Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Allon Raiz has a vision to help small businesses become profitable enterprises. To achieve this goal he started Raizcorp, which supports entrepreneurs and develops enterprises by providing them with infrastructure, personnel, business and personal development training, a mentor, an executive coach, a marketing specialist, a sales specialist and a chartered accountant.

"I am involved with various aspects of the business on a strategic level as well as with the development of the mentorship and training programmes. I stay in close contact with the entrepreneurs.

"I started by turning around one business and things grew from there. I funded the business through credit cards and an overdraft facility. I received no official funding at all," he said.

Raizcorp takes a minority equity stake in the companies with which it partners. It charges a profit share. This ensures that Raizcorp is totally aligned to the objectives of the entrepreneur, which is to make a profit. The model is unique not only in South Africa but also in the world.

"Officially the organisation started in 2002 and we have churned out more than 250 entrepreneurs. Our current staff is of 25 people," he said.

Raiz has a BCom (Honours) Degree in Marketing from the University of Natal. He is also studying for a Doctorate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

"To be in this profession one needs to find an area of interest. Qualify yourself academically in business, communications and finance if possible. Then start driving your dream," he said.

Entrepreneurship plays a big role in the economy of the developing countries. But this can be a tough business, sometimes.

"We face challenges in this business. Working in the uncertain environment of entrepreneurs is incredibly challenging. Tactics need to be adjusted on a daily basis and courage is needed on a daily basis. You have to have the ability to stand up again and again as you get knocked down," he said.

Raiz was recently nominated as a Young Entrepreneur by the World Economic Forum.

"This has given me the platform required to meet the right people who can assist me to make my vision a reality. I have a vision of assisting in excess of 10000 businesses across Africa and South America. My goal is to reduce the failure rate of small businesses, thus increasing wealth and education levels respectively. In order to do this, I need to meet the right people who can assist me with my vision. Becoming a Young Global Leader gives me access to the types of people who can assist."

His workday is demanding. "I start at 7am, read through some e-mails. On the way to work I make calls. Normally have six to 10 meetings a day, lecture and then make calls on the way home. Eat dinner, spend time with my boys and from 9pm to midnight do some real work."

He is a member of South African Business and Technology Incubator Association.