Making Friends with Failure


Welcome to our new section which features articles, opportunities and resources for mentors and business development practitioners.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

All too often when something goes badly wrong in a business, to the point of no repair or recovery, the immediate response is dreadful. One can be stuck feeling ashamed and regretful, full of what-ifs and should-have-dones. But what if we cast a new light on failure? How do we help entrepreneurs become comfortable with analysing failure as a way to break through to success in their next endeavour?

As South Africans we have a paranoid fear about exposing our failures – and one of the reasons our service delivery is so shocking, is because everyone hides their failures, preventing any learning from them. Creating a softer climate, one that recognises that  failure is often the catalyst for future success, and is essential for true creativity to emerge,  is key to our progress as a nation.

In this first resource for mentors, Enterprise Development and Supplier Development practitioners, we would like to introduce you to an NGO called Fail Forward, who celebrate failure and even hold Failure Faires! Can you believe it? Enjoy their Failure Report guideline, found here.

Do you have a story of failure – your own, or an entrepreneur you have mentored – that offered a chance to radically rework a plan? Please share your story for a future issue of Catalyst. Email:


Fail ForwardFail Forward was created with the belief that dealing with failure intelligently will be the driver we need to improve the way we learn, innovate, and find the agility to stay relevant and competitive. I