Transforming Digital Media

According to statistics by SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency), approximately 72% of micro-enterprises and 40% of small enterprises are owned by women. The number keeps increasing.

A number of female entrepreneurs have entered the Public Relations, Media and Digital Communications space over the last five years in South Africa. These female entrepreneurs’ small businesses have already shown remarkable achievement not just to their clients, but to lifestyle transformation of their employees and the economy. One of those few social entrepreneurs is the Change Driver, Nazareen Ebrahim, the Chief Editorial Officer of a digital media and communications company called Socially Acceptable.

Before opening Socially Acceptable, the Durban based social entrepreneur built a prolific career in mining, film, communications and broadcast media industries.  She has been involved in community work and created many business linkage opportunities for colleagues and mentees.  Lwazi Nongauza had a chat with Nazareen to find out more about her journey in driving change.

What inspired the idea to start Socially Acceptable?

The interest to build a business stemmed from a long held desire ever since I was little to build a legacy and inspire others. The choice to play in the Technology and digital space came out of a deep understanding of the industry and much work in it.

Briefly tell us about your business.

Socially Acceptable was started as a digital media and communications company.  Our mandate is to provide digital media management, strategy and media liaison for small and medium businesses in KZN. Through our current collaboration with IDEA, Durban Hub, Start-up Grind Durban and IT Varsity, we aim to build a culture of digital excellence in the province and to continually educate clients on digital media so they understand the value we provide.  

How does your business contribute to job creation and youth development?

Socially Acceptable team has two full time staff members. One is an 18-year old designer/developer and the other a 21-year old with no digital experience. This is a chance to up-skill and grow these individuals into entrepreneurs. The company might be fairly young, but we hope to employ many more young people who may not necessarily have the qualification or experience but show the required passion and appetite for learning. 
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt as a self-made entrepreneur?

The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt is that it’s all about teamwork. Your business is only successful because of its people. Without skilled, dedicated committed people, it’s difficult to output any deliverable, project or make clients happy. As a sole owner of the business doing everything and completing all duties, it makes it very difficult to keep the quality and value you promise to clients. Team is very important.  If you continue to work in the business and not on it and without help, one easily sets one’s self up for failure.

What is your entrepreneurial journey highlights?

Some of the highlights include: Winning the Minara Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurship Competition, signing on clients who believed in the value of our service, building a credible portfolio of radio work through Lotus FM, SAFM, Radio Al-Ansaar and Channel Islam.

What is your secret to success as a digital media entrepreneur?

The secret to success is managing clients’ expectation and delivering when you say you will. I have learned this the very hard way. Product knowledge and industry trends are equally significant. Success in the digital media industry is also about staying on top of trends and the almost daily changes which happen across the globe.

What is your advice to up and coming digital media entrepreneurs?

Know your industry. Network to understand the players in the field and trends and always be true to what you offer. Don’t undervalue the service you offer even if clients don’t see it at first.  Ultimately be authentic about you who are, what your offer and the value you bring to your clients.

Where do you want to see your business 10 years from now? 

The business should have a further domestic and international presence. Right now, we are KZN based and would like to change that. We should also be impacting the African economy with digital solutions that best solve critical challenges facing our people. And finally, we should always have a strong link to community and mentoring young people to reach their potential with entrepreneurship.

Besides, running Socially Acceptable, business awareness radio show, How to make it in South Africa (on Radio Al Ansaar), television show Biz Today, on Deen TV, Ebrahim is also building a Business Corner at her local library. Two years after an informal launch, the corner was recently officially launched with many significant partners including SEDA, SEFA and NYDA. She is also an executive committee for a new Durban based organization called Independent Digital Excellence Association (IDEA).

Ebrahim believes in the Skills Transfer Principle. “A true leader is one who develops other people to become more powerful than him or her. Development of other people is important to me because I’ve always believed that each person has a greatness to live. If a person shows potential in their action and the will to succeed, then they should be given a chance to develop that talent and succeed. I will always invest in people if they show potential. I believe that there the more young people that can be developed, the better for our economy, future and community. We need to teach people to think critically and look for opportunity to develop that into viable ventures; not promote the culture of entitlement and put people in boxes”, she said.

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