Twenty-five young African entrepreneurs are back from their successful international job shadowing, business training and mentorship in Germany and Italy. Running for the fourth year, the Young Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP) is an IBA Global (Pty) Ltd and Amaanah Business Consulting initiative. The programme offers aspiring and established young African entrepreneurs a chance to absorb business skills from top international mentors.
Lindiwe Dibatana (32), the joint owner of a grocery shopping service company, is one of the 2013 participants who travelled to Pforzheim, Germany. While in Germany she was placed at two hospitals that delivered pre-cooked food to old age centres and to homes of the elderly. She was also at a wholesale company that sells German brands and does door-to-door deliveries.
“I learned so much from the trip and I’m motivated to grow the business and establish a warehouse that sells South African brands and distributes to other African countries because I have seen the model working efficiently in another country,” Lindiwe explains. Lindiwe also got the opportunity to visit various German companies that want to expand to South Africa and expressed her interest in being their agent. “The experience also revealed that South Africa is not too far off from developed countries, we just have to use the opportunities we have but also create new opportunities,” she indicates.
Lindiwe’s idea to start the grocery shopping service came about four years ago when she was pregnant and her husband was away. “I couldn’t drive to shops to buy groceries and tried the existing online shopping services but found the process time consuming because you have to register. I have simplified my business by enabling customers to place an order by emailing, faxing or SMSing, we then conveniently deliver to their doorsteps,” she says. Lindiwe is also passionate about making a difference through his business; her company employs female prisoners on parole for a minimum of a year who go on to be employed by other companies. “The skills that they gain play a key role in their rehabilitation because they are often shunned by society,” she says.
Another participant is Ontiretse Mosiane (21), the owner of Corporate Youth, a monthly digital magazine that offers practical business guidelines to youth. Ontiretse started the business in 2012 and employs six permanent staff members. “I was placed at an IT Solutions company in Italy; we are currently in talks regarding a project that can help rural schools access the internet. With my knowledge of the South African market and the public and private sector, I think we can work well together and make the project a success,” he says.
Ontiretse also got the opportunity to travel to Germany where he learned from a company that assists with corporate identity material. “The lessons gained there will help with further developing the magazine, this includes optimizing the magazine for cellphones and tablets and making the magazine more interactive through videos and hyperlinks,” he says. Ontiretse is currently finalizing his BCom Law Degree, his long term goals include breaking into all forms of media such as TV and radio and using his branding and marketing expertise to consult for European companies who want to venture into the South African market.
According to Emiley Vollmer, IBA Global President, the winning formula for the YEP programme is the business training that candidates undergo before traveling which culminates into a one page business plan. “This ensures that when the host companies receive our candidates they see a fully-fledged entrepreneur ready to do business with them. The value of investments and contracts signed this year is at R77million. In addition, the international mentors will visit South Africa later this year to conduct reviews and ascertain how well the entrepreneurs have integrated their skills and experiences into the day-to-day running of their businesses,” says Vollmer.
Yershen Pillay, NYDA Executive Chairperson, says “we are pleased that the programme was once again a success and participants walked away with valuable knowledge, skills and networks that they can use to develop their businesses, create jobs and contribute towards the South African economy.”