MANY entrepreneurs across the globe face funding challenges as they do not have collateral security required by financial institutions. To address this challenge, one young woman, Andile Mpala (AM) (pictured) in 2017 founded a platform called Entrener, a global innovative business social networking site. The site links startup entrepreneurs (investees) with funders (investors). Its main aim is to close the gap between investors and investees, and producers and consumers globally. Southern Eye (SE) business reporter, Mthandazo Nyoni caught up with Mpala to talk about her project.
SE: Who is Andile Mpala?
AM: Andile is a 24-year-old lady currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies with Zimbabwe Open University, host and executive producer of The Talk with Andile, a talk show, which was airing on ZBC in 2016.
She is the managing director of Mpala Media, a media company in Bulawayo, that does marketing and television production, famously known for its pentagon shaped billboard at Bulawayo Centre.
It is the same company that produced The Talk with Andile.
SE: I understand that in 2017 you founded Entrener, a global innovative business social networking site. How did you venture into it?
AM: I came up with the idea of Entrener in 2017. Just after finishing the talk show project, I had seen that a lot of young people have brilliant business plans, but they do not have funding.
It’s hard, because they cannot be given loans as they have no collateral.
I then began doing my research. I found out that there are a lot of people out there as well who want to invest, but do not know where to put their investments. After a year of research Entrener was born.
SE: Can you tell us more about this project?
AM: There are three types of accounts on Entrener namely; investor, investee and social.
Entrepreneurs seeking funding go through business consultancy and legal advice through our team of business and financial experts and corporate lawyers, who check the feasibility of their business plans and take them through basic legal frameworks of managing a business. Only then, they will be introduced to a minimum of investors. These consultations occur on the site.
Entrener is mainly focusing on private sector. We want to boost entrepreneurs, who might have failed to get funding.
Entrener also allows business owners to enlist their businesses on its global service directory. To use this site one needs to register. All instructions are on the site.
SE: When you have introduced the two to each other, investees and investors, what happens after? Do you also get involved in the whole investment plan?
AM: No, our job is to coach the investee. Then what happens thereafter, we are not part of it at all.
SE: As an upcoming entrepreneur and young lady, what challenges did you encounter when you started this business?
AM: The first challenge is that I am a young woman in business and I have to deliver more than expected to prove and show the world that women can do it too.
SE: What is your vision about this business?
AM: I see Entrener as a global brand. Right now we already have people in the Diaspora, who want to invest in Zimbabwe, and we have locals, who want to invest in other countries.
SE: In 2016 you launched The Talk with Andile, how has the project been performing?
AM: The Talk with Andile performed quite well.
It was a learning curve for us and the response was quite good. Next year we are throwing out another season.
We are rebranding The Talk with Andile to AndileM Show, which will be talking about business related issues only.
I find it proper now to specialise in one thing, which is business as I am more focused on entrepreneurship.
SE: Who inspires you?
AM: Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey.
These ladies are not only beautiful and phenomenal talk show hosts, but they are business minded.
Despite all the negativity that comes their way, for instance you know how media can demean, but that doesn’t take away their generosity.
They connect with their audience and are excelling in their businesses.
SE: What advice would you give to women desiring to venture into business?
AM: We all fall but after falling, get up and dust yourself and try again.