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Business not a sprint, but a marathon for Colourworks CEO

Oct 16 2017 18:30
Carin Smith

Cape Town - Lesley Waterkeyn is the founder and CEO of Colourworks, a strategic brand experience agency.

She tells Fin24 more about her journey as entrepreneur since starting the business in 1998.

Tell us more about yourself

Every day, I try and maintain an entrepreneurial spirit to uplift and inspire others to do more than they imagined possible. Over the past 18 years, I have steered Colourworks from a small print agency to a fully-integrated marketing agency specialising in strategic brand experiences.  

I am a lifelong learner and active member of the world’s largest peer-to-peer entrepreneurial network, Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO).

I am immensely passionate about unlocking the potential of Africa’s young people. As a result, I co-founded a company called Over the Rainbow - a social enterprise that empowers young entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and connections that will enable them to succeed.

Among the accolades I’ve been fortunate enough to achieve, I am particularly honoured to have been an Africa’s Women of Influence 2015 finalist and one of 2015’s Fairlady Women of the Future (SA).

In 2017, I received the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Award (IWEC), which honours women who have achieved the highest standards in business and have expanded their companies through their global outreach. This was a very humbling experience.  

Tell us more about your business

Colourworks is a Strategic Brand experience agency, specialising in marketing and events. In a digitally obsessed world we place a premium on personal experiences.

What gap did you see in the market?

Colour printing was the gap, at the time. As the demand grew, we expanded to other services, design, marketing and events.

What were the challenges?

Ensuring that I had the right team that were committed, driven and extraordinary.

Industry challenge: As the digital obsession grew, Colourworks needed to be dynamic and agile to keep up with trends and adding to our services to our events and marketing.

Business challenge: Staying relevant in this ever-changing dynamic landscape. The need to stay relevant and agile enough to make the changes has been not only challenging but stimulating and fun.

What have been your successes?

The long term relationships we have built with our clients over the years. Our impressive client list. We have worked with some of the top blue chip companies in SA.

Advice for would-be entrepreneurs?

Never give up. Stay focussed, you can’t catch two rabbits. Stay committed. Business is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Back yourself and be a lifelong learner.

Future plans?

Expansion of the business into a group structure and definitely expanding into Africa.

Any other comments?

Being an entrepreneur is not easy, but it is definitely hugely rewarding and challenging. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is for living. Live it.

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