The Shambhala Organisation was founded by Dale Pudney in 2014, and aims to promote and support proudly LGBT business leaders. A trained engineer, Pudney’s involvement in management consulting led to an interest in entrepreneurial high growth business. He specialises in entrepreneurial strategy and enabling sustainable profitable growth by developing business models.
Pudney says The Shambhala Organisation was founded in an effort to give back to the community after becoming successful in business himself.
“I wanted to create something sustainable for the gay community, and leave a legacy for myself.”
Pudney spoke to friends who offered professional and leadership coaching, marketing consulting and other services. They opted to establish a “buy pink strategy” by focusing specifically on the gay market, to ultimately provide real value to the LGBT market.
Pudney says that the LGBT business community have the same challenges that all entrepreneurs face daily.
“We try to help them overcome those with our initiatives in Shambhala Performance. We are always trying to add service providers to expand The Shambhala Performance value proposition to the LGBT community.”
Bursaries for the LGBT community
The Shambhala Organisation offers scholarships to business owners, leaders and corporate professionals, aiming to establish role models for the community in the business world.
“To evaluate this, we look for evidence that they can achieve great things, have a history of contributing to the LGBT community and whose studies will help them improve their business performance. And, of course, what benefit they can provide to The Shambhala Organisation.”
“The scholarship program has 3 objectives: To develop LGBT business leaders, to build the brand in the LGBT community, and to achieve a greater impact in the community through the community service requirements.”
Pudney has an affinity for entrepreneurial drive, and the Shambhala Organisation provides the opportunity for investment in businesses that have a sustainable competitive advantage to service a real need in the market.
“This is my personal passion. I invest as an angel investor, taking an equity stake in the business and strategically advising the entrepreneurs to achieve the business’s potential.”
Pudney says that significant potential to grow, the management of the growth of the business, and a very detailed data driven business plan are key factors when Shambhala looks to invest.
“We can provide the strategic direction and mentorship, but the entrepreneur has to be able to go out and do it.”
The value of the pink rand
Pudney believes that the community in South Africa is still too divided for businesses to focus solely on LGBT consumers, but that the time has come for businesses that are LGBT-owned, LGBT-managed, and LGBT-friendly to identify as such and become role models in the community.
“The Shambhala Organisation is trying to build a community of LGBT business leaders and professionals, who will tend to have higher incomes. By working together, service providers will be able to access this attractive market more easily.”
The power of networking
In the spirit of Ubuntu, empowerment is linked to networking, and the Shambhala Organisation is fundamental in creating networks that service the LGBT community and business in general in South Africa.
“Networks are used by the most successful businesses to help get additional business and collaborate with other businesses. There are a number of initiatives that try to facilitate networking among LGBT businesses and professionals. The Shambhala Organisation is trying to provide such a service – to build a community of business leaders, who join and participate in the community because of the critical mass of value propositions we can offer each other.”