The fear of failing in business in SA’s undoing

My column in this week’s Business Day:

When I was in business school in the mid-2000s, the reality television show Dragon’s Den was very popular amongst my peers. This was pre-financial crisis England where few would dare show up at a cocktail party without a well-honed elevator pitch.  In the show, entrepreneurs present a pitch of their business idea to a panel of investors, known as dragons, hoping to convince them to inject equity. Some walk away empty-handed; others set off a bidding war amongst the dragons for a stake in their businesses.

Last week I was pleased to meet the man who was considered the ‘nice’ dragon, James Caan. A British, self-made charmer; the entrepreneur  has something of the US spirit about him. At the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship, in the heart of Braamfontein, a line-up of the centre’s entrepreneurs presented their new businesses to him, Dragon’s Den style. 

The Branson Centre, a den of creativity and tenacity is a universe apart from the weary discourse of government and big business. 

For the rest of the column, go here.

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