CA Success Stories

CA Success Stories: Zizipho Nyanga

Confident and capable, Zizipho Nyanga, the CEO of  Old Mutual’s Masisizane Fund, has been working hard to change the face of entrepreneurship and make a real difference in the lives of ordinary South Africans

The old proverb, “Failure is the stepping stone to success”, is apt when it comes to uncovering what drives Nyanga. Ironically, a failed stint as an entrepreneur is one of the reasons she’s so good at her job and committed to helping small businesses.

She left a promising and stable career to follow her entrepreneurial  passions and even though it didn’t work out, it was a valuable learning curve.

“ I’ve never been a typical CA. I’m not just a number-cruncher. I’ve also been interested in creating, rather than consuming and I wanted to  create a legacy. I started my career at E&Y, spending almost four years there before moving on to Kagiso Media as a Financial Manager. It was then  that I  decided to branch out and try entrepreneurship.

“In August  2008 I  got involved with a start-up firm, Motlalepula  Investments, working in outdoor advertising and property deals. I did the financial due diligence, looking for funders, pitching to private investors and I was happy. I’d found my niche in the development finance space.”

However, given the impending financial downturn, the budget cuts in advertising spend and the inability to access funds from its property deals,  the company ran out of money by the end of 2009.

“I tried to stick it out. I even went without a salary for two months. It was incredibly difficult  trying to pay the bills. But I never regretted my decision. I was young and prepared to take the fall, but I couldn’t put my family at risk any longer. Still, it was a valuable experience and I appreciate the understanding and perspectives it gave me in my current role.”