Msindazwe Ndhlovu is a 2018 Tony Elumelu entrepreneur from Botswana. In this interview, he talks to us about The Noble Savage, a company that recycles waste plastic and glass for the manufacturing of alternative eco-friendly building materials which are lighter, stronger, durable, and affordable, all while incorporating technology to bring affordable energy to Africa.
On Changes made so far since the start of The Noble Savage
After the programme, I was able to get significant understanding of the business. In 2019.despite certain challenges, including setting up in a foreign country, I moved the business from Zimbabwe to Botwana with the experience I gained from the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and mitigated the fall out of the Covid-19 lockdowns. We were still able to grow as a business even though finances were a bit tight over the last year.
What has been the most rewarding part of your running your own business?
If you want to run a business just to get money, I advise you to get a job because running a business is difficult but the reward comes in when you find that the challenge has been fixed. For me, the reward is being able to see the progress I have made and to see where I have gotten from the point I started. You can only see the rewards by looking backwards.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
There is one thing my dad says to me and have becomeone of my motivating factors:I am working to build what Im building not necessarily for you, but for your own children. Building a legacy means building a job/product;building for the next generation. At the end of the day, I ask myself: Was I able to solve the problems we are facing as Africans?
The second thing that drives me to wake up in the morning is the spirit of Ubuntu. It is the spirit of togetherness: I am because you are. I started my business, The Noble Savage, to solve the problem that our fellow men have on a daily basis.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
The first thing is: think. Thinkof your idea.Find that one thing that speaks to you, that you can feel in your marrow. When you get that, when the days get dark or times get hard, you can keep soldering on because of your belief in that idea.
The second is to Build a product/service that is solving a problem.
The third is to have the market for it.
You also need options that will keep you moving when the road gets dark. You also need to set your goals and determine how to execute them.
Who inspires you?
My dad, who always spoke a lot about intrapreneurship, and Tony Elumelu. One thing I have appreciated is his life story:how he started from the beginning to get to where he is today and the luck that he had. There is this saying that luck favours the prepared, and I love that he believed and prepared himself to get to where he is today. The third person is Elon Musk.
What are your future plans?
Our goal is to take operations throughout Africa to bring affordable housing and affordable energy across Africa in the next 10 -15 years.