Nelisiwe Masanga: “Irrespective of your circumstance and the many mountains that you need to climb, you can always achieve your goals if you’re dedicated enough.”
Nelisiwe Masango is a sensation in South Africa. Only 25 years old, she is the youngest serial entrepreneur in her country. Her passion for business has lead to the founding of already three companies – and counting: Bear Run Investments, FeFine and ND Group. Club Africa asked Miss Masango to introduce herself and learned that her first business deal was to charge a rental fee for kids to sit next to her in class – with benefits like ‘help with classwork’.
Nelisiwe Masango’s business ventures all focus on finance. In Johannesburg, she started Bear Run Investments to help people gain financial freedom through training programs, seminars and online courses. FeFine is an organization which stands for Females with Finance, addressing business and finances in relation to women.ND Group is a company that specializes in residential recruitment and placements of: au pairs, child minders, nannies, babysitters, housekeepers, butlers and domestic workers.
How did your parents raise you? Did they offer you lessons that later helped you to become an entrepreneur?
“I was fortunate enough to have a great upbringing in an environment that encouraged me to succeed in everything that I do. Academics were always first preference as I was always in the top 10 if not number 1 in the grade. I was an all-rounder, participating in cultural activities and some sports. I wasn’t the best athlete but I always managed to stay on the A/first team. I did incredibly well in dramatic arts as it went together with my flamboyant personality. Above all else, people were my passion. When you’re popular in school and get along with everyone you start to become empathic and can relate very easily to the next person. This quality has been one of my strengths in business today. Growing up I was taught at a very young age to work hard for everything that I want and never make excuses for underachieving. Hard work, perseverance and staying level headed have been the secret to my success from the get go and I continue to carry these life lessons to this day.”
As a child, what was your first business deal?
“In the sixth grade I remember making my fellow class mates pay a rental fee for sitting next to me. Being a top academic achiever and one of the teachers favourites, I saw it as an opportunity to help the person next to me with their class work for a few South African Rands which would see me purchase some treats in the afternoon. The rental fee didn’t last too long so I decided to rewrite lyrics of the most popular songs, at that time, and sell them for R10 a page. Not many people had internet access back then so it was pretty successful for a few months.”
Rumour has it that the movie 'Pursuit of Happyness' inspired you. What message in the movie do you find appealing?
“Watching the “Pursuit of Happyness” introduced me to the world of financial markets, specifically the stock market. I found the movie to be quite educational as I learnt a whole new concept and terminology but the movie had a far deeper message to it: do not give up on your goals. Irrespective of your circumstance and the many mountains that you need to climb, you can always achieve your goals if you’re dedicated enough. The fact that the movie is based on the true-life story of Chris Gardner, makes it even better. It’s definitely a must see, whether you’re keen on the markets or not.”
In what industry do you see potential for new business ventures?
“I’d definitely like to grow all three companies first before venturing into something else but this year I’d like to tap into the property market as well as the beauty industry. Bear Run Investments is already in the financial sector so branching out into property is definitely a goal. FeFine is strictly for women and being a young woman that loves looking good and getting pampered, we’re actually working on developing a beauty spa for ladies.”
How is your approach of 'how to invest new found wealth and make it grow' different or new?
“I may not be the one that did it first but I’m definitely the one that did it the best. We don’t just “sell wealth” but we provide cutting edge technologies and state of the art training programs that provide our clients with the information and skills that they would require to attain financial freedom. At Bear Run Investments, we inspire, motivate and promote financial independence, after all, education is key and being financially literate is the best place to start.”
Speaking of 'Happiness': are there specific aspects of doing business that you have particularly like?
“I’d definitely say that building a strong and solid brand is highly imperative. 2016 saw us partnering with some of the most reputable companies and media platforms in Africa. We worked with Santam Insurance on a 6 month campaign and were featured on: CNBC Africa, Metro FM, eNCA, SABC 1, Cliff Central, Power FM and SA FM to name a few. I find great pleasure in meeting new people at the seminars that we host. There’s so much knowledge to gain by interacting with people from all walks of life and the best part of my job is meeting new people and positively impacting their lives.”
Photo credits: Bear Run Investments