I caught up with Nkululeko Msomi for an interview. Nkululeko is a
final year National Diploma Chemical Engineering student at the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT)in South Africa.He is the founder of a water purification business. It also educates and encourages people to purify their own water at an affordable cost.
Coach Mallvine: What made you decide to venture into entrepreneurship?
Nkululeko Msomi: I don’t think I ventured into entrepreneurship knowing what it was all about in the beginning. I enjoyed staring businesses and solving problems with those businesses and if I could make some money off that then I went for it. I later learned that that process was called entrepreneurship.
I don’t think I ventured into entrepreneurship knowing what it was all about in the beginning. I enjoyed staring businesses and solving problems with those businesses and if I could make some money off that then I went for it. I later learned that that process was called entrepreneurship.
Throughout my schooling career I founded many small businesses that worked on the concept of buy at a low price and sell at a higher price.
Essentially I went out to solve the problem of drinking clean water without the plastic waste and giving my customers the ability to purify their own water in the comfort of their own space.
Coach Mallvine: What are the challenges that you face and how did you address them?
Nkululeko Msomi: I faced two main challenges which were finances and the possibility of failure.
To solve the first challenge of finances I had the privilege to have received a bursary at the Mangosuthu University of Technology while studying Chemical Engineering. The bursary allowed for an allowance monthly which I saved and used as start up capital. I also had asked some of my close friends who believed in Ki-Agua’s vision to invest as well.
With the failure, I had plenty of doubt of the business of and what I was doing in the beginning. I asked myself many questions such as who would want to clean their water with a charcoal stick? What If I fail? What would happen if know one buys the product?
I overcame the above by simply starting. I knew if anything I’ll have to make it work. Come high or low.
Coach Mallvine:What are the qualities of an entrepreneurship?
I’m not qualified to share what the qualities would be. I can , however, share the qualities that I’ve learned on my journey:
- Being able to pick yourself up quickly
- Keeping a positive mindset
- Being able to look forward into the future. I mean with Ki-Agua I looked at how people would be consuming water. That influenced how and why Ki-Agua started
Coach Mallvine:What are you favorite books you have read on entrepreneurship?
- The Art of Hustling – Sell or Surrender by Dj Sbu
- Do. Fail. Learn. Repeat: The Truth Behind Building Businesses by Nicholas Haralambous
- The Young Entrepreneurs Guide to Starting and Running a Business
Coach Mallvine:What books do you recommend?
- The Alchemist
- Shoe Dog by Phili Knight
- Vuyo’s by Miles Kubheka
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Coach Mallvine: What advice do you give to young and other entrepreneurs?
Nkululeko Msomi: Start small. Read good books that teach about business and how people have made successes on their entrepreneurship journeys. Never stop learning something new each day.
Watch YouTubes on basics of building a business. Become a graduate of the University of YouTube.
Have fun and follow your passion. Understand that having fun doesn’t mean you won’t face challenges; it just means because its tied in with passion it will motivate you to keep going on this lonely path of entrepreneurship.
Coach Mallvine:What are some lessons that you have learnt?
Nkululeko Msomi: Business is hard work, so keep at it. Listen to the customer all the time, they provide a great source of feedback and when you focus on please the customer you are on the right track. Learn to listen and listen to learn.
Don’t try to do everything. Learn where your strengthens are and do the tasks that work with your strengths. That helps.
Keep going and keep learning.
Coach Mallvine: What does it mean for you to be born on freedom day?
To be honest it doesn’t mean a lot at the moment. I will say though that I’m a patriot to my country South Africa and my fellow country-men.
Nkululeko Msomi: My name, Nkululeko, translated from IsiZulu to English means Freedom. A name given by parents since I was born on Freedom Day.
Coach Mallvine:What has sustained you as an entrepreneur over the year?
Nkululeko Msomi: My support structures. That would be my family, friends and lecturers.
I feel because I’m working in a space that I’m passionate about has allowed me to keep going.
Support from people buying the Ki-Agua Activated Charcoal Water filters have also sustained me. The best support you can give an entrepreneur is buying their products, leaving a review and then sharing it on your socials to spread the word.
Coach Mallvine: How do you balance being businessman and student?
Nkululeko Msomi: Time management is a skill that has really played a vital role in my success both as student and businessman. Furthermore, priorities of my responsibilities have helped keep me in focus.