Mzansi Innovators- Discovery Insure Founder, Themba Baloyi

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Meet the young South African Innovative Entrepreneur, the Founder and Executive Director of Discovery Insure- the man who launched the business 3 years ago when He was 34 Themba Baloyi, a very humble yet full of presence individual started Discovery Insurance in 2003 with valuable assistance from Discovery Director Barry Swartzberg after having pitched the idea to Discovery CEO Adrian Gore in 2003 who encouraged Themba to pursue it.

I must admit for a while I thought they were referring to another Discovery Insure brand because the Discovery I know is the huge South African brand which holds Discovery Health. However, the man they were introducing on stage was too young to be a founder of Discovery Insure when they introduced him at one of the events as a guest speaker. He took the stage with confidence and radiance and right there he put up the Discovery Insure logo and it was the very same huge company we all know. Mind you he shared the stage with Dr Myles Munroe.

Now how does one get to become as successful as Themba? There is this famous saying now that most successful people are college drop-outs but here is a man who shows that trends don’t always get you ahead, what separates a gardener from a landscaper is Education. Themba is a cost and management accountant by training, and holds a Henley Executive MBA. In addition to this he holds the following qualifications:

· 1999, Supervisory Management, Graduate Institute of Management and Technology (GIMT);
· 2002, Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administrators, South Africa;
· 2003, Discovery Leadership Academy, Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS);
· 2004, Leadership Advancement Programme University of Cape Town- Graduate School of Business (UCT/ GSB).

Themba is not only well educated but is also a decision makers in a variety of institutions, he is a board member of the Henley Business School Academic Board; South African Insurance Association (SAIA); and the South African Insurance Crime Bureau (SAICB). In 2003 he co-founded the Black Insurance Professionals of Southern Africa (BIPSA).

Themba is full of energy yet one can see he is grounded and very well informed. He is surrounded by great minds in his team and outside his work. He is a pragmatic business mentor and impacts many lives especially of the youth. He is proof that you don’t have to be from a wealthy family to be an entrepreneur who comes up with innovative ways to play a pivotal role in South Africa’s economy and it does not hurt to take on huge global institutions to demonstrate your ideas to them. Mr Baloyi inspires us all to go out there to do great exploits and to have the humility to come back to your people and remind them that they too matter.

Today at Discovery Insurance, he is one of the leaders in the insurance business and puts innovation ahead to stay abreast. Many South Africans have been encouraged to join the Discovery Insure Driving Challenge where South Africans compete using the app to see who is the best driver in the country. This of course is an innovative way to get motorists behaving well on the road which not only saves Discovery Insure money but also saves many lives with the death toll on our roads rapidly increasing and this challenge adds the element of social innovation to solving one of the country’s biggest challenge.

It is important for us to embrace that we go into business to solve real life problems and then spend our energy and efforts looking for ways to monetise these solutions, says Themba. The challenge is to forget about money when you are seeking to find a breakthrough solution and completely focus on lasting solutions, I know it sounds contrary to the very idea of going into business for many people. The point is, if you are solving a problems and doing it well, people will pay you for doing that, says Themba Baloyi. Discovery Insure is a direct manifestation of practical solutions to real problems in the society.

Themba is a true Innovator and we look forward to more innovations which he will be unveiling to the nation and the world at large as he gradually grows to become a global icon fresh from the African soil. People like Themba Baloyi, Siyabulela Xuza and Ludwik Marishane keep showing the world that Africa has great leaders and they make global impact in the most positive of ways. Nunnovation looks forward to writing more about young Africans doing big things through innovation which involves social innovation.