Allon Raiz | Founder & CEO of Raizcorp

Allon Raiz is regarded both locally and globally as a pioneer and maverick in the business incubation industry. He is the founder and CEO of Raizcorp which, according to The Economist, is the only genuine incubator in Africa, and currently supports in excess of 500 businesses.
 
Allon is the author of two bestselling entrepreneurial books – Lose the Business Plan and What to Do When You Want to Give Up. He hosted the first national radio show on entrepreneurship in South Africa in 2004; wrote and hosted the first South African prime-time, entrepreneurship, reality TV show; and also created and published an ongoing entrepreneurial cartoon strip. Allon is the host of his sixth season of the popular The Big Small Business Show on BusinessDay TV; and a columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine and The Star newspaper.
 
Allon is the co-founder of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation South Africa and Rural Roots, and sits on the advisory and judging boards of numerous local and international NGOs and entrepreneurial awards. Allon’s passion and focus on the development of entrepreneurs attracted the attention of the World Economic Forum (WEF) which, on 11 March 2008, awarded Allon as a Young Global Leader.
 
As an accomplished international speaker, Allon was invited to speak at the 2011 WEF Annual Meeting, held in Davos, Switzerland. In 2011, Allon was also invited to become a member of the WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Fostering Entrepreneurship, making him one of 15 recognised global experts in this field. More recently, Allon became a member of the WEF’s Global Future Council.
 
In 2013, Allon received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Oliver Transformation and Empowerment Awards. The following year, he was recognised as the country winner, regional winner and continental winner of the Titan Award for Building Nations.
 
Since 2014, Allon has guest lectured every year at Oxford University, where he is recognised as the Oxford University Saïd Business School’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
 
In 2015, Allon received an invitation from the White House, on behalf of President Barack Obama, to speak at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, held in Kenya.
 

Allon-Raiz_P3My Definition Of Success | I don’t consider myself successful. I believe I am succeeding. Success is a process, and it’s something you are always working towards achieving – as long as you are moving forward. I don’t believe there is an ultimate place/peak where you achieve success, because I don’t buy the concept of there being a single point of success, such as finally owning an expensive car, or luxury house in a wealthy suburb, or having R1 million in your savings account. These things are all temporary.


My Highlights | Convincing my wife to go on a date with me. The day I met her, I knew I was going to marry her. The problem was that she didn’t have the same point of view. I went home that same night and wrote down our wedding list. It took me 3 months to convince her to finally go on a date with me.


The Difference Between Good And Great | Without sounding clichéd, people who are great at what they do are in love with what they do daily. They are immersed in every aspect of their industry, are professional and deeply committed, and have a deep sense of self-pride – “I do the best that I can”. They never do half a job because they care. Those are the people I resonate with.


Allon-Raiz_P2A Key Talent | I am able to operate in the grey – in the unknown and deep fog of the entrepreneurial journey – and I’m very comfortable there. You are only able to operate in the grey when you know yourself, trust yourself, and believe that there is always a way out of a problem, and that you have the ability to find this way given the right time and desire.


Lessons I Have Learnt | The most important lesson I have learnt is that becoming successful is paradoxical in nature. You have to be in the present, but you also have to think about the future. You have to think about the big picture, while also thinking about the details. There is no fool-proof recipe or magic formula to become successful. The decisions you make one day will be different to the next, because they all depend on the people you come into contact with and the situations you find yourself in. Success is about your commitment to an outcome.


Performing At My Peak | I don’t always perform at my peak. I have good days and bad days, just like everyone else. My performance is related to my attitude, and every morning I perform a mental ritual that keeps me self-motivated and focused.


Allon-Raiz_P1My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I want to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, for designing an incubation model that has the ability to reverse the 96% failure rate amongst entrepreneurs, which will have a massive impact on communities, crime, and society as a whole.

 


The Best Advice I’ve Received | If you see an opportunity or stumble over one, aggressively go after it because it won’t be long before your competition will also go after it, and the opportunity will disappear.


I Am Inspired By | Joy Moloi inspires me. She’s an entrepreneur from Alexandra township, who despite her personal circumstances was able to avoid a “victim” mindset, and take control of her life by building a significant business in a male-dominated industry – without any knowledge of the plumbing industry. When she inherited her parents’ plumbing business, she had to let go of who she was (a travel agent) and become someone else. She took it upon herself to learn everything there is to know about plumbing, in order to run a successful plumbing business. The first thing she did when she made money from Moloi Plumbers was to privately educate her brother and sister, and put her brother through university. Joy represents the non-glamorous, unseen, unnoticed substrate of the entrepreneurial economy.
  

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