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Meet Jamie Thurston Wyngaard, South African Entrepreneur Helping Small Businesses Succeed

South African entrepreneur, Jamie Thurston Wyngaard is helping to alleviate poverty by mentoring young people with small businesses and developing an entrepreneurial mindset within them.

30-years-old Cape Town born Wyngaard is an alumnus of the University of Western Cape (UWC); he is the managing director of his own oncept development consultancy, called The Agency.

He has received several awards for entrepreneurship and social responsibility and was given the honour of Student Achiever of the Year in 2011 by the UWC, where he studied biotechnology.

Wyngaard is a mentor for Teen Entrepreneur, a non-profit organisations which aims to cultivate and promote an entrepreneurial spirit among high school learners across South Africa.

He also has his own television show, Being The Business, which airs on Cape Town TV with the aim of helping entrepreneurs improve their business. Wyngaard says he created the show to create a platform for success-driven business people to apply for free support.

“We are the solution-seeking forum that openly discusses the unglamorous behind the scenes drama and complications in the life of established business owners,” he says.

But his journey to where he is, was not all smooth sailing.

In a recent interview with the University of the Western Cape, Wyngaard said growing up in the Cape Flats, one of the most violent and dangerous places in South Africa, was not easy. After his father, the family’s sole breadwinner, died when Wyngaard was was still in high school, its financial situation changed for the worse.

“My mom was a housewife, and losing our comforts taught me to start being creative and forced me to find ways to secure the lifestyle we were used to,” he said.

It was while studying that Wyngaard started his own business and had to juggle studies with making money, the latter having become very necessary because no one else was one employed in the household.

The hills and valleys he encountered along the way did not stop him from raking in numerous awards for entrepreneurship and social responsibility.

He also discovered that he had lied to himself in thinking he could set aside his studies for a bit, make money and then go back to finish his degree, something he never did in the end.

“I’ve learned you don’t necessarily study science to become a scientist. You study science to learn how to think like a scientist and apply that in everyday situations to creatively solve problems,” Wyngaard told the UWC.

“Solving problems is what creativity is to me. My creative journey has been about facing and solving problems, then turning those solutions into a businesses.”

Wyngaard says 75% of businesses don’t make it past the first five years because most entrepreneurs are not aware that being your own boss is a harder life than they realised.

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