BY: Thandiwe Jumo
Local entrepreneur, innovator, investor and sportsman, Mr Matthew Bouman, spoke on the importance of ethics in business at the Entrepreneurs Engage event hosted by the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance and the Graduate School of Business and Leadership.
The forum provides students with an opportunity to engage with successful local entrepreneurs who give them a realistic view of the business world thus blending theory and practice. The lecture was also linked to the action research project Shifting Hope, Activating Potential Entrepreneurship (SHAPE) – a teaching and learning programme which encourages young entrepreneurs to form networks within the business sector.
Bauman – a specialist in industrial and commercial property development who has embarked on various successful and failed entrepreneurship ventures – shared his inspirational story about how he chose to be an ethical businessman with the aim of empowering the community.
‘For students, ethics is often only a book chapter but there is a difference between reading about it and practising it. I have had a lot of business ventures, some of them have failed but most of them are successful and that is because I am ethical in all that I do,’ said Bouman. ‘ I continuously empower myself with knowledge and I do what makes me happy, that includes giving back to those who are less fortunate than I am as they also need an opportunity to be successful.’
Bouman also spoke on the impotence of setting short and long term goals, the value of going green in business, corporate responsibility and surviving failure through self-motivation.
Students said they found the presentation inspirational and educational. Entrepreneur, Mr Ndoda Ntilini, said the lecture provided him with valuable information about how people not only buy your product but also what you do to develop the community. He was excited about adopting this principle in his business.
Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s newly appointed SMME Manager, Ms Nana Sabela, who also attended the lecture, said she was looking forward to getting actively involved with the SHAPE programme.
‘One never stops learning, that’s why it is important to make use of forums like this to get an understanding of how business and ethics go together,’ she said.