Ekurhuleni Activators moving entrepreneurship forward

Four Activators were recognised and presented with certificates for their entrepreneurial efforts by the Ekurhuleni Mayor Clr Mondli Gungubele on 11 June 2015. Activators Xolane Ngobozana, Mzwandile Msimanga, Palesa Madumo and Nathacia Olivier received awards under the category of ‘Youth Owned Businesses on the Move’, during a gala dinner which concluded the fourth annual Ekurhuleni Job Summit held at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Boksburg. 

The Job Summit concluded a two-day Career Expo which aimed to address the high rate of unemployment throughout the Ekurhuleni Metro. Metro spokesman, Themba Gadebe, believes the Career Expo and Job Summit brings together “civil society, business leaders and academics…in mapping a way forward on how to address the challenges of unemployment and low skill levels that the youth of Ekurhuleni are faced with”. In 2014, the Career Expo and Job Summit also afforded 10 000 youth the opportunity to submit their CVs to the youth unemployment database through which 335 unemployed youth were later placed in internship programmes. 

According to a Youth Enterprise Strategy report from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), despite the youth constituting 41.2% percent of the South African population, only around 6% of the South African youth are self-employed or are involved in entrepreneurial activities. With the youth unemployment rate in Ekurhuleni at an all-time high of 36.4%, it is imperative that the Metro recognises the efforts by young people to create entrepreneurship opportunities for themselves. ACTIVATE! spoke to the four Activators to find out more about why their businesses are on the move.

“In order to create a better tomorrow today, I had to create solutions not only for myself but for others as well and this how I started a social impact engineering agency, 4 MOOLA (Pty) Ltd,” says 29-year old Msimanga who works full time as the chief empowerment officer for YDIDi, an opportunity hub for the youth. It has been a long road for 4 Moola, transitioning from a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which was started in 2008 to being an independent, registered organisation since December 2013. Two of 4 Moola’s initiatives, GoEazy and IfaLemvelo, have received numerous awards including reaching the Top 8 at the 2015 GIBS Ideas Festival. At 4 Moola “we aim to unlock the potential of South Africa by engineering innovative game-changing initiatives that have a sustainable and positive impact”. 

Benoni-bred Xolane Ngobozana, also known as the Young CEO, is the co-founder and manager of Viruz Empire Entertainment (VEE). Since starting out in 2000 as a dance crew performing throughout the East Rand, Viruz Empire Entertainment has grown into a company which provides marketing, event promotion support and development, managing of signed recording artists and presents workshops across Ekurhuleni. “We came up with the idea of reviving arts in our community and other surrounding areas next to our township and realised we needed to develop, build and provide children with the opportunity to engage with the world of arts. VEE is creating jobs for unemployed young people in our communities,” writes Ngobozana on bozza.mobi. At the 2013 SAFU Awards Ngobozana’s efforts received the Best Achiever award and this year, the art maestro has been shortlisted for the Best Leader of the Year Award at the South African Awards.

CEO and founder of the Young Empowering Phenomenal (YEP) Movement, Palesa Madumo, writes on Facebook that “the YEP movement is for the people by the YOUTH! Its purpose is to help and serve our community and develop positive young people striving for success”. The YEP movement took off in 2014 with various career and motivational talks in the Wattville community. After being interviewed on 103.6 eKFM, the YEP movement celebrated their official launch at the end of May this year. “My blood, sweat & tears did not go to waste… I was invited to a business dinner and little did I know it was Ekurhuleni unicipality Mayoral Awards and shockingly so I was the second candidate to be called for an award! Youth Empowering Phenomenal Movement, we are going somewhere,” Madumo writes.

“I started Criar Investments because I saw a gap within my community and noticed how small businesses lacked financial assistance, marketing, corporate identity and support,” 26-year old entrepreneur Nathacia Olivier recently told Biz4Africa. As an integrated marketing entity, we fill in the gap for start-ups and SMMEs established and based in the East Rand. Criar Investments was officially registered in July 2012 and “we offer printing, brand activation, corporate branding, signage and design, graphic design and promotional services”. Olivier also shared her secret to entrepreneurial success with potential entrepreneurs on Biz4Africa, “never give-up no matter what circumstance you may be facing; work hard with integrity and always look after your clients, form a strong relationship with them and always be honest”. 

Calling All Young Change Makers to Shape SA’s Future and Join ACTIVATE! Youth Network for 2016! Applications for ACTIVATE! 2016 are now open. To apply, click the Apply Now button on the ACTIVATE! homepage at www.activateleadership.co.za.

Additional resource for more information on entrepreneurship: The new wave of entrepreneurship

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