as shared with Shift ONE digital
Lili Bouwer Niemann is an international award-winning entrepreneur who is passionate about inspiring people, education, impacting lives, being an entrepreneur and an agent of change. Lili Niemann started her business in 1994 at the age of 37, while lecturing at University of Port Elizabeth (UPE) and conducting research for her master’s degree in music. She approached a local school and offered to teach them music. It was through this that she realised some of the children struggled with maths which is when she launched her first school.
Lili Niemann’s humble PE-based township school has since blossomed into E-Square Education – a full spectrum education group that consisting of a Campus (Onsite learning and Teaching ) and an Online Education platform e Cube Online Learning. Ed u College( Port Elizabeth ) Ed u City Campus Ed u Options Academy Private schools plus Rara Avis Foundation form part of the onsite Campus.
This inner-city institution, campus and online learning facility has housed more than 37 100 learners and students with alumni who have excelled both nationally and internationally.
Lili Nieman also went on to found the Rara Avis Foundation which generates funding for bursaries and scholarships, which are made available to underprivileged learners and students who excel academically in sports or music. Through this foundation, Lili Niemann has been able to offer scholarships and bursaries to learners who excel academically. She has also been able to help those in whom she has seen this same intention and hunger to succeed that has driven her.
Lili Niemann shares a few tips on entrepreneurship in the hopes of inspiring others and highlighting how living a life of intention can open doors for anyone who is brave enough to take the first step towards the life they want.
1. Have a Clear Intention
Lili believes that salvation comes from within and that people need to take charge of their lives, and not stand idly by in the hopes that life will happen to them. She says that people are the drivers of their own destiny and that when she started her business 26 years ago she had a clear vision for her business. Her 25-year vision was to become a global business and today she has achieved this goal.
“People underestimate the power of intention and vision,” says Lili Niemann. “It is all about having intention and following your vision passionately, as this is what creates purpose in people’s lives and gives them the energy they need to succeed.” Which is what Lili learnt when she started her business 26 years ago and is why she wants to help others change their lives for the better.
2. You Don’t Need Skills – but a positive attitude, determination to succeed and learn while running a business and a mentor.
When Lili Niemann started out she didn’t know anything about marketing, finance or human resources and in her opinion did not have much of a talent for it either, but despite this was able to succeed which showed her that people are capable of creating their own success.
“There are no excuses and no limits,” says Lili. “Not knowing about something shouldn’t hold you back from jumping in headfirst while your advisors are available.”
According to Lili everyone has weaknesses and limitations but if people focus on their strengths it will make the world of difference in their lives and in the lives of those they touch.
3. You Don’t Need Money
People often think that they need money to pursue their passion. This can be a barrier that stands between them and their dreams, but it shouldn’t be. For Lili having a strong and supportive network, whether that be from one’s family or community is more important than financial support when it comes to pursuing one’s passion.
“You need to stop being afraid of reaching out and asking others for help, especially from those who are a few steps ahead of you,” advises Lili. “That’s when you’ll see how willing others are to help you. As long as you are happy to return the favour down the line and keep passing it on. Be generous.”
4. Be Curious, Be Grateful, Be Kind
“I believe that we should always strive to do the right thing, by yourself and by others, because doing the right thing enriches and feeds the soul,” says LIli. “If you do this regularly it will help you better hear your inner voice and make right choices.”
Before falling asleep each night Lili works through her list of things to be grateful for as she believes that being positive and curious about life is what gives her energy and that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is what is responsible for her constant feeling of happiness and joy.
5. Give Back
Lili believes that fulfilment comes from having a cause and helping others. Giving back has given her a sense of purpose that has transformed her life.
When Lilli launched the Rara-Avis foundation she saw the joy of helping others first-hand; she now has many stories of changed lives that gives her great happiness to think about and makes the sacrifices along the way worthwhile.
6. Keep Changing
For Lili, transformation never ends. “Life is not stagnant, people need to keep changing over and over and over again,” says Lili. “While It’s not easy to constantly keep growing by adapting, looking within and doing the work on yourself that needs to be done, it is an essential component of human existence.”
Lili Niemann concludes that her purpose in life is to show people that they can take control of their own destiny and change the world.
“A life not examined is a life not worth living.” – Socrates