Entrepreneur climbs Kilimanjaro to inspire business start-ups in South Africa
What does climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro have in common with SME’s (small and medium enterprises) in South Africa?
They are both an uphill battle! And a group of young SME business consultants from South Africa have decided that they are going to find out first hand.
The South African government has recognized that small to medium sized businesses play a crucial role in growing the economy, and as a result it has structured funding policies to enable easily accessible capital to encourage entrepreneurial spirit.
However, the challenges that face SME businesses are not only financial, they include business planning and strategy, a lack of skilled resources, market research and knowledge sharing; the list goes on; for which solutions are not as easily found.
What does this have to do with climbing the continent’s most famous, and highest peak? KK Diaz, CEO of Rekopane.biz in Johannesburg, South Africa believes that running a small business is not unlike climbing a mountain.
KK is a young South African business owner; his entrepreneurial drive emerged at aged nine when he sold candy in his local neighborhood, and it continues to serve him well now as he runs his business development consultancy.
His profession means that he has a unique insight into the challenges that his clients face, but with the right tools, KK knows that SMEs can succeed and flourish in South Africa’s developing economy.
And to prove it, he is going to use the strategic skills and tools from his ‘day job’ to plan and execute a climbing expedition of Kilimanjaro in early summer 2013 as a metaphor for the hurdles that face hopeful and enthusiastic entrepreneurs in South Africa today.
What is the catch? KK Diaz is not a hiker or mountaineer, nor does he have outdoor experience. Yes, you read that correctly! KK is going to put his hiking boots where his mouth is and apply the same diligent planning, execution and commitment that is required for running a successful business to approach the climb, foothold by foothold.
In a country which has had a complicated past, it can sometimes take someone taking on something extraordinary to inspire their peers into believing in themselves. KK is telling the story of his journey by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and filming his expedition.
The documentary will include some of South Africa’s thought leaders in business, as well as mountaineering experts who will serve as commentators on his journey. Through partnering with local media, using social media and beating the PR drum, KK hopes that his story will inspire the youth in South African, where unemployment is near 70%, to dream big and inspire entrepreneurial participation in an economic landscape which can be just as challenging and overwhelming as ascending a mountain. Their goal? To prove that nothing is insurmountable.