Jack Mthembu believes that entrepreneurship should be a way of life, and not a fall-back plan for when you are down on your luck.
During his second year of study, Jack joined the NWU Enactus movement. Here he is with Zinhle Maseko at the Enactus World Cup 2015.
In a recent media interview with the online publication Safrica24.com, Jack said that his inclusion in the list motivates him on his entrepreneurial journey to become an African billionaire one day.
Jack jumps out of the box onto top under-30 list
Thirty days, 144 hours and one pay check. This is how long Jack Mthembu, a qualified chartered accountant, spent behind a desk in a formal employment setting.
Today, this alumnus of the campus in Vanderbijlpark proudly features on the influential Forbes Africa business magazine’s annual “30 Under 30” young entrepreneurs listing, and has an impressive run as a social change entrepreneur.
Asked why he turned his back on a lucrative corporate career, Jack says he was scared of being consumed by the corporate sector. “Don’t get me wrong, I had a very nice job at a great company, but my dreams kept me awake at night.” He just knew he had to make the jump to full-time entrepreneurship as soon as possible.
His first exposure to entrepreneurship
In his second year of study, Jack joined the NWU Enactus movement. As a result he became a familiar face at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences’ bhive Enterprise Development Centre which represents a hub of entrepreneurial activity.
During this time, Jack also stepped up as the chairperson of Enactus Vaal. The latter represents an international non-profit organisation that brings together students, academia and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living of communities around the globe.
“This is truly where it all started for me,” says Jack, explaining that the idea of an adventure camp was born in 2014. Little did he know that this idea would ultimately change the course of his life.
“It never ceases to amaze me how much time people waste searching endlessly for magic shortcuts to entrepreneurial success, when the only real path is staring them right in the face: start with what you feel passionate about! If your idea doesn’t excite and scare you all at once, you are not there yet.”
Jack admits that even after graduating with a BCom CA degree in 2015 and stepping straight into the world of work, he could never shake the idea that he was destined for something else. His true calling is as a social change entrepreneur who uses adventure camps to teach high school learners the value of entrepreneurship.
First One Adventures
Jack’s venture, First One Adventures, offers learners a two-phase approach to entrepreneurship. The first is a week-long start-up adventure camp and the second a 12-month training camp called The Entrepreneurship Club (TEC).
The company’s headquarters are in Johannesburg. “We outsource camps in areas such as the Magaliesburg and Bela-Bela in Limpopo,” says Jack, who is originally from Phalaborwa in Limpopo. The primary focus is to motivate learners to find opportunities within their immediate environment where they can make an impact.
“Just imagine a world where graduates – regardless of their fields of study – choose to enhance the economy by becoming job creators and not mere employees. A world where, for example, accountants open shop to help a local community with their taxes or a medical doctor opens her own clinic in a township.”
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Jack’s venture, First One Adventures, includes a week-long start-up adventure camp. Here are some of the exciting adventure camp activities.
On 18 August 2018, Taahirah Zungu and Lwazi Jakuja were crowned Miss and Mr NWU. Taahirah is a first-year sports science student on the campus in Mahikeng and Lwazi is a third-year student in the BCom Economics and Risk Management Extended Programme on the campus in Vanderbijlpark.
Chuwayza Kotze was crowned first princess and Ruandro Minaar first prince. They are both from the campus in Potchefstroom.