Chivas Venture SA finalist Hustlenomics was awarded R700 000 in No-Strings Funding. Pic: Supplied
Chivas Venture SA finalist Hustlenomics was awarded R700 000 in No-Strings Funding. Pic: Supplied

Chivas Venture SA finalist Hustlenomics awarded R700 000 in funding

By Partnered Content Time of article published Apr 9, 2020

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Each year the Chivas Venture – a global initiative of leading blended Scotch whisky Chivas Regal - gives away $1 Million in no-strings funding to startups who blend profit with purpose to have a positive impact on the world.

Chivas Venture SA finalist Hustlenomics was awarded R700 000 in No-Strings Funding.

Responding to an urgent need for global action the organizers of the Chivas Venture 2020 have announced that, as the Global Finals cannot take place, this year’s prize money will be shared equally among the 26 Finalists from countries across the globe, with immediate effect. This is due to the current global COVID-19 outbreak. 

We chat to Chivas Venture 2020 SA Finalist Nhlanhla Ndlovu, founder of Hustlenomics, a for profit impact driven social enterprise that works to replace informal backyard shacks with affordable sustainable housing using innovative building technology.  

Q&A with Chivas Venture SA Finalist Nhlanhla Ndlovu 

Q: Nhlanhla, before we find out what this funding means for you and the team, just briefly tell us what Hustlenomics is all about and how it helps the community.


We assist low-income households that cannot get access to traditional home improvement financing and give them the opportunity to own these structures using our innovative financing model. Our team comprises of women and youth, and we upskill them by training them in interlocking brick manufacturing and sustainable building methods. We also use recycled builders rubble to manufacture our bricks to have environmental impact. Essentially, we replace informal backyard shacks in Soweto with affordable rental accommodation for backyard shack dwellers. This ultimately generates a stable and sustainable income for the homeowner. 

Q: You’ve already walked quite a journey with the Chivas Venture, since you were named SA Finalist in January. What are your thoughts about the decision that the global organizers have taken to split the prize money between the 26 Finalists this year? 


I think due to these extreme circumstances I understand the compromise that is being made, that ensures that each finalist does not go home empty-handed.  It’s really put me at ease. I think it’s a fair compromise to give each finalist an equal share of the $1 milllion prize money. The prize money is more than enough to take Hustlenomics to the next level, so I am very happy – and very appreciative.

I think that one of the greatest benefits of being part of this platform is the potential it provides to forge partnerships with people in the future, and so far I’ve been contacted by quite a few potential funders who heard about Hustlenomics in the news or heard me speaking during a radio interview. I will be keeping in touch with everyone I’ve met.  One of the saddest losses for me personally resulting from the cancellation of the Global Accelerator and the Global Finals is that I will not get to meet the other finalists. We were looking forward to meeting each other and working with each other then. I hope that there is a next time for me!

Q: How will the R700 000 funding help you and the Hustlenomics team navigate this difficult time? 


The funding means we can plan ahead and be assured that our projects for the rest of the year are covered.  It will cover 18 projects that will roll out later in the year, because everything has come to a grinding halt now, of course.  This funding will enable us to be self-sustainable and having it in place gives me the room to seek other funding. One of the biggest benefits of being awarded this funding and of being associated with Chivas Venture is that this will unlock other funding.  

Another good decision that will help me over this difficult time is that the Global Accelerator will go ahead and I will still receive mentorship support from respected entrepreneur Andile Khumalo throughout the Accelerator period.  He was a key judge at the SA Finals. The sessions are being recorded now and when we have access to then, I will be working through them with Andile.  

Especially now with the Lockdown in progress in South Africa, it will be a good time to dedicate myself to completing the modules.  his is my ray of light during this difficult time. 



Nhlanhla (35) was raised in a tiny four-roomed house in Soweto, just outside Johannesburg, which he shared with his large family. Having to share such a small living space while going through all the growth stages of becoming a man, inspired and motivated him to build his own space in the family yard. 

His bricklaying skills were put to the test while building a formal structure in the backyard, and he joined forces with friends, who were skilled in plumbing and carpentry. Together they built his first structure in his own backyard, and it is this same structure that was recently used by the family to expand their living space and create a dignified home. In 2005 he embraced an opportunity to upskill and qualify as a builder. 

From this experience, Nhlanhla saw an opportunity for a business that would benefit others in the same way.  He knew that many families in and around the townships across South Africa had the same need. From here, the idea was born to focus on identifying low-income homes with backyard shacks that could benefit from being replaced with formal structures. Nhlanhla started the business in 2015 and works from his home in Soweto.  

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