So, I went looking for inspirational material for Malawi’s youth, as I like to do. This time, I met a guy who is the owner and managing director of Cosmic Inc. the partner company to a video production company called The Creative Circle, and the social project Dream Nation. He’s also a brand ambassador for The Powerlist Foundation charity. According to his about.me page, he considers himself to be an Orator, Visual Artist and Entrepreneur, and a “Practical Dreamer”, which I think is very modest of him. Dear readers, I’m delighted to share his insights with you… the exchange was as follows:
Dear Claud, I’m based in Manchester UK, and amongst a number of things I write a blog on Malawi, to motivate young people with new ideas, with the aim of building a better Malawian society. I’m writing to find out whether you may have some time for a questionnaire regarding dreams, success and entrepreneurship. If so please answer the following 7 seven questions…
Q1: What part did family support play in your success?
A: Support from my family was key. My big sister gave me a lot of key advice at the right time in my life, she also brought me Richard Branson autobiography which played a big role in inspiring me. She also forced me to buy my first DSRL camera which turned out to be a key choice in my life. My parents also gave me the room to do things a little differently, including taking a year out of Uni to work on my business and support me with money when needed. Finally, having healthy competition with my twin sister was big motivator for me.
Q2: Do you think it is true that the success a young black male achieves is partly linked to where they were born? If so how can aspiring entrepreneurs growing up in underdeveloped places in Africa overcome this huddle?
A: I think the success that any body achieves is linked to where they are from. There is no way to avoid this, because our backgrounds are what form as at an early stage. However, I think the biggest key is to not be a victim of our situations and instead of making excuses using our experiences as learning opportunities and to see new opportunities. Sometimes we just need to see the world with new eyes.
Q3. What inspires you, and how do you use that inspiration in your own business ventures?
A: I’m inspired by a sense of knowing that when I reach my goal, I’ll be in a place to help change the world for the better. So in my eyes, I don’t just work for me, I’m working for every life I can help improve one day. I’m also motived by the people I surround myself with… we are the average of the 5 people we associate with the most.
Q4. What advice would you give to young aspiring black entrepreneurs growing up in Africa and dreaming big?
A: To become practical dreamers. Dream big, so big that people will laugh at your dreams but then match those dreams with the work that needs to be done to make them reality. Read as many business and self-help books as you can, until you feel you have the tool to start working. Don’t make excuses, blame other people or your situations, although they all may be valid reasons making excuses will not change your future. Surround yourself with people who are going places or who are already successful, then be humble and ask questions, ask for help. Finally never give up.
Q5. I’m assuming you raised capital for your ventures? If so, how did you go about this?
A: I didn’t raise capital actually, I started really small… in fact I started with about £5 and created plans to turn that £5 into £350, and with the £350 I brought my first camera. Then with that camera I built my business. It’s more about being smart, planning, thinking big and above all putting the work in.
Q6. Any musical influences?
A: Reach Records is my record label and Swoope is my favourite artist.
Q7. Famous last words
A: Be A Practical Dreamer
Claud’s website can be found here, (also check out his facebook page) and below is his presentation at TEDxLoughborough. It’s obvious, we’re yet to see the best of Claud… watch this guy closely.