Teaching and Tapping Into Potential

Matoyana Founder and CEO Nokwazi Mzobe is a woman of many talents. As well as being a Business Consultant and respected Thought Leader, Nokwazi teaches part-time at the GIBS Enterprise Development Academy. We chatted to her to find out more about her teaching journey and why she does it.

Hi Nokwazi, how did you become involved with the GIBS Enterprise Development Academy?

I volunteered as a mentor on a Women’s Entrepreneurship Empowerment Programme they were running in 2013. Some of the entrepreneurs gave me great reviews which resulted in my being asked to run some workshops on the programme.

What age are the students?

It’s a wide age gap as it depends on what type of programme. The average age is in the mid-thirties, but I’ve taught students in their early 20’s to students over the age of 70. Since the students are mainly business owners (or aspiring business owners), I’ve worked with pre-start-ups (people at an ideation phase) to businesses which are over 10 years old. Some have never even attempted to run a business while others have multiple businesses.

That’s a vast spectrum of people. Part of what you teach is Business Modelling which sounds interesting, what is it?

It’s a systemic way of mapping out your business to ensure that it creates and delivers value to its identified customer base. In simple terms, business modelling is about how your business makes money. When I teach the basics I share a bit of theory and use practical tools like the Business Model Canvas, as well as using case studies of actual businesses.

Do the students share their experiences?

Yes, they do. The sharing of experiences is what makes the teaching entrepreneurs unique because they have real examples to share. So when someone shares what they’ve gone through or done in their business, they normally do so in a manner that others in the class resonate with. This helps improve the learning experience for the whole class.

What have you learned from your students?

So much. I sometimes walk away feeling like I’ve learnt more than I have shared and taught in class. My biggest lesson has been about the person. Running a successful business is less about your background, education level or gender. I’ve found it is more about a type of person – someone with the right attitude; a strong vision; someone willing to sacrifice their comfort; who is open to learning from anyone; open to meeting people; a risk taker; someone who views failure as part of the journey of doing business.

What’s most challenging about teaching? 

The classroom environment, as it is largely influenced by the group of students you have. Most of the time I get an enthusiastic and engaged group but there are times when the group’s energy is very subdued and so you (the teacher / facilitator) have to put in a whole lot more effort in getting students to engage and participate.

What do you love about being an educator? 

  • Firstly, helping people tap into their potential, and;
  • Getting feedback from my current and ex-students of how something I shared or taught in class made them think differently about their business or change something which has had a positive impact.
  • Meeting so many different individuals and personalities.
  • I constantly have to learn and up my game.
  • The growth from both a personal and career perspective.

Many thanks Nokwazi, lots of inspiring food for thought.  

Matoyana Business Solutions is a boutique business consulting company located in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is targeted at start-ups, small and medium enterprises across Africa. Contact: Nokwazi Mzobe:  Nokwazi@Matoyana.co.za Facebook Twitter LinkedIn


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