‘The dream doesn’t work unless you do!’ – Quinton van der Burgh, Head of Global Initiatives for AXIA, discusses success & global trends
By Charndré Emma Kippie
An entrepreneur with his finger on the pulse of business, Quinton Van Der Burgh is one of South Africa’s ultimate success stories. A true maverick with extensive knowledge of marketing, mergers, business development in the car, telecom, import/export, industrial property development, trading and mining industries. Quinton managed Voda-Telle International for five years and grew the company to trade in over 12 countries. For Quinton, the AXIA ecosystem is “a game changer” in the global business sector.
He started several successful businesses before he started Quinton Van Der Burgh Investments which is a major shareholder in companies focused predominantly in the energy and technology sectors. One of which he is most passionate about is Media, QVDB Media is a full turnkey media company that specialises in original content creation having developed numerous reality TV shows and now ventures into feature film investment. A business man with a big heart, he is the President of Generosity Water Africa, a company that has given more than 415‚000 people access to clean drinking water.
What is your vision for 2021 as the Head of Global Initiatives for AXIA?
I am focusing on the key elements of the struggles in South Africa and Africa at the moment, to try and bring attention to and create a Covid-19 relief fund through AXIA and its database of customers worldwide. I will also be focusing attention on the multiple foundations we are supporting currently. I think it’s greatly needed, not only the fact that we can bring a lot of visibility to the multiple causes and issues around the world right now, but that we can all do our part and contribute something small to each of these foundations.
What will this new role at AXIA entail?
Taking into consideration that we run a foundation in Africa (the Quinton van der Burgh Foundation), we have a full foundation team that is supported through my business endeavours, making sure that there are no leakages, making sure that all the money and all of the applications we put towards these causes are 100 percent delivered. I would like to implement the same strategy worldwide with 143 of the foundations, and make sure that there are solid teams supporting the initiatives. We guarantee that we help to bring assistance and awareness to these global charitable needs to whatever magnitude we can do so.
Please could you tell us a bit about your background – what led you down this career path?
I’ve been in business for almost 25 years now, and I have always been very diverse in my approach to opportunities and understanding the fundamentals of what is working at the time. I think by taking my business interests in the energy sector (for which I have been involved in for the last 16 years) and developing one of the largest coal portfolios in SA, has made me realise that project development is really my forte.
I love getting into a market and being very disruptive and always striving to be the best at what my business offering can do in SA and globally. With regards to the Axia opportunity, I saw the potential in diversifying (again) into something I have been following for some time, knowing that’s where the world is heading, digital finance. Knowing that I needed to get involved sooner than later, alongside Nick (the AXIA CEO) and the rest of the amazing team, knowing the philanthropic changes we could make excites me.
I believe in what AXIA stands for and what we all hope to achieve moving forward. It’s not only making a change in a philanthropic manner, but to also change the way people use and transact globally with their monies digitally. People can now make money for themselves from all spectrums in the world, and Axia’s entire ecosystem and structure talks about how I have wanted to help revolutionise the digital world. We hope that with this ripple effect, we become one of the largest global currencies that can support third world banking structures and be a game changer for everyone.
What 3 tips do you have for successfully executing solutions in your field?
- Having a very good idea that has been thoroughly thought through, that has got a lot of scope and a lot of research needs to be done to check if that idea can work in the economy.
- Being able to execute that idea effectively and efficiently – making sure that your business plan is solid.
- Persistence, If you don’t have this very important quality in business to see it through, it will ultimately end up in failure. I always believe in having the best team, best resources around me at all given times, and to execute my idea and never give up. Persistence is what is key for me.
In your opinion, what global trends should businesses be looking out for?
- Firstly, it starts with money and where it’s going in the world. I do believe that most economies and countries have been crippled during this pandemic.
- Right now there may be speculation about the digital space but moving forward I expect more countries to transform and adapt more to digital transactions. It’s not a question of “if it’s going to happen” but rather “when will it happen”.
- Most businesses will question whether they can sustain digital trends and whether their current business growth can sustain economic trends by hopefully developing new mechanisms to create money and opportunity for investment that I believe the digital space provides in abundance.
- If you look at how things have changed in the last 12 years in the Crypto space and the evolution of the space, it’s similar to how mobile phones started, very slow in the beginning and now almost everyone around the world owns a mobile phone. If you look at the digital space, it’s a very similar model and projection we are heading towards in the next 5 years. I can see many more countries evolving into the digital space and how they transact and do business. New financial models and instruments will help underdeveloped countries in doing better and help the general public who can’t afford to bank or transact, I believe the digital space has the ability to do this.
What is your ‘why?’ (Why are you passionate about the work you do?)
The “why” for me is a very important question and it’s based on my journey and where I have come from. The fact that I have been able to run a very successful foundation and change many people’s lives, not only from a foundation and people’s perspective, but also for the people that work in my company. The more I am able to grow and develop, the more I am able to give back to people who have been riding the business journey alongside me. I have reached my peak of being excited about most things in life. I think the “why” part becomes more meaningful when I am more successful in the future, so that I can give more back. That’s why the Axia project resonates with me. I have been doing great initiatives in Africa and now I get to make a change on a global platform, I will be able to touch millions of people’s lives through the work we are about to do and that alone gets me out of bed in the morning in good spirits and ready to make a difference.
Have you read any books or listened to any podcasts that have inspired you and your career thus far?
I have never read a book in my life. I have never read any books that cover inspiration or success stories in business but I think through being a true serial entrepreneur you learn about all the things that books try to teach you – the ethos of evolving and trying to develop yourself in business.
You need to realise that you are never going to become that person from the book or emulate their journey. You will always be on your own journey, others peoples guidance can only give you inspiration to go out there and achieve your goals. I try to do the same in my own space from lessons I have learnt from past mistakes. That’s what I try to talk about and teach. The points that people take from reading those books is to obtain inspiration and hopefully the persistence to go out there, do it for yourself and follow your passion. Be persistent in your journey and in what you want, and never give up. Out of the hundreds of books you’re going to read, they will all carry the same message, and that is ‘persistence’.
What is your definition of ‘success’ and why?
Success is a very interesting one as people normally define success by the things you have, or the perception of what people think you have is defined on success these days. I believe to be truly seen as successful, you have to have a life of choice and that choice is to hopefully give back and help others to do better for themselves. If you can truly understand and believe that, then success will become a natural part of your day and you will be successful within yourself and not have to define that by owning possessions or what you have. When you reach the point that you feel you are truly successful, you can wake up in the morning and see that you’ve changed the lives of others around you for the better and lift them beyond the notion of their own success, I think that is when you can say that you are successful.
What advice do you have for future generations who want to work in your field?
My field is tricky as I am a serial entrepreneur with multiple portfolios. To take on this much diversity, you need to know what you are getting yourself into. My advice is that it [success] comes from sacrifice and what you are willing to put into it. The dream doesn’t work unless you do! Future generations have to be made aware that in order to be successful, you will have to give a lot of things up: your personal life, your loved ones, your time. If you’re willing to do that and put the hours in, and truly “eat, sleep and drink your career”, then I believe you will achieve your success.
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