Umhlanga man selected as finalist in National Business Awards

Durban entrepreneur, Kershen Pillay, is in the running for a coveted National Business Awards.

KwaZulu-Natal entrepreneur, Kershen Pillay, who is a finalist in the coveted National Business Awards, said he’s both humbled and honoured at the industry acknowledgement. Pillay, 31, the CEO of Masifunde Training Centre, is in the running in the Top Performing Entrepreneur for the 2017 category.

The recognition is more than a feather in the cap for one of the brightest minds in South African business; it is also testament to Pillay’s tenacity, his passion for quality education, and his determination to make a significant difference in the country.

“I wish to inspire others to be the best version of themselves, whilst developing the best version of myself,” he said. Speaking ahead of the National Business Awards next week, Pillay describes how he relied heavily on ‘gut instinct’ when he turned his back on a career in medicine, strapped on his corporate adventure boots, and waded into the financial services industry.

Armed with a commitment to hard work, innovation and a steadfast determination to uplift the youth, Pillay embarked on a phenomenal journey that would see him pushing envelopes, blazing trails and breaking moulds.

“By the age of 23, I was heading up the learning and development division of a macro organisation. Although I was making steady progress in my career, I had a feeling of restlessness, a feeling that more needs to be accomplished,” said Pillay.

Driven by his goal to provide education to those who could not afford it and create gateways for those who had a desire to achieve, Pillay identified and acted on an opportunity to turn his dream into reality. He took his first tentative steps in the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) industry and has never looked back.

In 2014, at the age of 27, Pillay stepped into his new role as CEO of Masifunde Training Centre, boldly steering the business into uncharted waters and notching up a string of financial success and industry accolades along the way. Within 24 months, the organisation swelled from four employees and 400 students to nearly 30 members of staff and 2 000 students.

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The centre is more than an accredited training provider that services large corporates, banking institutions and financial companies – it harnesses and mobilises Pillay’s passion for education by training young South Africans who wish to achieve qualifications and skills in the Financial Services sector.

To this end, Masifunde Training Centre has partnered with ABSA and Quest to provide affordable education and job placement opportunities within the financial services industry for individuals, who would never have been able to access such opportunities.

Looking back on his extraordinary accomplishments, the resident chalks up his success to a winning combination of a keen eye for opportunities, smart innovation, out-of-the-box ideas and exceptional business savvy.

One of Pillay’s sure-fire seeds for success has been to infuse ‘a science of happiness’ into his business model and organisational culture, which he believes has contributed substantially to the organisation’s upward mobility.

He advises budding entrepreneurs to be true to their craft and turn negatives into opportunities by focusing on the valuable lessons. Pillay lists business visionary and philanthropist, Warren Buffet, as among his role-models alongside former president, Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa. He enjoys reading autobiographies and biographies of successful people and also makes time to swim and play golf to help keep his stress levels in check.

  AUTHOR
Phoenix Sun

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