CAs (SA) are well-known not only for their business acumen but also for their leadership abilities and entrepreneurial spirit. Rayhaan Jhetam certainly has that entrepreneurial spirit and is making his mark with his recently opened gourmet popcorn shop, Maverick and Jane, situated in Rosebank.
Rayhaan was always destined for greatness: just last year, he was selected as one of the finalists in SAICA’s top 35-under-35 competition – which prizes successful young CAs (SA) doing well not only in their careers but their personal lives and communities too – and he has proven that the title was well-deserved.
He started his career doing his training contract at Deloitte Durban, after which he accepted an offer from KPMG in Abu Dhabi. Key assignments included professional services to the world’s second largest sovereign wealth fund, a newly established bank (that he later went on to join), advisory to private equities, and debt restructuring for Dubai government entities.
In 2011, Rayhaan accepted a position in business development in the CEO’s office at Al Hilal Bank, a newly established Islamic bank owned by the government of Abu Dhabi. “In this space, I jointly set up and led the department, formulated the bank’s five-year strategic plan, prepared the annual business plans, and performed feasibility studies of international expansion and acquisitions,” he explained as a 35-under-35 finalist.
Working at Al Hilal Bank gave Rayhaan experience in and a taste for start-ups: within four years of opening, it was ranked as one of the top 10 banks in the UAE and top three among eight Islamic banks. After six years in the UAE, though, he felt the time was right to come home. Upon his return, he took up a position at Barclays Africa in Business Performance and Analytics, but his heart was always in starting up his own business and making a difference.
“I really wanted to come back to SA with a clear agenda and commitment — there is so much work to be done here, in terms of unemployment, education and social welfare,” he said in an interview with Financial Mail. “I thought no matter how small, I could make a difference from an SME perspective.” And making a difference he certainly is: of the eight staff members working in Maverick and Jane, six were unemployed before.
He does still have his ‘day job’ at Barclays, too, acting as vice-president of group financial decision support. Persistence and hard work are vital to success, but the key is to never give up on what you want, even when the going gets tough – and it will get tough. “When you raise the bar and try to do something different and unique — expect challenges, it won’t come easy,” he advised in Financial Mail.
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