Luisa Maier had founded five different start-ups in South Africa by the age of 24.The German-born, South Africa-bred entrepreneur talks to us about why she placed her latest start-up on ice and enrolled on an MBA at the European School of Management and Technology, Berlin.
Luisa, now 26 will graduate in from ESMT in December 2012. She started her first two companies, Jack & Jill Marketing Events and Jack & Jill Distributions, when she was in her second year of studying for a B.Com in Marketing Management at the University of Johannesburg.
Jack & Jill Events provided staffing at events while Jack & Jill Distributions distributed beverages and other consumables at events. They typically managed an average of 300 functions per month across Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town in South Africa.
Luisa found that South Africa as a nation is: “Young-spirited, creative, open-hearted and entrepreneurial” and she felt encouraged to work hard at implementing her business ideas even when tough situations such as going through a business partner “divorce” surfaced.
She started La Lash Entertainment and La Lash Logistics in 2009 to provide hostessing and entertainment services as well as event-coordination services, and sourced and trained staff to complement her clients brand at events.
La Lash staffed media and corporate events for the likes of Estee Lauder, Bell Dewar, Fashion TV, Volkswagen, the Holland-Belgium Fifa 2018 and 2022 World Cup Bids, the South African rugby team's BloodBrothers Charity and managed promotional campaigns for Patron Tequila RSA and Playboy Energy RSA.
Luisa is taken by the entertainment industry, especially the nightlife business which she sees as an important part of culture: “It has potential for so much expression and combines so many passions of humankind such as meeting people, music, food & drink”, she says.
Being intensively involved in start-ups meant that Luisa got to experience all sides of business from operations to corporate relations to human resources to finance. However, she sensed that there was more to entrepreneurship so she she left the sun of South Africa to spend a year on the ESMT Berlin MBA.
“I want to gain more knowledge in business management and leadership and to build an amazing network of people from all over the world” she says.
“Our minds are full of business opportunities to unfold. I'm hoping that at least one or two of the ones I have buzzing in my head right now can be developed with my MBA colleagues and perhaps even brought to life after graduation”, says Luisa.
During school, Luisa used to dream of a creative station - a place she called the “Sugar Shack” - that was a space for people to come together and let their creativity flow. A work space for designers, musician, entrepreneurs and other creative souls, combined with a display area and shop, teaching lab and recording station, coffee shop and cocktail bar.
It's an idea that Luisa and her MBA colleagues might work on this year - watch this space!
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