Mareike Mgwelo: Creating Ideal Learning Journeys for Empowered Entrepreneurs

Mareike Mgwelo
Mareike Mgwelo

Navigating the ever-changing entrepreneurial landscape can be daunting. Here, guidance acts as a compass, offering invaluable insights. Experienced mentors can help refine ideas, build robust business plans and identify potential pitfalls. Their support empowers aspiring entrepreneurs to make informed decisions, increasing their chances of success.

In this robust environment, Mareike Mgwelo embodies the entrepreneurial spirit. As a Startup Consultant, Author and Digital Trainer for Entrepreneurship Education, Mareike is also known for her Entrepreneurial Mind, Design Thinking Expertise and Impact Investing as part of Kamvalethu Consulting.

Mareike’s journey took a significant turn when she received a scholarship from the DAAD German Academic Exchange Service in 2014. This opportunity allowed her to immerse herself in the world of entrepreneurship by interviewing 15 female social entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Through these interviews, Mareike delved into their founding stories, motivations and experiences, which profoundly impacted her professional trajectory. The insights gained from these conversations ignited her enthusiasm for entrepreneurship education and business development.

Looking back over a decade later, Mareike reflects on her impactful journey. From facilitating startup pitching events and providing mentorship in Sub-Saharan Africa to her roles as a business developer and customer experience specialist for a crowd-investing platform, Mareike’s career has been marked by diverse and enriching experiences. Her consultancy work for a regional development bank further underscores her commitment to fostering entrepreneurship.

Today, Mareike continues to share her entrepreneurial energy and expertise, collaborating with aspiring entrepreneurs and contributing to the growth of startup ecosystems. Her dedication to empowering others in the entrepreneurial space highlights her as a valuable resource and thought leader in the industry. Her story exemplifies the transformative power of mentorship and strategic guidance in navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship.

Kamvalethu: Designing Success Stories in South Africa

Mareike’s venture—Kamvalethu—was born out of a shared belief in the potential of the people of South Africa. Named after the isiXhosa word meaning “our future,” Kamvalethu symbolizes Mareike’s commitment to empowering the youth and catalyzing positive change within communities.

Through Kamvalethu, Mareike aims to uplift and contribute to the country’s narrative of resilience and growth, particularly within the township economy alongside aspiring entrepreneurs. The venture’s approach is inspired by the philosophy of Ubuntu (“I am because we are“).

Kamvalethu specializes in consulting, education, technology, and finance industries by focusing on design, facilitation and consulting for startup events and learning journeys. Embracing change and positive transformation, Kamvalethu believes in placing people at the heart of development, viewing them as the key to creating successful products and initiatives.

Path to Collective Empowerment

Mareike’s belief in sharing opportunities extends more than words—it’s a philosophy that she lives by every day. She emphasizes the power of collective action, understanding that together, individuals can achieve far more impact than they can imagine alone. She has witnessed the transformative effect of this approach firsthand.

For instance, Mareike’s guidance and support have helped individuals like Mamolisana from Lesotho secure scholarships that opened doors to new horizons. By offering advice to Lerato, Mareike empowered her to apply for prestigious fellowships like the Mandela Washington Fellowship, leading to life-changing encounters such as meeting Barack Obama. Taking the time to uplift and encourage aspiring entrepreneurs like Kananelo and Hape has been instrumental in their journey to successful business ownership.

Moreover, Mareike’s commitment to nurturing young talent is exemplified through initiatives like the InterACTION Seminar, where she provided scholarships to 30 entrepreneurial minds. This investment in their growth has not only expanded their horizons but also positively influenced the work environments they now contribute to post-graduation. Mareike remains certain that by cultivating entrepreneurial energy and empowering individuals, she is contributing to a ripple effect of positive change in communities.

Paying It Forward

Mareike champions the transformative power of leveraging resources and influence to positively impact others’ lives. She actively promotes spreading awareness about educational opportunities and encourages the act of purchasing beneficial books for those who can benefit from them.

Mareike believes in the concept of paying it forward, where individuals create a cycle of giving and receiving that can lead to life-changing opportunities for themselves and their communities.

By emphasizing mutual support and generosity, Mareike underscores the significance of these values in fostering personal and professional growth. She believes that by uplifting and empowering others through thoughtful actions, individuals not only contribute to immediate positive change but also cultivate a culture of collaboration and support that benefits everyone involved.

Mareike highlights the affordability of quality education and the shortage of qualified teachers as primary challenges in today’s education sector. She advocates for increased investment in schools, equipment and teacher salaries to address these issues.

She proposes enhancing education standards and improving working conditions for teachers to attract more talent, particularly in areas facing a shortage of qualified educators. She underscores the importance of collective efforts to elevate the educational environment and promote equitable access to excellent learning opportunities.

Story of Volunteerism and Social Impact

During her studies in Oldenburg, Mareike volunteered at Masifunde Learner Development, contributing to their homework club and initiating a calendar project to raise funds for stationery. Additionally, she served as a buddy to international students at the University of Oldenburg. Mareike’s outstanding dedication to these extracurricular activities earned her an award for exceptional achievements during her studies.

Continuing her impactful endeavors, Mareike and her team successfully raised approximately R50,000 for a computer school in Walmer Township through a crowdfunding campaign, garnering attention from the local newspaper.

Empowering Entrepreneurs to Take Action

In her role as a trainer, mentor and startup consultant, Mareike has worked with more than 500 young entrepreneurial minds. During these many conversations, her clients shared their doubts about smaller steps or bigger moves on their entrepreneurial journey. As an answer to them, Mareike always responds “You will never know unless you try.” As a Wavemaker, she believes that those who make waves can move mountains.

Bridging the Digital Divide

Mareike believes the most essential qualities an educational leader should possess are:

  • Instilling strong self-belief and empowering others to achieve their full professional and personal potential with confidence and dignity.
  • Demonstrating perseverance by never giving up on people.
  • Cultivating a robust support network to prioritize self-care ensuring individuals have the strength and energy to effectively support others.

Top of Form

Understanding and utilizing technology, particularly in the education sector, is crucial to bridge the digital divide and empower individuals. Mareike recognizes that many people feel uncertain or lack confidence in using available technological tools, which has exacerbated societal inequalities. To address this, Mareike emphasizes the importance of educating individuals on integrating technology into their daily lives.

Entrepreneurial Guide for Global Change

Mareike is dedicated to ensuring that her efforts have a meaningful impact on those who can benefit from them. By writing her first book, ‘The Love We Share for Entrepreneurship,’ in English—despite it not being her native language—Mareike aimed to reach a global audience. Her next goal is to publish the book as an e-book, increasing accessibility to a wider audience.

The Love We Share for Entrepreneurship’ is tailored for individuals who derive satisfaction from solving real-life problems that significantly impact people’s lives—issues that cannot be ignored. Mareike’s commitment lies in disseminating knowledge and insights to empower others on their entrepreneurial journey.

Inspired Journeys

Mareike’s long-term vision includes establishing a foundation to invest in people’s education, a goal that reflects her commitment to creating lasting impact. In the meantime, she is focused on raising funds to travel to African countries she has yet to explore. During her travels, Mareike aims to engage with aspiring entrepreneurs, sharing insights from inspirational books to uplift and inspire them.

Mareike’s passion for making a meaningful impact on individuals’ lives is the driving force behind these endeavors. She seeks to empower and support aspiring entrepreneurs on their journeys, leveraging her experiences and knowledge to contribute positively to their growth and success.

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