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Marketing | What makes an entrepreneur successful? Case study of a South African entrepreneur


By Emma Eastman

Some say it takes a push in the right environment and a learning opportunity to encourage someone’s development and entrepreneurial skills. In today’s business-centric world, there are a numerous entrepreneurial success stories that you can look to for insight and inspiration.

In South Africa alone, there are multiple success stories. Mark Shuttleworth is one of the finest examples of entrepreneurial spirit and business savvy. This uber-geek from Welkom made his first billion(s) right here in the Mother City, and he has certainly made the nation proud.

Mark Shuttleworth: Entrepreneur extraordinaire

Mark Shutttlewoth is a South African entrepreneur who is better known for being the second self-funded space tourist and the first African in Space. He has founded numerous companies, and he also provides leadership for the sophisticated Ubuntu operating system. This free operating system for desktops and servers is engineered for consumers and large-scale enterprise alike.

Shuttleworth was born in the Free State in South Africa. He attended school at Rondebosch Boys' High School and then Western Province Preparatory School and Diocesan College. Mark then went on to obtain a Business Science degree in Finance and Information Systems from the University of Cape Town, where he was involved in the installation of the first residential internet connection at the university.

When looking at Mark Shuttleworth and others who have accomplished great things, certain characteristics are obvious – confidence, being a self-starter, determination, having strong people skills, passion and strong work ethic. Top entrepreneurs in the world continuously look for different ways to do things and display exceptional ability to create new ideas and find new solutions to problems.

The characteristics of an entrepreneur:

Confidence – The ability to believe in one’s strengths and convey a positive attitude to the point that it rubs off on others. This is important, as people will have confidence in you if you they see you are confident in yourself and, as a result, also in your product or service.

Determination – Otherwise known as staying power. This is an important characteristic for overcoming obstacles, challenges and disappointments that you may run into.

Strong work ethic – The ability to stay focused and diligent when completing tasks. It’s a strong work ethic that will ultimately produce results.

Some characteristics are innate and others can be learned. A good way to further yourself is to read books, watch DVDs and attend conferences that teach you valuable skills relating to the industry you hope to break into. Workshops, and sometimes even formal training, are great ways of obtaining the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed. It is also good to have a mentor, someone who you can learn from and be inspired by.

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license. 

Back to SmartyPants Newsletter - April 2012 Edition

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