“If you believe in yourself, I will believe in you. If you are determined to realise your potential and to change your life and the lives of those around you, I will be there for you and together we can pay it forward and make a difference.”
Martin Moshal was born in Durban, South Africa, in 1970. Even whilst at school Martin had already set his sights on business, pursuing a diverse range of ideas and interests. Most ended in failure but that did not discourage him. Martin firmly believes that there is no secret formula for success, other than hard work, motivation and a lot of patience. But there is also a large amount of luck. “I was lucky enough to have been given two things that, more than anything else, helped me on the road to success – a good education and the support and encouragement of my family to believe in myself.”
After school, Martin went on to the University of Cape Town to do a university degree in information systems, finance, accounts, business administration and economics. After university, Martin got involved in the Internet, and started a software contracting company, which he later sold. Today Martin is a successful Venture Capital investor, advising a variety of companies and is involved in several technology and real estate investments, as well as start-ups.
Growing up in South Africa in the 70s and 80s, Martin witnessed first-hand the inequalities of the country’s education system. Even today, children growing up in disadvantaged families are denied the opportunity of going to a good university simply because of their financial circumstances.
“How many potential Einsteins and Bill Gates are we losing? How different would the world look today if everyone had the opportunity to realise their potential?” Martin describes this as “one of the greatest ongoing tragedies – both past and present” and that “education is the most effective route out of poverty.”
This led Martin to establish the Moshal Scholarship Program in 2009. “As a businessman I believe that education provides some of the highest returns for your money.” While there are no financial strings attached to the scholarships, Martin strongly encourages a spirit of making a difference to others once students are in a position to do so. “Pay it forward,” he tells all Moshal Scholars, “wherever and whenever you have the opportunity to help others. It doesn’t have to be in money. It can be in time, advice or effort. “