South Africa Summer 2015 Blog

University of the Witwatersrand
June 24, 2015 to July 12, 2015

Cash Flow is King!!

Anita Kibunguchy

July 8, 2015

This year’s MIT GSL program is flying by. We have less than a week left before Demo Day and all the students are working tirelessly to develop their applications and get business plans and pitches ready for D-Day. Last week, we had the pleasure of having an MIT alum Andries Botha, Managing Director of Dynamic Strategies come and speak to the students about financials and the South African environment. I have to say that a lot of what he said stuck in my brain ‘faith, love, hope and cash flow’. This was some of the most prominent advice he gave our young entrepreneurs. He reminded students to pay close attention to their business cash flow. They’d need to understand billing, invoicing and payments. You see, for an entrepreneur, running out of money is a big deal.

It was also fascinating to learn that Mr. Botha only took on challenging problems during his consulting days. Not only that, he applied systems dynamics thinking which incorporates unintended consequences of implementing change – this made his advice to companies more sound. In addition, this made his firm quite valuable and allowed him to sometimes deliver unpopular news to clients. It was also refreshing to note that the System’s Dynamics class I took during my MBA course work at MIT was actually not in vain. Many times we wonder whether everything we learn can be applied in the real world, and this was one great example of someone who was using it and was absolutely excited about the discipline.

Mr. Andries Botha Speaking to GSL Students

Towards the end of his lecture, Mr. Botha decided to have our students pitch on the spot. Mr. Botha’s philosophy is that “entrepreneurs need to be selling themselves and their ideas at the drop of the hat. The person next to you on the airplane might be the angel or client you are looking for.”

Students Listening!


All in all, a great lecture with lots of learning. Mr. Botha couldn’t have done a better job reinforcing all the learnings we had impacted on the students thus far! It also made the students start thinking about financials for their businesses and realize that the ability to monetize their ideas was just as important as the idea and the problem they were trying to solve.

A day at the OPEN

Oluwasoga Oni

July 5, 2015

After nine days of entrepreneurship classes and our founders working intensely on their startup, we had a field day at the OPEN in Maboneng. Maboneng is arguably the hippest neighborhood in Joburg and the MainChange building that houses the OPEN is the epicenter of all that is Maboneng. The OPEN is a creative co-working space where entrepreneurs can work and potentially interact with each other.


We arrived at 10:15 AM and was warmly welcomed by the Thabiso, the community director at the OPEN. We were then promptly caffeinated and wow! They have some amazing coffee there. Once everyone was set, Thabiso introduced us to Mark, the Director at the OPEN. Mark explained its history, its philosophy, mission, and vision. The Open provides a platform that helps creatives, entrepreneurs, and freelancers make things happen. After the primer by Mark, Thabisho introduced entrepreneurs who worked at the Open. They explained what they were doing and how being part of the Open community was helping them to achieve their goals. 


Thabiso then took us on a tour of the Open. It was a very well designed space. The first thing that strikes me here is the modern contemporary design and the amount of natural light in the building. I’d personally love to work here if I live around here. Mark joined the group again and took us on a tour of the Maboneng neighborhood. According to Mark, the neighborhood used to be considered a bad part of the town but in the last few years, it has been transformed into the creative hub of the city. The arrival of the freelancers, entrepreneurs, and other creative misfits played a huge role in this. The neighborhood is still a work in progress but then, it is only a matter of time before all of it is rejuvenated.


We concluded the tour with a dinner at one of the cool restaurants in the area. It was finally time to relax and take in all the interesting things we have seen during the day. It was also a great time for some cultural exchange between the tutors and the founders. All in all, we all had an amazing day and looking forward to the rest of the program.

Stars realign and the world is brighter!

Anita Kibunguchy

June 22, 2015

It's been a whirl wind week for everyone (intructors and students alike). Bolaji, Emily, Soga and I were all travelling from different parts of the globe, super excited for June 24th and the first day of GSL South Africa 2015. With all that excitement, came unanticipated travel issues. You see, I was travelling from San Fransisco to Johannesburg via New York and when I got to New York, I ended up running into Visa trouble which meant I could not fly out of JFK and, therefore, had to miss my June 21st flight. Talk about anxiety, frustration and being caught off-guard. My GSL excitement literally got cut in a matter of hours. I had to strategize - it's like when they say, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade (definitely better than eating the raw lemons, lol).

Long story short, I spent the day gathering all the required Visa paperwork and showed up at the South Africa Consulate first thing this morning. I must have had the saddest looking puppy eyes ever ... let's just say that my excitement is back on. I am soo excited to meet all the students and everyone else that's part of GSL. As they say, things happen for a reason. Can you imagine if I had connected my flight through Europe or somewhere else not in the US? What if the connecting city didn't have a South African consulate? Not good!

So I wanted to say a huge thank you to my fellow #Earthlings (instructors) for being a huge support during this time. They've been running everything thus far to make sure that Day 1 is as best as it could be. Even though I'll miss the morning sessions of class, I'll definitely be joining in sometime in the afternoon. I'd also like to thank Barry Myburgh and his entire team for being on top on things and making us feel so welcome. It's been a pleasure working with you all thus far and looking forward to the next 20 days. Finally, the MISTI team for working so tirelessly to make South Africa GSL happen.

Am currently writing this blog close to Times Square New York (not a bad place at allto be) and I can't help but wonder how lucky I am. It's a good day and I cannot wait to board my flight tomorrow and see Johannesburg :)