Entrepreneurs of KwaZulu-Natal, Unite!

Budding business students check out EducationUSA exhibit at the entrepreneurship event (State Dept)
Budding business students check out EducationUSA exhibit at the entrepreneurship event (State Dept)

Fifty of KwaZulu-Natal’s young entrepreneurs gathered to share ideas on the heels of Global Entrepreneurship Week at the American Corner at Bessie Head Library in Pietermaritzburg on November 25, 2014.

Consulate General Durban organized a panel of entrepreneurs from a range of sectors, including Mandela Washington Fellow Creesen Naicker and  NGO FinFind’s Chief Executive Officer Darlene Menzies.   Naicker is a social entrepreneur specializing in youth-oriented activities, while Menzies has launched several software ventures and works in partnership with USAID to identify seed funding for small and medium enterprises.

Durban’s U.S. Consul General Frances Chisholm opened the event by encouraging youth to capitalize on promising opportunities.  “Budding entrepreneurs make the most of the resources available to them.  They attend events like this one; they network; they seek advice; they refine their ideas.  They do not sit passively

and wait for something good to happen to them.  They seek out opportunities; they fight for resources; and they spend long hours working to make their dreams into reality.”

CG Chisholm (center) with panelists and aspiring entrepreneurs at American Corner Pietermaritzburg (State Dept)
CG Chisholm (center) with panelists and aspiring entrepreneurs at American Corner Pietermaritzburg (State Dept)

CG Chisholm underscored U.S. interest in stimulating entrepreneurship.  “This month, in South Africa and across the world, the United States is working with its partners to organize events like this — events that highlight U.S. support for those who are dedicated to making their mark on private enterprise.   Entrepreneurship is an ingrained part of America’s culture and our economic history.”

She advised would-be businesspeople not wait for government handouts. The entrepreneurship panel also included speakers from the  Kwazulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Msunduzi Municipality.   Several U.S.-supported community groups with an entrepreneurial focus, such asWhizzKids and Wildlands, held an exhibition on the margins of the event, which also promoted business studies in the United States under the auspices of EducationUSA.