LBS students team up with South Africa’s micro-entrepreneurs

The GBE gave students a first-hand experience of the business lives of micro-entrepreneurs in the important emerging market of South Africa. Through working with micro-entrepreneurs, engaging with guest-speakers and meeting with the leadership of a broad range of organisations, students gained an insight into an economy in the process of transformation.

This year, students worked with business owners from various sectors in Alexandra. To date, LBS has worked with over 50 of Alexandra’s micro-entrepreneurs, helping them to identify ways of overcoming the challenges their businesses face. The students work in small teams with local ‘Navigators’ – individuals who work with the student groups as guides, interpreters and project team members - and the micro-entrepreneurs, developing recommendations to grow their businesses, as well as ways to implement and measure success.

During the visit, Amelia Whitelaw, Director Global Experiences, along with Rajesh Chandy, Professor of Marketing and Elias Papaioannou, Associate Professor of Economics, had the chance to catch up with previous clients on their progress. They also received positive feedback from the Navigators about how their ongoing involvement in the GBE had benefitted them personally, through the relationships they have developed with their former LBS student groups and the connections they have made in the business community.

The MBA2015s also heard from guest speakers such as Xolani Gwala, 702 Broadcast Journalist, Mr Herman Mashaba, Executive Chairman at Lephatsi Investments Ltd, and Professor Nick Binedell, Dean GIBS. They also met with the leaders of a range of organisations that showcase South Africa’s ambitious entrepreneurial eco-system – including the Awethu Project, African Leadership Academy and Raizcorp.

In six months’ time, London Business School will follow up with the clients to find out how effective the students’ business recommendations have been.

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