After a journey marked by business smarts and the wisdom of knowing when to call it quits and when to persevere, Amanda Dambuza shares some of her entrepreneurial lessons.
Founder and CEO of specialised project management, risk and liquidity management, business analytics and organisational effectiveness company Uyandiswa, Amanda Dambuza is testament to the rewards a determined attitude can reap in business.
Recognised for her business aptitude as the 2017 Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss Award-winner, Dambuza has since advanced her personal and business brands.
In an interview with Elle on her interests in investing in other IT companies and leadership development, Dambuza said: “I took a keen interest in IT and, over the years, worked my way up to a CIO role at Absa. My business was then built with technology being a main focus. The innovation in this space is mind-blowing.”
Since receiving the award, Dambuza has seen both her personal and business brands accelerate. “It’s been quite a ride! Where I’ve actually experienced the most growth is in my own personal capacity. From the projects I get invited to and the many offers to get involved in other people’s businesses, corporate job offers, and even being asked to sit on the boards of listed companies, my own personal profile has just been enhanced and taken to another level.”
On the business front, Dambuza shares that they’ve recently been approached by an international company with a global footprint that plays in the IT space, with plans to partner with the company to pursue opportunities in the financial services market and across the board.
Its been a long journey however. Having launched nine businesses with four now operating, Dambuza’s business philosophy is rooted in her own personal values of understanding that not everything will go the way you wish. “The more you spend energy on something you have lost, the more you’re taking up energy you should be using on the next thing you want to accomplish. So it’s also about having the ability to quickly move on from a disappointment.”
One such experience was when Dambuza invested in a franchise in Cape Town years ago, which soon failed, going down with an investment of close to R1 million. “For me, having had so many businesses over the years, you take the lessons, you get bashed and fall down, but you get up, dust yourself off and keep moving. Challenges are there to be conquered, but if you dwell in a negative spot, you’ll find yourself in a rut and no longer enjoying what you’re doing because you can’t see that you’re making headway.” The same goes with success, as she explains that its important to not dwell on successes, but rather treat them as benchmarks for your next move.
On whether she believes entrepreneurs are born or made, she speaks on having once thought it was an inherent skill. “With having children and more exposure in the business world, I realised that it can also be learnt. There’s lessons that I teach my children to make entrepreneurship a reality for them. So they see me and they see their dad running businesses and so, the reality we give our children and what we expose them to might actually trigger an interest in this kind of life instead of a corporate job.
“So I think that yes, there are people that were born to not follow the rules and continuously go out there and take risks, but I think for some people it comes naturally, rather than saying they were born with it, while for others it has to be learnt and over time, they become really seasoned business people because of the realities they’ve been exposed to,” she added.