Mashudu Madau (27) runs a digital content development company and has been an entrepreneur for about seven years. His website, Mash Starts Up, is one of the digital platforms that the company built – not so much for the money, but to enable, encourage and empower young South African entrepreneurs.
“The inspiration for this stemmed from having gone through all the incubators, the workspaces and development institutions in Johannesburg for entrepreneurs, and realising how difficult they were to navigate,” Madau explains. “It also came from experiencing the bureaucracy, exploitation and games that so many young entrepreneurs are not prepared for.”
He says he was lucky to have had mentors to steer him in the right direction when he began his entrepreneurial journey. The platform he’s now created offers that type of mentorship on a larger scale.
The website features three different categories: a journal category, a podcast category and a video category. Madau explains each one.
“The journal section has everything from the best workspaces and incubators to YouTube videos we think are really important for entrepreneurs to see and learn from,” he says.
“The podcast section is a collection of my experiences as a failing entrepreneur. I was going through a really hard time and I wanted to document the things that were going through my mind and what was going on around me.”
Many entrepreneurs speak only about their journey at the end of it, when they are successful, and are a picture of perfection
He says the video section contains interviews he’d done for a series called Each One Teach One in which 17 entrepreneurs share the biggest lessons they’d learnt about entrepreneurship that they believe up-and-coming entrepreneurs need to know.
“A lot of young people don’t understand what’s out there for them to use in terms of development. If we map out what the development landscape for entrepreneurs in South Africa looks like, more will be able to navigate and build their businesses in an efficient manner,” Madau says.
A real picture of entrepreneurship
Madau feels there are a lot of Cinderella stories about entrepreneurship, and believes the conversations about it are often filtered and fail to address the challenges faced.
“Many entrepreneurs speak only about their journey at the end of it, when they are successful, and are a picture of perfection. We don’t get to see what came before that, and that’s what we want to do with this platform,” Madau says.
“We want to remove the filter and be honest about what this really is: how much sacrifice it takes, how much hard work it takes, how much it’s going to hurt, how much it’s going to break you – but at the end of all of that, it’s still worth it because you’re pursuing something that really matters to you and you’re trying to solve a problem in the world.”
Right now, Mash Starts Up is focused on digital content, but Madau believes it could get to a point where it could become a start-up that can offer real, relevant products and services for other start-ups.
“This would be about helping young people start businesses in a more efficient way by connecting them to those who can offer services that really matter at the beginning, and then [work with them] through their growth,” he explains.
Source: Destiny Man