Andile Khumalo, former Chief Investment Officer at MSG Afrika Group, is the keynote speaker at FundEX 2018, to be held on 16 August 2018 at Riversands Incubation Hub. The one-day event connects entrepreneurs with potential funders and also gives insights on how to approach funders.

Entrepreneurship came naturally to Khumalo: he was ten years old when he started selling. “I started the tuckshop at school. Later I did things like deliver newspapers and I also sold Tupperware.”

He completed his BCom and Post Grad in Accounting at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and then went to qualify as a Chartered Accountant (SA) in 2003.

More than a decade ago Khumalo joined MSG Afrika, a firm which started out as an investment holding company.

Today, MSG Afrika has two radio stations POWER FM and Capricorn FM. It also owns Quizzical Pictures, a leading television and content production company, and The Communications Firm, a top events and public relations agency.

Ahead of the FundEX 2018, we spoke to Khumalo about his funding journey and why he’s passionate about entrepreneurship.

How important is collaboration and community for an entrepreneur’s success?

It’s everything. You can’t be an expert in everything and you probably can’t get to everything.

If you want to achieve things at scale, you have to collaborate. You need people with different skills, networks and strengths especially in an environment where you cannot afford to hire people.

It must be a shared value type of model. You collaborate with people aligned to what they, and you, want to achieve.

Also, it’s also a lot more fun to work with people. The beauty of collaboration is that you share the successes of each other.

Is collaboration and community important to when you want to do funding too?

With funders it’s a simple calculation. It’s important to understand the position of the funder; it’s important to know what funders want.

It’s the same way with what a customer wants – what they’re thinking and you have to understand their problem.

When funders lend money out, it’s not their money. They lend money to people and places that are secure. So the question that will come is: are you able to run the business profitably?

Collaboration is important, because to deliver X amount, you need X amount of skills.

You joined MSG Afrika and are one of the co-founders of the talk radio station POWER 98.7 FM. Tell us about that funding story of POWER 98.7 FM.

It was a new venture. At the time there was a gap in the market for it – for talk radio. Our target audience was the black middle class.

It takes a while to get funding. We got the National Empowerment Fund and the Industrial Development Corporation to support us.

If you approach funders, your proposition must be sound and strong.

They don’t have a pot of gold to dish out to everybody, so your proposition must be compelling. Remember, funders want their money back.

Tell them how you are going to pay them back. Be realistic. Don’t lie. It gives you credibility if you are honest about it. Under promise, over deliver.

How important is presentation when you approach funders?

You have to look the part in many aspects of life. Dress well, look well packaged.

Your digital outlook is also important in terms of your website and social media. People Google people. I check everything. You can’t be thug-like in your personal life and professional in your business life.

What is your vision of I Am An Entrepreneur?

The reason drives the vision. I used to get people coming up to me for mentorship and asking for a level of support to start their businesses.

It’s not just funding, it’s not just capital; there are various ways people need assistance. Many don’t have a point of reference (to how to become successful). For example, you might not have any family members who were entrepreneurs.

I wanted to create a platform with entrepreneurs who have done it before and can talk about how to stand a better chance of being successful. We’re hosting mass mentorship sessions. We’ve covered topics like include securing clients and pitching.

I Am An Entrepreneur is five years old now. It has been in all the provinces except the Northern Cape.

You once talked in an interview about competing with established businesses. What practical ways can SMMEs do this?

Understand your industry and on what basis are you able to compete. In some industries you don’t stand a chance to compete.

To stand a chance within your industry, compete with your strengths. Think about “what can I beat them in?”

The good thing about SMMEs is that we are a lot more nimble and reactive when it comes to making big decisions than big businesses. Big businesses often need approval to make a big decision. That’s a competitive advantage for SMMEs.

FundEX 2018 – Are you in?

FundEX takes place on 16 August 2018. The tickets are available online and are priced at R350 per person. Riversands Incubation Hub is located off William Nicol Drive near Dainfern.