Amidst the joyous companies that were happy to have won awards and nominations, Jazz Gandhum found himself particularly elated after finding himself crowned Entrepreneur of the Year.
But what does it take to receive such a reputation-setting title and how does it feel when you hear those words? Making a difference and incredible, according to Ganhum.
“Winning Entrepreneur of the Year is an incredible achievement and one I am extremely proud of. Just to be nominated amongst some reputable business leaders is an honour in itself, so to win the Entrepreneur of the Year award is a real dream come true,” he said.
Gandhum is the CEO at e-Careers, a firm that develops e-learning materials for people to train and secure qualifications. He acquired the business seven years ago, a period that has seen a great amount of change take place across the board.
Now, working with government bodies, colleges and educational divisions, the company has 180 staff members that help take care of the 7,000 students signing up each month to a range of 600 cross-sector courses.
“The team and I have worked incredibly hard to transform a once ‘lifestyle’ business into an industry leading education technology firm, which delivers affordable and accessible education to a mass audience on a daily basis,” said Gandhum.
“The recognition of Amazon and CBI is a real testament to our hard work, providing both the team and I with a valuable boost as we continue to grow and develop.”
As if that’s not enough, he also founded the iPro Sport business, which develops natural hydration drinks that avoid the beaten track of artificial nasties.
On the topic of what he feels set him apart from the others in the running for Entrepreneur of the Year, Gandhum called the question a tricky one.
“I think all of the finalists are excellent business leaders in their own right, but I would say it comes down to how e-Careers and iPro Sport have helped to change and transform lives for the better – from helping individuals worldwide enhance their future through career development to providing a healthy sports drink alternative in iPro Sport,” he said.
How does one go from education to sports drinks in the blink of eye? There are three factors Gandhum deems “critical” for success in any business.
(1) Know your numbers.
(2) Know how to sell – whether it’s to a prospective employee, the bank, a supplier or a customer.
(3) Networking, networking and more networking = the opportunity to learn and grow.
“You can apply these critical factors any business, irrespective of the industry or the type of product. I’m a firm believer of the fact these factors, along with a lot of hard work and a very approachable attitude, will bring success to any entrepreneur,” Gandhum said.
“I have also always had a glass half full attitude to anything I have done, but appreciate that isn’t for everyone.”
Although Gandhum did win the Entrepreneur of the Year title, he said that all business awards are an opportunity for companies to reflect – win, lose or draw.
“Even if you don’t win, they serve as an excellent reminder of how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved – as you sit amongst some of the country’s most successful and inspiring business leaders,” he opined.
“What’s more, with awards opportunities comes excellent PR, increasing awareness and engagement in you and your brand, even with the smallest mentions through shortlist announcements.”
Being a man in the know, we asked what he considers a good entrepreneur – ambition first and foremost, he declared.
“For me, being a good entrepreneur comes down to ambition, and having that level of desire to create a new business idea and run with it. When starting a business or developing a new business idea, you will never have all the answers, you will certainly make mistakes, and you will definitely experience failure at some point.
“The real measure of a good entrepreneur, however, is how you learn from this and how you develop. As the saying goes: ‘Success isn’t measured on the days when the sun shines, success is measured on the dark, stormy, cloudy days. And if you can’t absorb failure, you’re never going to meet success’.”
In terms of his own mistakes during his career, Gandhum admitted that hiring the wrong people at the wrong time can be one of the biggest errors any entrepreneurs can face, costing valuable growth time as a result.
With such negative encounters under his belt, he teaches peers to make the growth journey small and digestible, allowing them to take gradual steps.
“Having a goal that is seemingly ‘too big’ can be daunting and discouraging, particularly when times are tough,” he said. “I have slipped at instances where I have thought three moves ahead without considering the next step. I’ve also invested too much time in people who were not going to help me achieve my goals.”
“Small steps or goals can be categorised, structured or prioritised in any order, or however someone wishes. The purpose here, is that aside from seeming more achievable, working towards the attainment of small goals is essential to be able to deliver results and for achieving that ‘ultimate goal’.
“With a continuous sense of achievement and progress in your journey, you will undoubtedly have a higher chance of reaching ‘success’.”
It’s not all doom and gloom though, with risk comes reward and the reward for Gandhum is variety.
“The thing I enjoy most about entrepreneurship is that no two days are the same, and if you really apply and believe in yourself, the possibilities can be endless,” he detailed.
“What’s more, through the businesses I have founded and created, I have seen how entrepreneurship can significantly benefit the lives of others – from helping individuals secure the job of their dreams, to working with charities to deliver education to third world countries. Those for me, are incredible moments.”