Palesa Mabidilala (Makanda) has extensive experience developing SMEs which includes both funding entrepreneurs as well as providing non-financial support with multi-national companies. Currently, CEO Palesa aims to assist various organisations that are focused on building the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Her work involves assisting organisations with developing their entrepreneurship programmes as well as developing strategies for SMEs. Her previous roles include being a Director of Entrepreneur Services at Endeavor, which is a global organisation aimed at accelerating the growth of high- impact entrepreneurs by providing focused mentorship, business training, access to global markets and investment funding. Prior to that she worked at GroFin and Business Partners, which are multi-national specialist SME finance and development companies where she assisted SMEs by providing investment funding. She has also worked for two of the Big Four Auditing firms, namely Deloitte and Ernst & Young in Analytical Forensic and Business Advisory Services. Palesa holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Enterprise Management as well as a Bachelor of Commerce – Information Systems degree, both obtained from the University of Cape Town.
Palesa’s vision is to achieve sustainable economic growth through education and assisting entrepreneurs through the various stages of their business cycles. Her passion and enthusiasm for education, mentorship as well as her commitment to developing entrepreneurship in South Africa has led her to do voluntary work as a mentor, mentoring young aspiring entrepreneurs in all aspects of business management, and motivating them to transform themselves and their communities by drawing on their entrepreneurial strengths.
Palesa also serves as a board member for the Enke Make Your Mark and as an advisory board member of the African Leadership Academy Student Enterprise Programme.
She has also done an extensive amount of public speaking both locally and internationally.
Palesa was requested to be the Master of Ceremonies at two of the prestigious African Leadership Network (ALN) seminars held in Ghana and Mauritius. The ALN is a network of influential African leaders that aim to celebrate and promote entrepreneurship in the continent as well as providing a platform to build relationships between African leaders.
She has been invited as a guest speaker to numerous events to share her insights in the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, as well as the entrepreneurial ecosystem issues and opportunities. These include the Innovation Summit discussing the entrepreneurial archetypes, the Department of Trade and Industry SMME Summit to discuss the high- impact entrepreneurship approach as well as the Limitless Social Club inspiring women to be successful entrepreneurs.
Her passion and mission to drive an entrepreneurial culture in the formal education sector has led her to conduct talks at WITS and UNISA discussing entrepreneurship to aspiring and growing entrepreneurs. She has been requested to share her industry knowledge by the Association of MBA’s at the Global Leadership Conference held in Stellenbosh, the London Business School, and Emory University - Goizueta Business School to inspire MBA students about entrepreneurship. She was invited as a judge at the African Leadership Academy Anzisha prize as well as the TechnoServe Youth Empowerment through Entrepreneurship Programme judging young entrepreneurial business plans.
Palesa has facilitated entrepreneurial workshops at Ernst & Young, as well as the Global Entrepreneurship Week – State of Entrepreneurship Summit.
Palesa has been featured at the Succeed Magazine and was invited to provide expert commentary on Khaya FM.
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