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South Africa

Tech entrepreneur Annette Muller on why business is like gardening

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South African entrepreneur Annette Muller is the founder of Flexy, a new online platform that helps companies to work with an on-demand workforce from all over the world. Muller previously founded DOTNXT, one of South Africa’s first innovation consultancies (recently sold to an international firm), and has been recognised by Forbes as one of the “top 10 female tech founders to watch in Africa”.

Here Muller shares some of her thoughts on entrepreneurship.

Looking at the notion of knowledge and curiosity, what is the relevance for business?

As we are witnessing the exponential growth of technology changing businesses, our humanity, our intuition, creativity, curiosity and constant search for knowledge is what sets us apart. It should be on every business’ priority list to cultivate and select people who are curious and equip themselves with knowledge.

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The world’s richest doctor (worth R150bn) was born and raised in South Africa

By: Kabous le Roux

Patrick Soon-Shiong, the son of Chinese immigrants to South Africa, is the world’s richest doctor and the wealthiest resident of Los Angeles with a net worth of almost R150-billion. Soon-Shiong was born on 29 July 1952 and grew up “coloured” in Port Elizabeth after his parents fled from China during World War Two. He finished high school when he was 16 and received his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand at 23, finishing fourth out of 189 graduates. He moved to Canada, then to the US, after doing an internship at the all-white Johannesburg General Hospital where he was paid half the salary of everyone else.

Fighting cancer, making money

Soon-Shiong became well-known during the 1980s for transplanting pancreas cells to treat diabetes. He invented the world’s first protein nanoparticle delivery technology to treat breast cancer, doubling the response rate in patients. He founded two drug companies, Abraxis and American Pharmaceutical Partners, which he sold for R112-billion. He holds 50 US patents, including that of block buster pancreatic cancer drug Abraxane.

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How BrownSense Founder Built One Of SA's Fastest Growing Networks For Black Entrepreneurs

"I'm not asking for someone to let me win, I'm just asking for someone to let me in and give me a fair chance for people to decide who goes and who stays," says Mzuzukile Soni who is the founder of one of South Africa's largest networking communities for black entrepreneurs - BrownSense. Some may be familiar with the name through their monthly buy-black markets held in Cape Town and Johannesburg, however this is only the tip of the iceberg.  What started out as a Facebook group a year ago is today a network of over 100,000 black entrepreneurs and business owners. 

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Talking business with Pick n Pay chairman Gareth Ackerman

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“Our philosophy is that rich people love low prices, poor people need low prices and so the whole business philosophy was built around that. So, to get your prices low, you’ve got to have your cost low, you’ve got to be very efficient as a company.” Ackerman began working at his father’s shop as a young boy and his work ethic grew from there: “I spent every Friday night, because we used to have late-night shopping, working in the supermarket from the age of 10. You can’t do it today with all the child labour laws, but I packed tills, packed the shelves, swept the floor and eventually became a cashier. There virtually was no job in Pick n Pay that I haven’t done. I’ve run stores, I’ve been a buyer, I’ve run the company,” he explains.

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