Meet Tshepiso Malema, the visionary entrepreneur on a mission to close the technology gap for young people in townships, all through the enchantment of gaming. It all started when he first laid his hands on an Xbox at a friend’s place. “I was whisked away to different worlds. Gaming showed me that it can transport you to places across the globe, exposing you to more than you ever imagined,” he reminisces. And so, at the tender age of 16, Tshepiso founded Gamer’s Territory, a lively gaming hub in Ivory Park township where learning and fun effortlessly blend, bringing young minds together.
Malema’s vision for his business goes beyond making gaming accessible and fashionable in township communities. He sees gaming as a means of bringing young people together to learn and grow. To this end, Gamer’s Territory has launched its “4IR ko Kasi” program, which introduces budding gamers to the basics of technology through coding classes and virtual reality experiences. Moreover, the program leverages an educational computer game called “Sgela,” which teaches learners problem-solving skills while having fun.
But let’s be real, building and running a successful business can be challenging. Tshepiso knows firsthand the struggles he faced to get his business off the ground with limited funding and resources. “I had to get creative and use my social media following to spread the word about Gamer’s Territory,” he explains. Lucky for us, Tshepiso is sharing his top advice for kick-starting and growing a business, even when you’re dealing with limited resources.
- Embrace Failure: Failure is a natural part of entrepreneurship and it’s important to view it as a valuable learning opportunity rather than a setback. “Don’t be afraid to take risks and learn from your mistakes. Fail fast and fail forward” he adds.
- Network and Build Relationships: Building a strong network of contacts can be invaluable to your success as an entrepreneur. Attend industry events, join relevant professional organizations, and connect with mentors, peers, and potential customers. Building genuine relationships can open doors and create opportunities for collaboration and growth.
- Be Persistent and Resilient: Entrepreneurship can be challenging and often requires perseverance. Be prepared to face obstacles, setbacks, and rejection. Stay focused on your goals, maintain a positive mindset, and keep pushing forward even when things get tough.
- Continuously Learn and Adapt: The business landscape is constantly evolving, and as an entrepreneur, it’s crucial to stay updated and adapt to changes. Invest in your own learning through reading, attending workshops or seminars, and seeking feedback from mentors or advisors. Be open to feedback, iterate on your business model, and pivot when necessary to stay relevant and competitive.
Tshepiso knows how to practice what he preaches because his hard work has been recognized by the Mail & Guardian, as one of South Africa’s Top 200 young people in the business and entrepreneurship category. He’s also a prolific speaker who’s shared his experiences as a guest lecturer for a Master of Philosophy in Entrepreneurship class at the University of Pretoria. In 2022, he was selected by the US State Department to participate in the Study of the US Institute’s programme for civic leadership in Washington D.C. You can connect with him and other gamers through his social media platforms; here.
Tell us: what inspires you about Tshepiso’s story?
Read about coding as a career here.