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Thursday, 08 February 2018 10:39

High-Impact Endeavor Entrepreneurs attend World Economic Forum in Davos

This year, two stellar Endeavor Entrepreneurs; Excelerator alumnus, Shona McDonald, Founder and Director of Shonaquip and Uhambo the Shonaquip Foundation, and Endeavor Entrepreneur, Luvuyo Rani, CEO of Silulo Ulutho Technologies, attended the World Economic Forum. These high-impact entrepreneurs who lead innovative scale-ups based in the social entrepreneurship and edutech sectors respectively, recently returned to South African shores to share their insights with their business teams and Endeavor South Africa.

1. What was the experience like for you?

Luvuyo: This was my first time in Davos and it was a wonderful experience. I met with amazing key people and I also met the South African Deputy President on the South African dinner night. There was positive feedback from investors and the media about South Africa.

Shona: My immediate thoughts are focused on the fascinating topics and ensuing debates and unexpected connecting of minds of unexpected people across a wide range of skills, interests and experiences I was able to meet with people I would never normally have had exposure to, meeting and connecting on a personal level as human beings who share common goals and aspirations. Women and men, artists, social activists, investors, heads of major global corporations and Governments all equally concerned as to how to manage change and improve the state of this very fractured and broken world.

2. What did you learn about yourself?

Luvuyo: I realized that I am now operating in the global arena. So the way we do business in Silulo has to be at a higher standard that enables easy scalability.

3. What was your main take away from the experience for you as an entrepreneur?

Luvuyo: My two main takeaways from the conference:

  • The importance of connectivity to the internet for Africa. If people are connected, they can unlock many opportunities which can bring more investment opportunities.
  • The second is that it is really important to relook the curriculum at our schools. We could look at teaching Coding, AI, Robotics, Automation, Machine Learning. We also need to teach power skills such as collaboration, analytical thinking, self-confidence, team work, partnerships.

Shona: My main take away is that Uhambo-Shonaquip is needed, it holds the solutions to building more diversity and inclusion. It has a strong proven replicable change model which is needed if we are going to succeed in building more empathetic and sustainable communities and achieving the SDG’s. Exploring the details in possible partnerships and forging effective collaborations is now the challenge of the next 12 months for both my team and me.

4. How will you use everything you learned in your business?

Luvuyo: The meeting in DAVOS came at the right time. We are busy with our Silulo2020 vision. The learnings from the conference will allow us to achieve our plans (adding more courses in the Silulo Academy, Improving our Mobile, Technical and ISP Business and also going deeper in the offering of our B2B services through key partnerships like VODACOM, SMEASY, CANON.

Shona: I would never have guessed that those first tentative meetings in 2007 with Endeavor to discuss the possibility of broadening and escalating the plans for Shonaquip’s impact would bring me on this journey as an Endeavor, Ashoka and Schwab Social Entrepreneur and Changemaker. For this and many other reasons, “stronger together” remains the mantra of the Uhambo-Shonaquip team and Davos has now given me a totally new perspective on how possible this is when you find partners and investors who seek both common outcome and shared values.

5. What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs aspiring to greatness?

Luvuyo: There is a huge debate around inclusivity and building a fractured world. I could see that Social Entrepreneurs will be very important in addressing the challenges of the world. We need more social businesses that have impact and are also making money.

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organisation and was incorporated as a non-profit foundation in 1971. The Forum strives to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. As Schwab Award winners, Shona and Luvuyo were invited to attend the forum held in Davos annually. Both entrepreneurs went as representatives of their own founder-led, scale-up companies.

For information on Endeavor company, Silulo Ulutho Technologies, follow the link: http://silulo.com/

For more information on Endeavor Excelerator Alumni Company, follow the link: https://shonaquip.co.za/

Pete Benedetto and Tarisai Nyamandwe

Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel and Luvuyo Rani, Founder of Silulo Ulutho Technologies

Pete Benedetto and Tarisai Nyamandwe

Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa and Shona McDonald, Managing Director of Shonaquip and Uhambo Foundation

Pete Benedetto and Tarisai Nyamandwe

Shona McDonald with Queen Mathilde of Belgium

Pete Benedetto and Tarisai Nyamandwe

Shona McDonald and Luvuyo Rani enjoying the Swiss snow