Q&A with Chivas Venture SA finalist Nhlanhla Ndlovu
What inspired you to participate in Chivas Venture this year?
I’ve been following Chivas Venture for the past few years and I did try to apply earlier but I wasn’t ready. Most social entrepreneurs know of Chivas Venture. It’s known as one of the best platforms for getting international funding. I waited until I thought I had a chance and entered this year. I felt that I was ready as the application process helps you to see where to improve and by this year I had done this.
What does being selected as the SA Finalist mean to you? How will it impact your venture?
The recognition and validation for the work we’re doing - that is what means the most to me. Just being chosen as one of the 4 finalists means that people believe you’re onto something good that will benefit the country. It’s very rewarding to hear that our work is making a difference – and that it’s important enough to receive this kind of recognition.
Being selected puts Hustlenomics in the spotlight and increases our chances of funders reaching out to me. This has actually happened already as a result of one of the radio interviews. Attending the global accelerator in London in March, will mean that I get to share knowledge with other social entrepreneurs in a space where we can learn from each other. The actual skills that will be imparted, will help me improve my own business model. The exposure to international funders will definitely increase the chance of investment being made in Hustlenomics.
What was it like pitching to the local judging panel? Were you nervous or excited?
I was actually nervous and excited. I was more nervous when I heard I was selected as one of the four finalists. For me, making it through to the final four candidates for South Africa was a big achievement. Whichever way it went, I would have regarded it as a success. Pitching to the judging panel wasn’t easy and they really asked insightful questions to check that I knew exactly what I was doing. I think I impressed them. Also, the pitching location was well thought through as I pitched solo to the judging panel. This is far better than being present for all the pitches made by the finalists.
How will you invest the funding if do win at the Global Finals in June?
The money will be used to increase our capacity to roll out building projects for at least a year and also to expand on our materials and equipment and increase our capacity to hire more people and to produce more bricks. There is a big demand right now and this will help us meet this demand.
So what happens now? Give us an idea of what the next few months hold for you as you prepare for the Global Finals.
Over the next fortnight, the local Chivas team will conduct a shoot on-site in Soweto to produce visual material for me to incorporate in my global pitch. I will then fly to London in March to attend the Global Accelerator Week along with finalists from another 22 countries and after that, I will fly back home. Then people in South Africa will be able to vote for Hustlenomics among the other finalists, to win the first $100 000 dollars. Details of this will be announced on social media platforms. Also, as soon as I return, I will be working hard to prepare for the final Global Pitch in June. I’ll fly out to Toronto for this, and that’s when all the hard work will pay off. I will be pulling out all the stops to fly the flag for South Africa and come home with some of the prize money.