In the limelight: Neverl Kambasha, chair of The Beryl Group, talks Shark Tank SA 2021

Who: Neverl Kambasha Company: The Beryl Group What: Investing in entrepreneurship- Shark Tank SA 2020  

The Beryl Group (Pan-African investment company) recently announced its involvement in producing Shark Tank – the multi-Emmy® Award-winning reality/entrepreneurship-focused entertainment show. Neverl Kambasha, chair of Beryl Group provides insights into Shark Tank SA 2020 and his company’s commitment to boosting entrepreneurship- in Covid challenged times.

TheCapeRobyn: Your company, The Beryl Group is a producer of Shark Tank 2021. Was your company involved in series 1?

Neverl Kambasha: No, we were not. There is such a great entrepreneurial spirit that has taken the nation by storm in recent years. As such we deemed it necessary to further invest in entrepreneurship in this manner and on this scale through Shark Tank South Africa, hence our involvement as license holder in this season. We also invest into entrepreneurship through The Village Boardroom Experience (TVBE) – which is our flagship entrepreneurship competition where teams compete through a gruelling four-week process based on various business tasks.

TheCapeRobyn: When will Shark Tank SA be on our screens in 2021?

Neverl Kambasha: Dates will be released very soon. Continue to watch the space as developments unfold.

TheCapeRobyn: The Shark Tank format consists of sharks – a panel of self-made business entrepreneurs who select from contestant’s profiles/business plans – as to who should get the nod for investment. Is this how Shark Tank SA 2020 will operate?

Neverl Kambasha: Yes, certainly. Based on the success that is Shark Tank globally, we will not be deviating from the core focus of what the show is about – seeing the Sharks making investments into the businesses of the entrepreneurs who pitch. We will be adding African flair as the entrepreneurial stories in South Africa, and broadly Africa, are unique, so it will be great to showcase these stories as investments are being made. We’re all about impact! 

TheCapeRobyn: The global format is that the ‘shark’ panellists are paid for their time on the show but the investing in the contestants –comes from their own funds – not the TV series. This is why it is billed as a reality TV show. It is real money up for grabs, offered by real entrepreneurs. Will Shark Tank SA 2021 pivot around this model – real time investment by entrepreneurs?

Neverl Kambasha: Yes, the model of investing in entrepreneurs and their businesses will remain as per the global standard of Shark Tank. 

TheCapeRobyn: Has each shark been required to pledge a certain amount to invest in order to take part in the series?

Neverl Kambasha: We prefer not to disclose contractual information. 

TheCapeRobyn: Please tell readers about your journey as an entrepreneur?

Neverl Kambasha: I was born in Zimbabwe and live between South Africa and the USA. I studied in both South Africa and the UK. I started my working career in the banking sector. Venturing into business, I started in the telecoms sector as a distributor of airtime for different mobile networks across the continent. This cemented me as an entrepreneur. The route to logistics and mining, which is currently the core of our business, occurred progressively through the years as the business evolved and strategic partnerships have been formed. 

TheCapeRobyn: The Beryl Group is named after your wife and colleague?

Neverl Kambasha: Correct, Beryl Group is my beautiful wife’s namesake. Furthermore ‘beryl’ is a mineral found in precious stones such as emeralds. It needs to be unearthed for its true beauty to be seen. This is why at Beryl Group, we believe in “Unearthing potential. Unlocking wealth.”

TheCapeRobyn: Reeling from the impact of Covid and lockdown on the economy, we need Shark Tank – to provide inspiration. Many people have lost everything but they haven’t lost their intellect, skills and vision. Shark Tank 2021 is focussed on investing “in the best businesses and products that South Africa and Africa has to offer.” It is Africa – not Europe, USA, Asia or Russia- on the table Comments on affirming our continent and looking to ourselves?

Neverl Kambasha: Absolutely. Without a doubt, Africa is the next frontier. Entrepreneurship will be vital in rerouting the continent’s economic trajectory. Shark Tank serves as a great platform where the best in African innovation and big thinking can be showcased. Ultimately, we want the businesses showcased on the show to reach international status. Undoubtedly we need a re-engineering of the nation and the continent’s economy- similar to what has been seen in North America, Asia, Europe and parts of South America, entrepreneurs, innovators and various industry pioneers, have shaped and redefined whole economies, particularly through the tech space.

TheCapeRobyn: Anything else to add about Shark Tank SA 2021, your company’s commitment and passion to entrepreneurship? 

Neverl Kambasha: We really want this to be one of the best seasons of the whole Shark Tank franchise. Our commitment and passion to seeing entrepreneurs developed, and seeing their potential unleashed remains unwavering. As Beryl Group, we will continue to invest in entrepreneurs, as we have been doing over the years, and even more so through platforms such as Shark Tank.

“Without a doubt, Africa is the next frontier. Entrepreneurship will be vital in rerouting the continent’s economic trajectory. Shark Tank serves as a great platform where the best in African innovation and big thinking can be showcased.” Neverl Kambasha, chair of Beryl Group.

   Related coverage of Shark Tank, South Africa on TheCapeRobyn

Television focus: Shark Tank South Africa 2nd season, 2021

❇ Image credit: Photo of Neverl Kambasha, supplied.