Local Heroes inspire

Entrepreneurial Empowerment
Empowerment article.jpg
The recently launched State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa report revealed that one of the four ideal ecosystems for entrepreneurs is the 'Local Hero Model', which focuses on the local entrepreneur who builds a large, ground-breaking business enterprise, motivates others and creates opportunities for more entrepreneurship in the community through his/her story. 

According to Nimo Naidoo, project manager of the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, it is critical that innovative concepts  such as the Local Hero Model are continually developed and fostered  in South Africa, as the country currently has a culture that neglects entrepreneurial activities. 

Naidoo says that when it comes to entrepreneurial activity in South Africa, society has a culture that disregards entrepreneurs, especially those who failed in the past. She says that if the Local Hero Model is correctly developed, the negativity and neglect around entrepreneurship could be gradually eliminated. 

She says that by uplifting local entrepreneurial role models, communities will be able build a society that appreciates entrepreneurial activity. “For example, in the United States, entrepreneurs are encouraged and respected and in 1790, 90% of the American population were self-employed entrepreneurs. It is commonly believed that this culture laid the foundation for building one of the world largest economies.” 

Naidoo says that the report cites Bill Gates as an example, as he had a significant impact with creating Microsoft in Seattle in the 1970s. “The Local Hero Model is based on a local entrepreneur who has excelled in his industry, and is therefore admired by others and inspires community members to start businesses within or outside the community or industry. According to the report, the emergence of a local hero is influenced by myriad factors, which makes this particular archetype abstract and difficult to replicate.” 

She says that a method of instilling the Local Hero Model could be to encourage local entrepreneurs to provide employment opportunities to locals within the industry, as well as identify themselves as entrepreneurs within the community. “Activities that offer immediate benefits to the industry should all be considered.”

Naidoo believes that industry awards, such as the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® awards, are one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways for entrepreneurs to promote this culture and create a positive connotation around entrepreneurship. “Entering competitions also allows entrepreneurs the opportunity to earn a credible corporate reputation or image, which can potentially be magnified by media exposure, thus building the entrepreneur’s profile within the community. 

“Entrepreneurship activities can only flourish when individuals are stimulated by goals and driven by ambition. In order for South Africa’s entrepreneurial culture to evolve we need to train entrepreneurs to be proud, positive and inspirational,” concludes Naidoo. 

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Issue 72