I had the pleasure of interviewing him.
SEIF KABELELE: How did the idea for your business come about?
DERRICK NDZAVI: I believe that any business idea come as a desire to meet certain need or change of your personal lifestyle, with me was growing loving cars and most people with cars were owning businesses then but when I got into business realized that it is not about cars only.
SK: How do you find people to bring into your organization that truly care about the Organization the way you do?
DN: It is difficult especially when you have started and the business needs people not you, at that point you ask anyone who know someone and end up getting wrong people. Always spot a need in a business before it becomes crisis, that way you get to look for suitable person without pressure.
SK: What advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
DN: Don’t wait until you graduate to get started, if there is a way to start small go for it, that way you are able to say “I have business experience”
SK: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
DN: Not chasing money but focusing on developing the brand and the product understanding that once that is in place money will follow.
SK: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
DN: Frankly, all skills fit into entrepreneurship because with any skill one gets to work for a company that is owned by entrepreneur.
SK: What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
DN: Failing to implement my own policies has been my major failures as I realized later that had I focused on them would not have faltered many times.
SK: How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
DN: As long as you can give it a try before ruling it out
SK: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
DN: Failing to provide for my family and that is what drives me to want to do more.
SK: How do you define success?
DN: When you do what you purposed to do and do it as per plan that is success. Be it good or bad since you can succeed in doing bad thing that you purposed to do
SK: What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
DN: Success is a success be it long or short of it.
SK: Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
DN: I built my business based on marketing and advertising and brand positioning and allowed it to grow organically without being acquired or cash boosted from outside
SK: How do you build a successful customer base?
DN: Meeting their needs and changing with times to stay relevant for clients
SK: How did you decide on the location for your business?
DN: With online access whereby today am able to do interview right in Ghana I would say my business model has no location, I can do business anywhere anytime with anyone
SK: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
DN: Discipline is the only formula. In order to be successful you are either disciplined or cruel.
SK: If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
DN: Solomon would be my man, to ask him how he could get off course when he had all the wisdom
SK: Who has been your greatest inspiration?
DN: My school principal Calvin Mabunda, he spoke to me once telling me that there is no reason I can fail any standard in life and since then I had the success attitude.
SK: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
DN: Not knowing what awaits you each day that I like the most
SK: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
DN: Seeing my clients happy
SK: What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
DN: Isn’t it obvious? IF you work for someone you are not in control and not in charge, you may have comfort of salary but someone has comfort of profit.
SK: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
DN: Talking about what I do, that has been the successful form
SK: What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
DN: There is no culture except following the policies and guidelines that are led by prayer.
SK: What are the current opportunities you have seen for SMMEs or people wanting to start up their own business?
DN: There are opportunities everywhere, SMMEs just have to identify what they can do and pursue it than being all over
SK: Have you heard of any great SMME success stories recently?
DN: Through media yes, but on those I mentor would need permission first to share their success
SK: If you were to start an SMME now, what sort of line would you look at starting?
DN: My role within Entrepreneurship space is being a mentor, so I am all-rounder, I am like a teacher who can teach student to become lawyers, doctors etc without necessarily having desire to become one but be able to hand over to next teacher to continue the work. Same as mentoring, desire is to see ideas become reality through our guidance without building a singular interest in a particular business.
SK: In your opinion, what effect has the recent economic challenges had on SMMEs?
DN: Well by recent will depend on which side of the map are we at since there are economic challenges everyday everywhere and it is only when governments respond positive towards the needs of SMMEs that challenges are overcome
Derrick is a Certified Business Advisor (IBASA Member) and Founder of New DiscoveryBS http://newdiscoverybs.co.za
He is a graduate Mining Engineer from the University of Zimbabwe and has attended various management programmes including the Accelerated Development Programme at the London Business School, UK and the AMP at GIBS, SA. Ben has extensive mining experience in both underground and surface mining as well as soft and hard rock mining. He also has experience in the energy and logistics industries.
Ben was the Chief Executive Officer of Anglo Coal South Africa and the Executive Head responsible for Engineering and Capital Projects at Anglo Platinum. Ben was previously a director of Anglo American South Africa (2006-2013), was Chairman of Richards Bay Coal Terminal and the Eskom 2008 Coal Working Group. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at St Peters Prep School Foundation.
Tanzanian Maria Sarungi Tsehai... Yes, she's not one easy to define or characterize. By profession, she is a communication expert however in reality, Ms Sarungi- Tsehai is known for a wide varied action-packed career. She is director and owner of Compass Communications, that she founded with her husband David Tsehai, but she is also director/producer of award winning films and documentaries. She is also presenter and producer of many well-known and highly viewed shows in Tanzania since 2000. Aside from the independent production, Maria is also a communication consultant, having provided communication advice, PR management and training to various organizations including UN agencies, civil society organizations and individuals. Her detailed CV lists some of these organizations including World Lung Foundation and Foundation for Civil Society But there is more to Maria Sarungi-Tsehai than this
Maria Sarungi Tsehai has 10 years’ experience in national and international pageantry as event manager and pageant expert. Ms Sarungi-Tsehai is also the personal manager and mentors to all the winners and titleholders of Miss Universe Tanzania and since 2014 Miss Universe Kenya pageants. She works with a team of experts in various fields including designers, psychologist, beauty experts, boutiques, choreographers, stage designers etc As franchise license owner of Miss Universe in Tanzania since 2007, the Miss Universe brand has become synonymous with quality and prestige. Her mentees include Flaviana Matata, Miriam Odemba, Nelly Kamwelu and other beauty queens. The recent re-launch of Miss Universe Kenya has put this East African country back into the limelight with Gaylyne Ayugi’s stellar performance at the Miss Universe finals in Miami.
However as event manager, Maria SarungiTsehai has also excelled and managed with her company many other events, including annual awards, brand and company launches and conferences. Her clientele is as diverse as in any other sector. Maria’s name recognition however extends beyond the TV screen onto the new media namely social media as she is the founder of the citizens’ social media movement called Change Tanzania. Through her activism, her hashtag #ChangeTanzania has now over 50,000 members and followers on Facebook and Twitter. It was through Change Tanzania, that Maria was also appointed by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania to be a member of the Constituent Assembly in 2014.
Maria SarungiTsehai is also Chair of the board of AkibaUhaki Foundation based in Nairobi, Kenya, member of the Technical Advisory Committee of REPOA, chair of Tanzania Independent Producers’ Association, Regional Secretary of Eastern Africa in the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI), founder of Roots and Shoots – Jane Goodall Institute. She also remains available for advice and mentoring for various other organizations and a well-known moderator and public speaker at different events.
From Jozi, Tebogo Ditshego. He's a former freelance journalist writing for Avusa Media publications such as the Business Day, Sowetan and Sunday Times and he holds Honors in Communications and Media Studies from the University of Johannesburg and a certificate in Business and Entrepreneurship from the University of Wisconsin in the US.
He grew up in Kagiso, which is in the West Rand of Johannesburg and started his first company Ditshego Media in 2011. In 2015, Tebogo was listed as one of Fast Company Magazine’s top 100 most creative South Africans in business. Later that year, the Sowetan featured him as one of South Africa’s top 100 young bosses. In 2014, he was also named one of the top 200 Young South Africans by the Mail and Guardian.
Tebogo Ditshego was nominated for the University of Johannesburg’s Alumni Digitas Award in 2015, which honors graduates who achieve a dynamic legacy of accomplishment. In 2006 and 2007 he was elected twice consecutively to serve in the University of Johannesburg’s Student Representative Council. He also represented the University of Johannesburg twice consecutively at the annual Southern African Communications Conference for his honours research essays.
Tebogo Ditshego is the chief executive officer (CEO) of South African public relations agency Ditshego Media. Forbes Magazine included him in their list of the top 30 African entrepreneurs under 30 in 2014. In 2012 he founded an on-line book club called ReadaBookSA, which has grown to become the biggest on-line book club in Africa.
In 2016, Tebogo Ditshego published his first African fiction book "Kasi Nerd" which went on to be a bestseller. In June, 2014 Tebogo Ditshego participated in the Mandela Fellowship for Young African leaders in the US, a programme launched by US President Barack Obama. The Mail & Guardian newspaper listed Tebogo Ditshego as one of the top 200 youth in South Africa for the work he has done in spreading a culture of reading books.
He worked on the communications campaign for the "Mandela" banknotes for the South African Reserve Bank. In 2006 and 2007 he was selected twice consecutively to serve in the Student Representative Council at the University of Johannesburg. Tebogo Ditshego represented the University of Johannesburg twice consecutively to present his research papers at the Southern African Association of Communications Conference.
Ameyaw Debrah, is a Ghanaian celebrity blogger, freelance journalist, and reporter. He founded AmeyawDebrah.com, an entertainment website and blog that primarily publishes news about Ghanaian celebrities. He graduated from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with a bachelor's degree in Publishing. While at KNUST, he won the Best Publishing Student award in 2005. He has made significant contributions to several Pan African websites, including Jamati.com, Orijin-ent.com, and ModernGhana.com.
In 2008, he joined GhanaWeb.com as the entertainment editor, and launched his own website in 2008. Through his work, Debrah has had the opportunity of interviewing numerous personalities, including Kofi Annan, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Lloyd, John Legend, Damon Dash, Ade Bantu, Trey Songz, Amber Rose, Ludacris, Coptic, Wyclef Jean, Mario, Eve, Sean Paul, Jimmy Jean-Louis, David Clowney, Santonio Holmes, Majid Michel, Nadia Buari and John Dumelo.
Debrah attended Adisadel College in the Cape Coast, and became an editor for the school's magazine in 1999. After completing his studies at KNUST, Debrah completed his National Service Secretariat program at Ovation International Magazine in Accra. While at Ovation, Debrah primarily wrote about the Ghanaian Entertainment Industry. His writings were published for the publication's international audience. After completing his service with NSS, he became a columnist for Star newspaper. In 2007, he devoted his time to the aforementioned Pan African websites. Nearing the end of 2007, he joined Voices of Africa, a media project based in the Netherlands. During his time with Voices of Africa, he submitted videos, photos and news from Ghana for Africanews.com. In 2008, he became the entertainment editor for GhanaWeb.com. Later that year, he fully launched his blog AmeyawDebrah.com. He left Ghana web in 2012 to pursue his blog full-time. He contributes to Star Gist (an entertainment segment on Africa Magic) as a Skype correspondent. He also contributes to content on Ebony Life TV and Glitz Africa Magazine. He is an ambassador for Malta Guinness' Africa Rising Campaign
A born entertainer, South African Sizwe Dhlomo is well known for his work on TV and radio. Sizwe has become a well-known face on the South African music and entertainment scene from presenting the MTV base World Chart Express & MTV Fanta World Chart, and co-anchored pro-social programme MTV base Uncensored. He was also a digital host for the 16th Annual South African Music Awards (SAMAs) and later graced the TV screens once again as he joined SABC1's LIVE, as the show's signature co-host alongside Bonang Matheba. Sizwe left the show in late 2011.
Originally from Durban, Sizwe gave up a career as a computer programmer when he won MTV Base’s talent contest and became the first MTV Base VJ in 2005, during the music channels debut season of its World Chart Express.
Vanessa Mdee also referred to as Vee Money, is a Tanzanian recording artist and youth activist. Mdee is popularly known for being the first ever Tanzanian MTV VJ. She later rose to prominence as a radio and TV host, hosting Epic Bongo Star Search and Dume CHallenge for ITV Tanzania before signing to B'Hits Music Group in late 2012. After joining B'Hits Music Group, Mdee collaborated with Tanzanian rapper A.Y. on a record '’Money'’ and Ommy Dimpoz, a Bongo Flava artist on a record Me and You that was later voted Song of the Year during the 2013 Kilimanjaro Music Awards. She received an even bigger buzz with the release of her first solo single "Closer", which in its first week was downloaded over 30,000 times, a feat achieved by no other Tanzanian artist. "Closer" remained on the charts for over 13 weeks. Vanessa has had the chance to interview many artists, such as K'Naan, Kelly Rowland, French Montana, Trey Songs, Mac Miller, Rick Ross, Ludacris, Miguel, Donald, Nazizi, Xtatic, Stella Mwangi, Camp Mulla, Tay Grin, Teargas, Dr. Sid and many more African and international acts. In 2015 and 2016 she released three singles Nobody But Me, Never Ever and Niroge which were also received well.
In early 2007, Mdee got the chance to audition for The MTV VJ Search in Dar es Salaam. Afterwards, she joined Carol and Kule to host the Coca Cola Chart Express. By 2008, Mdee had established herself in Tanzania and around the continent, hosting shows in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Angola, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She also became known in the United States and Brazil.
In 2008, Mdee worked with the Staying Alive Foundation on a project close to her heart. She got to visit the Uwanja wa Fisi with then-Staying Alive Foundation Special Ambassador Kelly Rowland. Mdee also joined Malaria No More in their Zinduka Campaign, a campaign aimed at the eradication of malaria.
In early 2009 Mdee hosted Senses, Sounds and Wisdom with Zantel during the annual Sauti Za Busara International Music Festival, showcasing the ever-growing Swahili culture. Mdee's fashion sense has made her the go-to girl at every MTV Africa Music Awards. She hosted the red carpet event for three years in a row.
In 2011, Mdee's became the host of 102.5 Choice FM's The Hitlist. As host, Mdee played R&B, Hip-Hop, and Pop. She also interviewed many artists, such as K'Naan, Kelly Rowland, Mac Miller, Rick Ross, Ludacris, Miguel, Donald, Naazizi, Xtatic, Stella Mwangi, Camp Mulla, Tay Grin, Teargas, Dr. Sid and many more African and international acts.
Along with her pan-African weekly TV show, MTV's Base Select 10 and daily radio gig, Mdee blogged as a roving reporter on behalf of MTV Staying Alive and UNAIDS on her Dynamites Mission website. She was MTV's voice at the 2011 UNAIDS Mali Youth Summit in Bamako and the subsequent High Level meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, She participated in the International Conference on HIV and STI's in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and cofounded (along with M. K. Asante) STANDWIDTH, under the UNAIDS umbrella.
In 2012 Mdee hosted MTV Base Meets, a show geared towards empowering young Africans from around the world by giving them the rare opportunity to sit down with an influential leader. MTV Base Meets brought her in the company of Russell Simmons, Alek Wek, former President of Nigeria Hon. Olusegun Obasanjo, football star Emmanuel Adebayor and Akon. Mdee also hosted the Kili Music Awards (Tanzania's music awards) as well as Tanzania's nationwide talent search Epiq Bongo Star Search (EBSS). Mdee is currently working on her new web series Vee World Wide, about her travels and encounters with various celebrities from around the world. People who have appeared on Vee World Wide include Keke Palmer, Carol Rodrigues, Da Internz, Keyshia Knight Pulliam, Letoya Luckett, DWoods, GOOD Music's D'Banj and many more. Mdee was asked to audition for BET's 106 & Park, although she did not get the gig.
Also in 2012, Mdee was awarded at a gala in New York City by the UNA-YP (United Nations Association of Young Professionals) for being an African change maker. In the same month she was awarded by the GAVI Alliance for her support in the initiation of free vaccinations for Tanzanian children. In May 2013, Mdee was invited to speak at the World Economic Forum for Africa in Cape Town, South Africa on behalf of the GAVI Alliance on the announcement of the new record low price for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. Later that same month, Mdee again spoke on cervical cancer at the Global Forum for Cervical Cancer Prevention in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on behalf of Global Health Strategies. Mdee officially became a GAVI Ambassador and an active voice against cervical cancer.
Mdee launched her music career in 2012, working on the single "Me and You" by Ommy Dimpoz. A month later 13 January 2013 – she released her first single "Closer". These scored her four nominations at Tanzania's Music Awards (Kilimanjaro Tanzania Music Awards), including "Bongo Pop Song of the year", which she won. She also won Collaboration of the Year
In, 2013 Mdee got added to the Dar es Salaam hub of the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper. In October 2013 Mdee joined the GAVI Alliance again at the UN General Assembly where she spoke on a panel with Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda. This trip ended with Mdee closing the NASDAQ by ringing the ceremonial closing bell, along with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe and Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of Mali. Mdee was in turn awarded by the Global Health and Diplomacy for her work in advocacy.
Mdee hosted MTV Base's Hunters Oasis; a music festival around Africa with appearances from some of the African continents hottest artists and DJs. She also hosted Tanzania's Epiq Bongo Star Search Season 7and Dume Challenge, seasons 1 and 2. Mdee also released her second single "Come Over" in November, 2013 which has been on charts in Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya
In 2014, Mdee was nominated for 3 Kilimanjaro Tanzania Music Awards for Female Artist of the Year, R&B Song of the Year and Female Performer of the Year. On 3 May 2014, she won for R&B Song of the Year for Closer. Mdee released her third single Hawajui on 13 June.
‘Switch On’ Airtel Campaign; Vanessa Mdee is involved in the ‘Switch On’ campaign by Airtel that is about connecting users to the internet and charged according to the kind of device in use.
MTV Africa Music Awards; Vanessa Mdee alongside Nomuzi Mabena presented the Best Collaboration Award and Best Francophone Award. During the trip to Durban, South Africa she as an MTV VJ had an opportunity to sit down and interview Trey Songz, Miguel and French Montana all artists from the U.S.
Coke Studio Africa; Vanessa Mdee features in season II of Coke Studio Africa where she collaborates and performs with Nigeria's Burna Boy.
Kili Music Tour; Vanessa Mdee was among the artists that graced the Kili Music Tour 2014 stage in Mwanza and the finale in Dar es Salaam. Serengeti Fiesta Music Tour 2014 – Sambaza Upendo (Swahili for 'Spread Love'); Vanessa Mdee was on Tanzania's biggest nationwide music tour, covering various regions. The tour final took place on Saturday, 18 October 2014 in Dar es Salaam where American rapper T.I graced the stage; other acts included Diamond, Davido, Waje, Victoria Kimani, Patoranking to name a few.
Vanessa Mdee received an endorsement deal from Crown Paints, to be its brand ambassador in Tanzania. Crown Paints is a number one paint manufacturing company in Eastern Africa.
AFRIMA Awards; Vanessa Mdee nominated for two categories: Best Female Artiste in Eastern Africa and Best African RNB & Soul in the All Africa Music Awards. On 27 December, Vanessa Mdee won Best Female Artiste in Eastern Africa award in Lagos, Nigeria.
On 8 November, Vanessa Mdee joined forces with another Tanzanian songbird Barnaba Elias to release their latest up tempo Afro Pop duet Siri. It tells the tale of a cunning young man who tries to convince a young bride to embark on a love affair with him, with promises of plenty material things. Despite her upbringing the story ends at a crossroads, leaving the listener wondering. Siri is already rising fast on the Tanzania radio charts plus East African charts. Later on 8 December, the much anticipated video for Hawajui was premiered on MTV Base and has gone on to capture the attention of the African continent and beyond.
2015 Essence a popular US magazine – hadn't shot a cover in Africa since 1978. They decided it was time. They travelled to East Africa and photographed Erykah Badu in Zanzibar, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya for the August issue. Vanessa Mdee features in this Essence issue where she opens up about Tanzania, her music, inspiration and many more