differently and take time to listen and reflect,” says Nzolantima.

There are increasing calls for businesses to be bastions for social good, deeply invested in the communities they operate in, believes Nzolantima: “People work very hard for their money and will be careful how to spend it. When you show them an opportunity to improve their community as they buy essential goods, you give them more reasons to choose your business.”

Pivoting business to meet new demands

At the start of the pandemic, Nzolantima was able to merge her women-led taxi service with her fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company so that essential goods could be transported to those in need. As changing business strategies in the middle of a pandemic can be anxiety inducing, Nzolantima offers advice on how to create a sustainable, purpose-led enterprise:

1. Be authentic. The conscious consumer is very aware that they are voting every time they spend their money. “The spirit of purpose-driven entrepreneurship must come from a good place in your heart. The consumer has more time online and can quickly investigate your motives. Your kindness will be in vain if you are only focused on profit.”

2. Be a mentor. “You can have a profound impact on someone; help them to grow into a better version of themselves and inspire others around them. You plant the seed, so the person continues to grow even when you are not there. That’s what I want to do; leave a legacy by changing lives.”

3. Be fearless. “Don’t be scared. Meditate and consider how you can control the situation. Think about where you want to be in six months’ time. What are the next steps? How can the current situation make you more efficient? How can you really make an impact?”

4. Believe in yourself. Right now, it’s very easy to feel discouraged. “People will tell you you’re not good enough. I urge you to know you who are and keep believing in yourself, even if you fail. I love failure! It’s taught me many things, including never to take anything for granted. If you have self-confidence, you can rebuild.”

5. Be disciplined. “Don’t be swayed by what’s trendy and fashionable on social media. Stay focused on your goal. I didn’t follow the trend; I followed the investment and how it improves lives. Today, I still wake up at 4am to meditate, then I leave work early enough to get to gym. Rituals are important.”

Nzolantima says that the most important attribute is to learn to love obstacles. “You meet God through the challenges. That’s when you find clarity and grow.”

Nzolantima is calling on the private and public sector to prioritise purposeful entrepreneurship initiatives by providing accessible funding, extensive educational programs, and enabling supportive legislature that will encourage socially beneficial business practices.

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