Hlanganiso Matangaidze (Niso) was awarded the title after founding an innovative wind energy company.
By David Nesrallah.
Determination, talent, initiative and leadership. These are just a few of the reasons why University of Sussex student Hlanganiso Matangaidze (Niso) was named one of the Top 10 Rare Rising Stars.
Niso is an Economics and Finance student and founder of the RED GROUP, an innovative company which distributes solar energy technology to everyday homes. It’s safe to say that Niso is an exemplary and inspiring student, so The Badger have met up with him to find out more about his story, his motivations, and his advice to budding entrepreneurs.
How did it feel being named one of the Top 10 Rare Rising Stars?
It was very surreal. I’m feeling very grateful as I know there are many people who are doing similar things, if not more, so I’m feeling really grateful.
How has the University of Sussex helped you develop your skills?
Definitely through networking and meeting other people. Going to University for most is the first step outside your comfort zone, leaving home and forcing yourself to interact with people with different backgrounds and through that you can learn a lot about yourself.
How important to you is that your company, i.e. RED GROUP, focuses on helping the environment and not just financial gain?
Funnily enough the whole reason I decided to go down that avenue is because I heard a story of a son telling his father “One day I’m going to be a businessman and make 100 times more money than you.” to which the father responded “You shouldn’t see business in that sense. If you can fix a problem for a billion people and only get £1 for helping someone, eventually you will earn 1 billion. So, focus on helping first and eventually the financial gain will come after but make sure you’re adding value to society and a positive change.” Giving yourself a good social ethos first is a really good starting point and you can build a business from there.
A lot of young people are starting to decline universities in favour of starting their own businesses. Do you think going to university helps or hinders you starting your business?
In my honest opinion going to university or not going to university will not impact starting a business either way. Personally, I aim to finish my degree to the best of my ability as I don’t like the idea of a half-done job. Once that’s done, I’ll definitely devote more of my time into the business. There have been times when I had to juggle running a business and a university degree and I found myself spreading myself thin and it was cutting into my social life however I want to do both, so I had to push through. On the other hand, university can give you a lot of opportunities if you look for them.
Do you have any advice for the 2019 freshers?
Be open minded and try to meet as many people as you can and explore different things. As hard as it may sound, be yourself while making sure to try different things. University is a great time to discover things that you actually like and who you actually are, as cheesy as that sounds. University gives you that independence to really express yourself and try things out. I’ve been at uni for the past two years and the difference between who I am today and who I was when I started is unreal.
What are you up to nowadays?
I’m currently interning at a property company (Caridon Property). I met the managing director of this company from a start-up competition that my company was going through called Young Start Up Talent and they had members of the company be the judges. We exchanged contact details to find out we had a similar business layout based on a social ethos helping people who aren’t doing well get on the property ladder.