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Leonard Ndabambi is one of the lucky few who will be joining the first class of the Youth and Graduate Entrepreneurship (Y-AGE) programme.
Leonard, who works in customer services, applied for the programme to fulfil his dream of starting his own business.
He first heard about Y-AGE through Facebook. Soon afterwards, by coincidence, he was invited to attend a seminar at which motivational speaker Myles Munroe gave a speech titled Economic freedom in our lifetime. The seminar was organised by Oresego Holdings, the communications partner for Y-AGE, which is where Leonard first made contact with Y-AGE.
He was so motivated by Munroe’s talk – as well as one from Qedani Mahlangu, Gauteng MEC for Economic Development – that he decided to take the first step towards pursuing his entrepreneurial aspirations and fulfilling his dream.
He says the word “excited” does not begin to describe his feelings about becoming part of Y-AGE, because it is the opportunity of a lifetime.
His business idea is to start a company that will melt polystyrene in a non-polluting way using only natural materials.
Leonard says the concept is a big thing for him because he cares about protecting the environment.
He is looking forward to acquiring the skills he needs to run his business and to adjusting his way of thinking to fit the type of business he wishes to pursue.
He adds that he is proud to have been selected to go through the Y-AGE training, and is so eager to start that he is already making plans and trying to build up contacts in his chosen sector.
For now, he says, his main challenges are documenting his idea and drafting a business plan, and presenting the plan to the relevant market.
Like many other entrepreneurs, he wishes to create employment for his fellow South Africans, but perhaps his biggest motivating factor is that his business will be working towards saving the Earth.
Polystyrene takes hundreds of years to mix with the soil and decompose, so he will be using natural resources to melt it in minutes.
“Currently, this polystyrene is thrown away at dump sites, thus causing harm to the environment,” he says, “so I decided to come up with a system to get rid of all that waste and, of course, create employment in the process.”
Leonard says his wish is to work hand in hand with existing businesses towards saving the Earth.
The aim of Y-AGE is to turn the dreams of business ownership into a reality for Leonard and other young South Africans like him.