Alumnus Seraj Toefy to drive entrepreneurship at USB
A fitting description for Seraj Toefy of Cape Town is ‘Serial Entrepreneur’. Having started Bespoke Media, a content marketing company in 2012, he has since started a few more. Ukondla Consulting started in 2017, is a corporate training business, CLIC Tech launched in 2018 and is a new content sharing platform and Krest Sign launched in 2020, an outdoor signage business. Toefy also consults to a London-based consultancy, Centuro Global, that assist businesses scale into different countries and regions.
In 2015, Toefy started lecturing Entrepreneurship on the Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and Administration (PGDip BMA) at the USB and added a short guest lecture session on the MBA within the Strategy module.
Fast-forward to 2020 and he is now known as the Custodian of Entrepreneurship at USB. Asked what this entails, he says: “In a nutshell, my mandate at the USB is to raise the awareness of entrepreneurship with the USB community, strengthen relationships with our external stakeholders and most importantly, offer support and encouragement to students and alumni who want to start their own business.
“When it comes to fitting all of what I do into my day, I tap into the lessons learnt while completing my USB MBA via the modular cohort. As a student, we create time to study at night, over weekends, we work efficiently and rely on our classmates to work as a team on projects. I’ve just kept working at that rate and have partnered with key people in each business to ensure efficient and constructive business delivery,” he says.
Some of the highlights that Toefy is working on include:
- Founder’s Forum: a series of webinars and (for now) digital networking events that features business founders. The first event looked at Your First 90 Days, and in August Founder’s Forum featured a panel of powerful female founders where they discussed Entrepreneurship: It’s a woman’s world.
- SU LaunchLab Collaboration: The USB has been working closely with SU LaunchLab on several things. In September, USB will co-host a webinar with SU LaunchLab where we interview serial Silicon Valley investor, entrepreneur and author, Steve Blank. USB also have a fellowship programme with SU LaunchLab where we have current students and alumni working closely with the start-ups in the SU LaunchLab incubators.
- Lion’s Den: 2020 will be the third year of running the Lion’s Den competition. It is open to all USB students and alumni who either run their own company or who have an idea for a new business. Last year the entrants went up against each other for their share of over R750 000 worth of prizes and all finalists had an opportunity to pitch to a panel of investors. Due to the ever shifting COVID-19 goal posts, a date for the final event has not yet been set, but entries will open in the last week of September 2020.
- Small business consultancy: The journey from ideation of a product or service, to going to market can be a long, lonely, and daunting one. Now the USB offers students and alumni who wish to start a new business the opportunity to consult with Toefy and SU LaunchLab on their business. Get in touch with him to book your first session.
- Business Showcase: USB will be running a business showcase where students and alumni who own and run their own business will be able to exhibit their products and services. We are a strong alumni community, and we have many great companies among us, now is the time to support each other. A date of the event is dependent on lifting of lockdown restrictions.
“USB is world renowned for our leadership development and research, but we hope that in years to come, we will be recognised as an entrepreneurially minded business school that develops sustainable business founders,” says Toefy.