Kedibone Adams profiles Simphiwe Joseph Ntlantsana the Managing Director of Ntlantsana Accountants and Auditors (Pty) Ltd whose mentorship of young people has enhanced his firm’s tremendous growth
Simphiwe Joseph Ntlantsana is one of the few African businessmen who had the foresight to set up a firm specialising in internal auditing, accounting, taxation, general advisory and business management in a South African township after the euphoria of self rule had worn off.
“I saw a huge gap in the accounting and auditing profession because there are very few black accounting firms in the townships,” Ntlantsana says. “I thought, let me go for it.”
He opened his first office in Philippi townships in the Western Cape in 2010. Since then, business has grown in great leaps and bounds, prompting him to open four more branches in the Eastern Cape, Port Elizabeth, Queenstown and Mthatha.
He says mentoring young people in his business empire has not only been a significant factor in it’s growth, but has also impacted positively in the economic empowerment of the young men and women under his wing.
“Mentorship is one of the best ways to empower the youth,” Ntlantsana says. “But very few accounting firms give training opportunities to our youths, as we do.”
His company’s contribution to sustainable development in the Eastern Cape has brought him recognition in the form of two Iqhawu BBQ Mentorship Awards for restoring hope into the lives of youths.
“This recognition strengthened my belief that what am I doing to assist our people out there is significant,” he adds. “Being given the award for the second time this year meant a lot to me, to my wife, Ntombentsha Ntlantsana and to our team.”
Having grown up during apartheid South Africa when the odds were heavily stacked against black people gaining a foothold on the mainstream economic belt, Ntlantsana says he nevertheless nursed an ambition to set up his own accounting firm in the future.
However, finding seed capital for his business wasn’t easy even after the ANC had come to power with the late president Nelson Mandela at the helm. Luckily for Ntlantsana, his community in Old Crossroads Township in the Western Cape bought into his vision of community building and assisted him with some funds.
“The goal was to open up opportunities for young people within the townships who would other wise not get a chance to work as accountants,” Ntlantsana says.
“Since 2010, we have trained more than 50 students in our company,” Ntlantsana exclaims with great pride. “This year we shall be training more than thirty students.”
The training scheme is supported through a funding partnership from South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training.
In addition, Ntlantsana Accountants and Auditors (Pty) Ltd has also teamed up with Universities of Technologies, TVET colleges to provide a formal training platform for between 6 to 18 months, which enhances employment chances for students after completing the course.
What advice can he give to enterprising young people across Africa with an ambition to set up their own businesses?
“To all young entrepreneurs out there, I would like to say you need a solid reason as to why you are setting up your own company,” Ntlantsana says. “You also need to have a big heart, be open to disappointments and the hard knocks you may come up against on the way. Most important of all, you need to remain humble at all times, respect people and understand that entrepreneurship is a road less travelled due to its challenges.”
Furthermore, he says: “Entrepreneurship is a journey with loads of steps, challenges, disappointments. Have love and passion for people because if you lack that, you will fall short in achieving your objectives and end up with huge regrets and disappointment in life.”