Giving digital power to Africa’s entrepreneurs

Posted on November 14, 2018

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Mashudu Modau is the creative entrepreneur behind South Africa’s podcast network dedicated to amplifying the voices of Africa’s youth, Lutcha Africa. The self-proclaimed youth entrepreneurship evangelist and startup supporter is also the founder of Mashstartup – an interactive digital platform built to educate and empower African entrepreneurs through engaging content. He’s using digital media to connect young people to opportunity while documenting the rise of youth-owned business in modern day Africa. “We want to shift the way entrepreneurs and African youth in general learn, build and grow themselves or their business through digital content, primarily podcasts, and other future initiatives.”

As an avid supporter of youth in business, Mashudu plays multiple roles within the African startup ecosystem that allow him to help entrepreneurs further their impact.  He’s a community manager at Yoco – a card acceptance solution for business that seeks to help entrepreneurs and small businesses grow. He’s role is centred around tapping into existing entrepreneur communities to amplify the work Yoco is doing and to develop entrepreneurs through innovative and creative experiences for learning and empowerment. He’s also recently been named as one of the ambassadors of the Global Startup Awards – an independent startup ecosystem award competition with the mission to find, recognize and connect the future shapers of the digital age.

It’s been a really interesting project to be a part of. I think we have incredible entrepreneurs and startups in Southern Africa and these awards seek to shine a light on the excellent people who are building incredible things for the future of Africa.

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He started Mashstartsup to help youth entrepreneurs navigate the development landscape more efficiently to find the best resources for their business. In his experience, incubators and entrepreneurial hubs were failing entrepreneurs by following a “one size fits all’’ approach. He’s also noticed that many successful entrepreneurs aren’t completely honest about the reality of business and so young people are lured into it expecting to become an overnight success. “Failure is inevitable. Success is not guaranteed. Nobody is coming to save you. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone and dealing with the realities of failure and consequences of success are crucial to being the 1 in 10 that actually survive.”

I think incubators and entrepreneur development programs focus a lot more on the startup someone presents instead of the “someone” who pitches it. The old saying ‘back the jockey (entrepreneur) not the horse (the startup or small business)’ is very appropriate in this case. Entrepreneur development should be focused on that, entrepreneurs.

If you’re one of Mahudu’s almost seven thousand followers on Twitter, you will know that his passion extends beyond just youth in business but making sure that all youth on the continent have the opportunity to win. While documenting entrepreneurship on the continent, he hopes to change the narrative of what it means to be young and African. “Too long the African youth narrative has been documented by either older generations or people who are not born and bred in Africa. There’s a perspective that is missing; the people who are part of the narrative and exist as the custodians of Africa’s future. We are documenting from a unique vantage point in that we are part of the youth that will shape  Africa’s future through digital content.”

 

About the author:

Dimpho Lekgeu is an award nominated journalist. She aims to create dynamic platforms for African youth to boldly tell their stories and be inspired. She’s Christian and believes in black girl magic.