Privilege and entrepreneurial success

One of the first words that toddlers hear is: “NO!”

As we grow, so we learn to recognize what our parents want us to do and not do.

We learn our place in the family and in society by absorbing our family’s attitudes, values and behaviours, by osmosis.

Our grandparents introduce us to our heritage and our traditions.  From our parents, we learn about food preparation and we learn respect, and we learn about team-work and we learn prejudice.  We learn about learning and about earning a living.

And sometimes we don’t.

The wisdom passed down to us from our family and friends that helps us to get ahead in life and the world is called cultural capital.

Apartheid broke that chain by breaking up families.

Migrant worker fathers weren’t there to guide their boys into manhood.

Girls didn’t have a father figure to reference.

Apartheid legislation also prohibited black people from owning businesses.

So, no one to teach the kids about buying and selling, and business ‘etiquette’.

In “Why I hire blue eyes before black guys”, Lerato Tshabalala writes humorously but contentiously that “white people sign contracts, give invoices and don’t usually leave without finishing the job… sadly, the majority of our people are chancers and don’t give a damn about customer service.”

She has friends “who run their businesses efficiently and meet deadlines. But they’re few and far between.”  I believe that this is largely because people lack the cultural capital that they would have learned had they had entrepreneurial family members.

Outliers like Herman Mashaba and Richard Maponya became the rare role models for the current generation.  Eatery owner Sizwe Dhlomo observed that “It helped to grow up in a family where my dad was an entrepreneur, because business advice was readily available.”

Apartheid further condemned black people to the inferior Bantu Education system.  And we are perpetuating that legacy now.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor confirms this, stating that the “level and quality of education in South Africa is one of the worst in the world.”  “Many school-leavers do not have sufficient literacy, numeracy and livelihood skills to be able to participate actively in the economy.”

children imitating adults

Creative Business Hub, a new programme designed to give creative businesses an advantage, aims to address these challenges through relevant business skills and a personal development module which integrates the most important features of cultural capital.

If you are in the arts business – or know someone who is a creative entrepreneur – please help us by answering this short questionnaire to help us ensure that our programme makes a meaningful impact in participants’ businesses.  You might even be selected to join the June 2018 intake.

Rick Ed

Mentor, trainer and business advisor at DoBetter.Business


2018/04/07

CC BY-SA

Click here if you want to discuss Creative Enterprises Hub development programme.

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