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Nkosana
Mafico

Changemaker advancing humanity through business.

Profile

Nkosana’s mission is to advance humanity through business.

Drawing on his industry and academic knowledge, Nkosana is a non-executive director with experience across the private, government and non-profit sectors, in a statutory and advisory board capacity. He currently serves as an Advisory Council Member for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and as a Board Director for the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers Community in Australia.

An accomplished keynote speaker, Nkosana presented at the 2018 Commonwealth Games Trade and Investment Conference and at Oxfam Australia's "How do we make change happen in a post-truth world?" forum. He also presented at TEDxUQ with a talk titled, "The Phenomenal Mindset of Africa's Future Leaders".

Current work

At present, he is a PhD scholar and course facilitator at the University of Queensland, where he graduated with First Class Honours in Business Management and as Valedictorian of the Business School. As a researcher, Nkosana explores how individuals and organisations operate when they are exposed to multiple opposing ideas at the same time. His research has implications for institutional decision-making, sustainable investing, and social entrepreneurship.

Previous experience

Founder: Outside of academia, Nkosana has co-founded and served as CEO of a Telstra funded software company. He also founded CYALA - the Council for Young Africans Living Abroad, and for 3 years, was managing director. In recognition of his entrepreneurial work, in 2018, the Queensland Government named Nkosana Outstanding Young Achiever of the Year for fostering social cohesion through entrepreneurship.

Expertise
Talking Points

The Phenomenal Mindset of Africa’s Future Leaders


When you switch on your television, and there is a segment on Africa, the images that you typically see are that of death, disease, poverty, and famine. There is undoubtedly some truth to this; however, this isn’t the whole story. With close to 70 percent of its 1 billion+ population under the age of 25, Africa is fast becoming the future frontier for global growth. Drawing on his 3 years of experience as the founder and managing director of CYALA- the Council for Young Africans Living Abroad, Nkosana explores the drive African youth have to create a better future. In this funny, insightful talk, Nkosana shares with us how Africa’s youth within the continent and around the world are changing the narrative by creating a story everyone can get behind.

The Migrant Factor: Why the Best Entrepreneurs are Immigrants

According to the Brookings Institution, 43 percent of companies in the current Fortune 500 were founded or co-founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, and among the Top 35, that share is 57 percent. In 2017, these 216 companies produced $5.3 trillion in global revenue and employed 12.1 million workers worldwide last year, spanning sectors such as technology, retail, and finance. In a globalised world where economic and job growth are key, it is therefore critical for leaders in business, government, and civil society to understand immigrant entrepreneurship.

This talk explores why immigrants are so effective when it comes to entrepreneurship. Drawing on cross-cultural psychology and immigrant entrepreneurship research, Nkosana will unpack the factors and processes that influence immigrants to become world-class entrepreneurs.

Social entrepreneurship: Tackling Social Issues through Business

Today’s young people are as concerned with making a positive impact on the world as they are with making money. A massive 94% want to use their skills to benefit a cause. Meanwhile, only half have confidence in the free market system, down from 80% just 15 years ago. In addition to this, faith in governmental and philanthropic organisations has waned due to their inability to tackle societal issues efficiently and effectively.

Against this backdrop, social entrepreneurship has taken off as a new formula for success, combining the passion of a social mission with business-like discipline. Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social, cultural, and environmental challenges. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major issues and offering new ideas for systems-level change.

Although social entrepreneurship is gaining popularity, it means different things to different people. This can be confusing. Many people, for example, associate social entrepreneurship exclusively with not-for-profit organisations starting for-profit or earned-income ventures. Others use it to describe anyone who starts a non-profit organisation. Still, others use it to refer to business owners who integrate social responsibility into their operations.

In this presentation, Nkosana draws on the latest research on social entrepreneurs to unpack what “social entrepreneurship” really means. Examining a range of case studies, he will also explore the opportunities and challenges for social entrepreneurs and the field of social entrepreneurship.

Cultures at war: Advancing humanity in a Polarised World

Many of the most important problems in the world are often referred to as ‘wicked problems’ because they are incredibly complex and interconnected. To solve, they need people from diverse backgrounds and with different skill sets to come together. Unfortunately, around the world, decision-makers are finding it increasingly hard to tackle wicked problems as our discourse globally has become bitterly polarised. Journalistic accounts often speak of the "culture wars", a chasm between people based on race, ethnicity, gender, and politics.

This presentation will examine the ‘polarised’ landscape, and the changes individuals and organisations need to make to succeed. Drawing on research related to moral-psychology and paradox theory, this talk will explore what has caused polarisation and propose a mindset and set of skills that decision-makers can develop to overcome it.

Student entrepreneurship: Starting a Business while Studying

Student entrepreneurship has been a thing long before Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to start Facebook. In 1996, two students dropped out of school to work on their search engine that would deliver search results based on relevance. Today Google, is the most popular website in the world.

Stories like these have been a source of inspiration and excitement young people and educational institutions. As a result, we now live in an era where students around the world are creating multimillion-dollar businesses while studying and many educational institutions have set up entrepreneurship courses and programs to support them.

However, for every inspirational student entrepreneur story you hear, there are many that you do not hear, because they have not had great business success worth telling thousands of people about.

In this talk, Nkosana will explore the opportunities and challenges for students who start businesses while studying. Drawing on a range of case studies and his 5 years as a student entrepreneur, he will also unpack on how educational institutions can better support their entrepreneurial students.

Nkosana’s journey: Turning a Big Vision into a Reality


Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, Nkosana moved to Brisbane, Australia with family when he was 10 years old. Obsessed with computer games, he was a C and D student for much of high school. He did, however, like to make money, so he sold lollies, cold drinks, miniature skateboards and trading game cards to his classmates. Somehow, he graduated high school with okay grades and went on to study business at university. While there, he saw the intense pressure put on young students to graduate and get a job. After failing a couple of job admission tests himself, Nkosana realised that this route wasn’t for him and so he went back to his roots - entrepreneurship. While at university Nkosana co-founded and served as CEO of a Telstra funded software company. He also founded CYALA - the Council for Young Africans Living Abroad, and for 3 years, was managing director. At present, he is a PhD scholar at the University of Queensland, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Management First Class Honours and as Valedictorian of the Business School.

In this talk, Nkosana will share a story of hope and inspiration - full of tough decisions, major obstacles, and many mistakes. You will laugh at his initiative, be inspired by his action and life mission, and be reminded that you too have the power to pursue your dreams.

Hybrid organisations: Pursuing Conflicting Goals in Business, Government, and Civil Society

Hybrid organisations are ventures that combine related, but potentially contradictory goals in their core. For example, many biotechnology startups pursue scientific discovery and technology commercialisation goals, and social enterprises work to generate profits while simultaneously addressing societal issues. Other examples include public-private partnerships and state-owned enterprises.

Hybrids have the potential to generate significant social and commercial value, but also face a number of unique challenges in their operations because of their often-conflicting goals.

This talk will explore what hybrid organisations are and the distinct challenges they face compared to other organisational forms. By examining hybrid organisations in different sectors that have succeeded and failed, the presentation will also outline best practices on leading and managing hybrid organisations.
Media
Feedback
I first met Nkosana through his involvement with the 2014 G 20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane and the associated G 20 Global Café and Investment Attraction Summits. His fresh approach and dynamic presentation led me to appoint him as the Convenor of the Young Professionals Program at the 2015 Asia Pacific Cities Summit. Nkosana made a very significant contribution to this outstanding event and performed his role with distinction. Always engaging and very capable of holding an audience, Nkosana leaves you with a feeling that with young leaders like him in the pipeline, there may just be a bright future after all. I suspect we will read much about his achievements in years to come and for now, he is an excellent choice as a speaker for any forum seeking an uplifting and motivational message from a unique and youthful perspective. Secretary-General, 2015 Asia Pacific Cities Summit

I met Nkosana and worked with him when he participated as a panelist on one of the events - “Day in the Life of an Entrepreneur” that we ran at the University of Queensland. Nkosana is one of those rare breed of young people who know what they want and are driven to attain it. He not only has the vision, drive and passion to be successful himself, but even more inspiring, he wants to inspire others to do the same in their lives. Nkosana stands on a great foundation having himself achieved some amazing things in business at the ripe old age of 20. That in itself gives him credibility to coach, mentor and inspire young people and anyone in general from a place of experience. At such a young age he has so much to share and with a gift of an amazing speaker, he has the ability to inspire and engage an audience by imparting such wisdom with ease and authenticity. You cannot help but be inspired by his message. If you are looking to step your life up a notch, two or three, then I totally recommend you connect with Nkosana.

Manager at the University of Queensland

Nkosana came to St Peters Lutheran College to address a group of 65 Economics students about his business and entrepreneurial experiences. The students were very positive about his varied experiences and the messages that he conveyed about success. I would wholeheartedly recommend Nkosana as an entertaining motivational speaker and a role model for all young people.

Head of Business Studies at St Peters Lutheran College

I was fortunate enough to have Nkosana give a presentation to an entrepreneurship group at QUT about his journey, mindsets, goals and advice on personal developments. Myself and every attendee was truly inspired and motivated by his insights. This sparked such interest and discussion that every participant stayed behind to ask more questions and hear more insights. In fact, discussion and complements about the talk continued for the days following Nkosana's presentation.

Co-founder at QUT Starters
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