GES BBC Interview:
At the recently ended Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Kenya, I was interviewed by the BBC Focus on Africa’s, Kim Chakanetsa, who started of by asking why I was such an avid champion of entrepreneurship:
BBC: Why are you such an avid champion of entrepreneurship?
Strive Masiyiwa: This continent has to deliver millions of new jobs a year, and we are delivering a fraction of that. The only vehicle that I know through which we can create jobs is through an explosion of entrepreneurship on this continent, supported by the right policies.
We have got young people – entrepreneurs on this continent – who are skilled, who are bristling with ideas and full of energy. What they need is our collective support. They need the support of their governments in policy-making driven towards entrepreneurship. We all need to support the nurturing and acceleration of businesses.
BBC: For all listeners, could you think of a single challenge that you faced and how you overcame it?
Strive Masiyiwa: Look, business is about facing challenges. I have faced challenges all over the world. I have faced challenges with currencies. I have faced challenges with inflation.
BBC: What about when you were starting out though?
Strive Masiyiwa: It’s no different. Every entrepreneur knows they have to get past challenges. So I can’t over emphasize those challenges because they were my teachers. That’s where I was trained in tenacity – from those challenges. That’s where I was trained in fortitude. That’s where I was trained in patience. So challenges are good.
BBC: Integrity also seems to be something that you really feel strongly about. Just explain to us why that is such a key factor in how you do business?
Strive Masiyiwa: One of the greatest obstacles to the growth of any economy is corruption. There is a study I was reading, just a few days ago, that said the greatest obstacle to women accessing resources in an economy – as entrepreneurs – is corruption. We need to deal with that, and that is why for all my business career I have always spoken out against corruption.
I have seen corruption all over the world. Corruption has no colour. Corruption has no boundary.
I have found corruption all over the world and, wherever I have found it, I have spoken out against it.
I always say to my business colleagues that you are not committed [to end corruption] until you speak out against it. In today’s world of Twitter, Facebook and social media, if you are a leader – whether in politics or business – let’s hear you say “NO to corruption”.
Image Caption: Speaking to some of the young entrepreneurs in attendance at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya.
To listen to the interview, please visit BBC sound cloud page: