Palesa Moloi studied Accounting and qualified as a CA before returning to her passion for technology by creating a parking app that aims to alleviate parking issues across the world. She tells us how her education and involvement with the Startup School
have contributed to her entrepreneurial journey so far.
Founded by some of South Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs and supported by Investec, the Startup School offers online courses that are supported by experienced teams of education, coaching and entrepreneurial specialists.
Did you always want to be a Chartered Accountant?
Not quite. When I was six years old, my dad bought home this old, red cloth-covered book filled with inventions from the father of science, Galileo Galilei and Albert Einstein. I was fascinated. I also remember getting my first computer at a similar age. One day it crashed, and I saw all this code on the screen which made me curious to explore more.
In high school, I was asked what I wanted to become, and I replied, “I want to be a technologist”. Everyone burst out laughing because at the time, the term wasn’t so popular. Embarrassed, I tucked away all my books about science and tech, together with my keyboard and mouse, and was then channelled into accounting.
I do really value the CA qualification because it’s taught me a lot about business, especially having had the privilege to get a sneak peek into different companies from various industries - numbers do tell a story. For me accounting is retrospective, while science and tech are more forward-thinking and give you a canvas on which to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
Failure redirected me back to my passion. I’ve learnt over the years to embrace learning through experimentation and failing. I’m currently studying Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence through the Explore Data Science Academy
- so I’m really excited to have the best of both worlds.
How did you come to join Investec’s Start up School?
I joined Startup School while I was doing my articles because I felt that I lacked an entrepreneurial perspective.
Coming from an accounting background, you account for transactions and see the paper trail without really knowing where it all started and the work that needed to be put in, in order to build the giant companies we see today.
I was so blown away by the content of the programme. It helped me gain a new perspective on how you go about building a global brand. It felt like a mini MBA and I saw that I too can build an exponential organisation. It helped me expand my ambition and weave this into our company vision.