Zibusiso Mkhwanazi Group CEO, Avatar Agency Group

I grew up in the township of Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa. My mom could not afford to take me to university and we struggled, so from a young age I knew I had to make a plan.

I remember at the age of 11 how my mom gave me a packet of sweets to sell during break and I started employing my friends to sell for me as well. From then on I could play during break while they sold the sweets for me and I made more profit.

In the next year I expanded to selling ice-cream on the streets of the Johannesburg CBD and this is where at the age of 17 while in high school I started my first formal business, and saying my resources were limited is an understatement. I was a young boy from Spruitview armed with a dream that was bigger than my reality and the R2000 seed capital at my disposal.

My first business, Csonke, was a web development company that became one of the largest black-youth-owned new media companies in the country at the time. Csonke merged with Krazyboyz where I met my current business partner Veli Ngubane in 2007 and from that encounter AVATAR was born in 2012, with Veli as my partner.

The business now compromises of 7 other agencies within it and operates in 3 cities servicing mainly large scale brands in South Africa and internationally. We are on a path to create an African owned agency network to rival the large established multinationals. In my world, making a profit is not only monetary. Taking the lead from a quote by Henry Ford, “A business that only makes money is a poor business”. I profit from seeing the few people I employed years ago, grow to over 100 people and making a difference in our society. I profit from the joy of my agency being trusted by brands I have respected for years.

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