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‘Being clear about our vision helped us to say ‘no’ to a lot of things’

Business lessons from the founder of a revolutionary social business model.

Providing free education is one tough thing. Providing free education through a sustainable entrepreneurial business model is even tougher to conceptualise. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what Arlene Mulder, co-founder and MD of WeThinkCode_ , is doing.

Of course this perfect business model didn’t happen overnight. The former investment banker and her partner were approached by a number of companies who were interested in their mission to train 100 000 world-class African coders in the next 20 years. However the ‘for free’ part was not always part of their agenda.

Through this process Mulder and her co-founder – who were pretty green as entrepreneurs as well as educationalists – discovered the importance of knowing, and sticking to, your business values. What’s more, they ended up fine tuning their business model to the point that it is enviably cash flow positive and sustainable, with 13 employees and a R20 million turnover – after only 2 years. They also said ‘no’ to a number of very attractive deals along the way.

In the Quick Insight video above, extracted from a full length interview, Mulder explains how and why they did it, and reveals the surprising events that led to WeThinkCode_ developing its vision and values.

See the full length interview here.

In partnership with FNB, Moneyweb presents this bespoke leadership video series with top business people. The interview draws on the person’s life, failures and the lessons they have learnt on their journey to the successful leadership positions they hold today.


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