Drawing on lessons learned throughout his life and 30-year Coca-Cola career, Muhtar Kent recently shared a few words of wisdom with a group of young entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

“Like you, I was given the great gift of meeting and befriending wonderful people from distant lands and all walks of life,” the Coke chairman and CEO told the students representing eight countries, who recently completed the month-long Coca-Cola MENA Entrepreneur Scholarship & Education Program.

Kent offered four key pieces of advice with the young social entrepreneurs:

1.      Never eat alone. Maintain and build your relationships, and always be open to meeting new people and learning from them. Personal connections are invaluable.

2.      Building a business—your own or someone else’s—is not about success. It’s about repeating success, again and again.

3.      Develop an abiding respect for cash. Keep some on you at all times. Touch it, feel it and know it’s real. Never let money become an abstraction.

4.      Learn something new every day. You’re either growing… or you’re losing ground. There’s no standing still.

“Remember also that this is your start-up phase – your chance to be a great agent for positive change,” Kent concluded. “Chances are, you won’t start out perfectly, but don’t see your missteps as mistakes. Instead, they’re opportunities for learning new perspectives."