In 2017, Vodacom and the Innovator Trust established the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP). Aimed at equipping local unemployed youth with the skills of becoming cutting-edge entrepreneurs, the tailor-made programme is designed to drive innovation and create job opportunities that could bring significant changes to the local economy. Recently, 9 young entrepreneurs graduated from the YEP programme in Gauteng, and 27-year-old Zanele Ndebele received a Top Achievement Award.
Describing herself as a hardworking go-getter, Zanele made it through the rigorous selection process to participate in the Programme and focus on her long term goals: “I want to open an events company that can handle all types of events, from corporate to personal,” she says.
Developing business acumen
Among the business training she received during the programme, Zanele learned how to develop her idea, business model and event company business plan. She was afforded opportunity to manage the event requirements for the YEP Graduation.
Zanele echoes that “creativity and discipline is needed for future business and YEP equipped me in developing my skills, confidence and marketing a business and how to be business-minded,” says Ndebele, adding that some of the industry-specific learnings, she gained from the Programme includes time-management skills, organisational skills, and effective communication.
“We have different skills and you have to use them all together; you can’t use only one skill at a time. I’ve learned that I should arrive hours ahead of clients and guests. YEP also taught me to communicate with suppliers and attendees and being efficient in projects.”
It has not been an easy road for Zanele, who had to overcome her fear of failure. “Being afraid to fail stopped me from going for the things I wanted in life, my goals.” If she could turn back the clock and give her younger self some advice, it would be to “never give up”. “Things take time. Pursuing your goals or having a successful business doesn’t happen overnight, and when you get impatient with yourself just remember that eventually, you will get there.”
Being named Top Achiever
Despite with the assisting of the graduation event, it came as a surprise to Zanele to hear her name being called as a “YEP Top Achiever”.
“I participated in the planning of the graduation event, and this was the only surprise, so when I heard my name, I was surprised! It was an honor to graduate - I’m so proud of myself.”
Where to next?
Since the Programme has now come to an end, it’s not the end of the road for Ndebele. This young entrepreneur plans to study further and learn as much as she can about business administration and business management. “I want to gain more experience and become a successful entrepreneur.”