I love listening to entrepreneurs share their journeys. When I listen closely, I notice two common traits: all entrepreneurs are risk-takers, and most have a clear vision. These traits seem to help them navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship successfully.

Statistics show that risk-taking and vision are crucial for entrepreneurial success. A study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found that 70% of successful entrepreneurs consider risk-taking a significant factor in their achievements. Moreover, the Harvard Business Review reports that having a clear vision is essential for sustaining long-term business success.

Let’s look at two inspiring examples:

  • Elon Musk took significant risks with companies like SpaceX and Tesla, facing numerous setbacks but ultimately revolutionising the space and automotive industries. His vision of a sustainable future continues to drive his innovations.
  • Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, invested her life savings into her idea despite numerous rejections. Her vision for comfortable shapewear transformed the industry, making her one of the youngest self-made female billionaires.

This week, we have invited four entrepreneurs to share their journeys with our listeners:

Nobubele Nzima

  • Nobubele Nzima: Founder of Bellarosa WIP Productions Pty Ltd Poultry Business, recognised as a News24 Young Mandela for Social Justice 2023, Mail & Guardian Top 50 Women Leader 2022, Sun World Heroic Women 2022, and a GBV activist. She directs three businesses and is a BarOne National Hero.

Mandla Langa

  • Mandla Langa: A registered debt counselor with the NCR at ML Debt Counselor since 2009, qualified accountant, and general tax practitioner. He serves as the Chief Financial Officer, helping people manage their finances effectively.

Mart Meyer

  • Mart Meyer: Community Outreach Specialist at Pace Recovery Centre, and Founder and CEO. He helps people recover from addiction and is dedicated to addressing how addiction and mental health issues impact the workplace. Mart is committed to creating a healthier work environment.

Lorna Mlonzi

  • Lorna Mlonzi: A results-driven entrepreneur with extensive experience in the telecommunications industry. She is skilled in business relationship management, new business development, and ICT Solutions Architecture.

Join us for an inspiring session as these entrepreneurs share their stories, insights, and the risks they took to bring their visions to life.

Q: Nobubele, I see that you run a poultry business, which sounds exciting. Can you tell us more about what you do and what your business is about?

Nobubele: I am a poultry farmer, specialising in egg production and meat. We also provide mentorship and training for startup farmers who are interested in the poultry business.       

Q: Mandla, I understand that you are in the debt review space. Can you briefly introduce yourself?

Mandla: Thank you for the opportunity. My name is Mandla Langa, and I am a registered debt counsellor with the Credit Regulator. I have been in the industry since 2009. My entrepreneurial journey was driven by the opportunity and necessity that existed at the time. Before we had the insolvency law in our consumer credit market, the introduction of the National Credit Act presented a chance to enter the industry and assist consumers who were over-indebted.

Q: Lorna, it’s good to talk to you again. You are a friend of the show. Please introduce yourself.

Lorna: I am an experienced entrepreneur in the telecommunications space. We focus on ways to bridge the digital divide in low LMS areas and transform the everyday lives of people from disadvantaged communities. This is what I have dedicated my life to.

Q: We also have Mart Meyer with us. Mart, can you please introduce yourself?

Mart: I’m Mart Meyer from PRC, I run an addiction recovery centre here in Mpumalanga.

Q: Lorna, you are involved in telecoms and ICT. I’ve been curious to know, how did your business start?

Lorna: The “why” is always the most important question. When you wake up in the morning and ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing. So, how I started Sky Internet was by seeing the challenges we face on a day-to-day basis in town. I was born and raised in the township. My mother used to run a hair salon during the day and a tavern at night. She would literally be paid four times for four different products back then. She would do these women’s hair, and they would come later to the tavern, and the next day they would borrow money to go to work. When they got paid, they would come back and buy clothes. I learned about the provision of multiple services and business from there.

Returning to the telecommunications space, I noticed that no one was addressing how to upgrade critical infrastructure in the townships.

Q: Was there a tipping point when you decided you wanted to start your own business? When did that happen?

Lorna: I was fortunate to be raised by a hustler—my mom. She started many businesses. I remember she was involved in Unibank, a black-owned bank in Uitenhage. Growing up, we were encouraged to find ways to make money rather than asking for it.

I used to rent out films, and one of my favourites was “Romeo Must Die.” I knew that sex sells, and that young boys would want to see Aaliyah. So, I rented films from Mr Video and invited people to come and watch. My room would be packed, and since my mom rented the film for me, there was no cost for me. I realised I was making money from the comfort of my home, while others had to wake up early and go to work. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a business owner. At that time, I wanted to be an attorney, but in 2001, I was introduced to computers, and my path changed.

Q: Let’s move over to you Mandla, how did you end up running your own thing, what happened?

Mandla: I am one of those entrepreneurs who were driven by both the necessity and the opportunity. In 2007 when the National Credit Act was enacted, we saw an opportunity. Then I decided to register as a debt counsellor, seeing the industry that we operate in, I saw that there is an opportunity, especially when we look at the statistics as presented by the National Credit Regular, you will see that at any given time we have around 21 million credit agreement in South Africa, in the credit industry. 9 million of those agreements have bad credit records that necessitate the need to rehabilitate those consumers. That was a driving factor. 

Q: I am interested in your upbringing. Did you ever find yourself in a buy-and-sell situation?

Mandla: Like many typical township young people, we do get exposed to business. Coincidentally, my mom was also a shebeen owner, and I must have drawn inspiration from her. I achieved financial independence at a very young age. I started working while I was still in high school.

Q: Mart, how did you start your business? How did you get involved in community outreach?

Mart: My journey is quite a good one because I started my entrepreneurial journey at a young age. I began working in the family business at the age of 16, but I never felt fulfilled for the past eight years. Working with people has truly become a passion for me, despite being one of the most challenging aspects of my work. That’s why I appreciate the TransformSA initiative and the conversations it fosters. We aim to transform people’s lives.

Growing up in business presented many challenges and taught me a lot. I was involved in the ICT environment, agriculture, and construction. About eight years ago, I lost my business, which led to starting my current venture. However, I had to go to rehab first. At the end of the day, it is lonely at the top for business owners, as the decisions rest solely on us. I never had a drinking problem; I had a “me” problem. Three years into rehab, I learned that I am an alcoholic. Someone sat me down and said, “Listen, you have a drinking problem.” Slowly but surely, everything changed.

We are trying to transform the stigma around mental health and addiction in South Africa. This is what we strive for at PRC—helping people recover and addressing how addiction and mental health issues impact the workplace, ultimately creating healthier work environments.


One of the profound takeaways from Mart was that his recovery centre also helps executives dealing with various addictions and mental health issues. These include sex addiction, gambling addiction, drug addiction, and more.

As an entrepreneur, it’s important to take care of yourself. Mart aptly puts it: it’s lonely at the top unless you have a spouse who can lend you an ear. However, such spouses are a rare gift, especially in a country like South Africa, where many people battle mental health issues and often remain in denial.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), one in six South Africans suffers from anxiety, depression, or substance use problems. Additionally, about 23 people per 100,000 are battling substance addiction. This highlights the critical role that people like Mart play in providing support and recovery services. By addressing these issues, they help transform lives and create healthier work environments.

Entrepreneurs and executives must recognise the importance of mental health and seek support when needed. Taking care of your mental well-being is as vital as managing your business. Remember, you’re not alone, and seeking help is a strength, not a weakness.

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