Leadership Spotlight – Professor Mills Soko, Director of UCT GSB

March 16, 2017
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Tell us about your company and your role?

I am Director of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB). My role is to lead the business school, drive its vision and strategy, maintain its financial viability, engage with key external stakeholders and work closely with the senior leadership group to promote the strategic objectives of the university.

What is the best thing about running a business in Cape Town?

Cape Town has a dynamic business environment that is underpinned by strong competitive advantages, including world-class companies, well-developed infrastructure, effective public sector governance and top tertiary education institutions. The city is also a cultural and innovation hub, as well as a popular tourist destination.

What areas do you think need to be improved to enhance the business environment in Cape Town?

There needs to be greater support for small businesses, whose challenges and needs are different from those of big firms. Bureaucratic red tape and onerous compliance costs are a problem and must be reduced. Also, Cape Town remains a segregated city and significant sections of the population are excluded from business opportunities. This is not conducive to building an inclusive local economy.

How would you describe Cape Town’s business community?

It is a vibrant and enterprising business community. The city’s abundant business opportunities, as well as its magnificent social and cultural attractions, are a magnet for entrepreneurs, innovators and creative people.

What do you think is currently required to develop a long-term vision and future strategy for the Cape Town city region?

Invest in infrastructure, especially in upgrading and expanding the road network, to accommodate growth in the city, forge better business-government partnerships, and build a more integrated city that draws on the entrepreneurial talents of all racial groups.

What are your hidden gems or favourite spots to visit in the Cape Town city region?

Kirstenbosch Gardens, Newlands Forest, Green Point Park, Seapoint promenade and Muizenberg beach. I also love watching football, going to jazz clubs and eating out.

What would you choose as a tag line for Cape Town as a business city?

“Cape Town: a place for doing business.”

Whom do you most admire in the business world?

I admire self-made entrepreneurs and business people – those who started their enterprises with nothing and achieved great success.

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