Renowned author, mentor, strategy guru and master entrepreneur, GG Alcock, shared key insights and learnings in Durban tonight, encouraging students to overcome South Africa’s current economic challenges by seeking out opportunities within the informal sector.
Introducing Alcock to the 100 guests and MBA students at REGENT Business School’s newly-launched Centre for Entrepreneurship, the school’s Managing Director, Ahmed Shaikh, said, “Entrepreneurship has become pivotal in the economic growth of both developed and emerging economies. Some global leaders are even predicting that entrepreneurship will be key to the transformation of Africa’s economic growth in the new millennium.”
Alcock, a one-time shebeen owner, political activist, community champion, author, adventurer and now CEO of Minanawe Marketing, inspired the audience with anecdotes from how his unique upbringing in Msinga in the KZN Midlands, helped shape his entrepreneurial journey.
“Born white and bred Zulu” Alcock grew up in a hut where he was immersed in the local culture. It was this grounding, unique skills and experience that shaped his understanding of informal, low-income mass markets in Africa and led to him writing two of South Africa’s most socially revealing books, Kasinomics which deals with entrepreneurship in the informal sector and Third World Child. “Modern business is about disruption and about understanding cultural dynamics and contexts,” he told the audience.
Armed with a magnetic personality, invaluable on-the-ground experience and an attitude to boot, Alcock inspired and enlightened guests who attended REGENT Business School’s open day to sample the institution’s business course offerings. “Find opportunities in informal sectors which are disrupting formal sectors and challenge them, and find opportunities reflected in socio-economic trends or cultural lifestyle trends,” Alcock advised. “Learning more about these informal sectors or understanding diverse consumers, exposes opportunities that are not obvious and un-mined by corporates. In South Africa the informal sectors are what the .com era was internationally some years ago – changing fast, unknown and unexploited.”
This positive sentiment underpins Alcock’s firm belief that, “The first African revolution is about to happen!”