Local lad accepted for Stanford programme
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Twenty year-old Bright Nkazimulo Hlongwane’s ambition to make South Africa's economy boast a bevy of entrepreneurial job makers instead of job seekers is taking shape, after he was accepted into a prestigious entrepreneurial programme in the US.
The uMlazi resident was recently accepted into Stanford University's 2017 TrepCamp Advanced Program, a three-week programme that seeks to develop entrepreneurial skills and a business idea through an entrepreneurial simulator supported by experts and mentors.
Stanford is ranked the third best in the world after Harvard and England's Oxford universities.
Hlongwane, who matriculated at Umlazi Commercial High School in 2014, and has four other siblings, is one of 350 accepted into the programme out of 20 000 applicants from around the world.
Having founded an organisation, in 2015, called Youth in Business South Africa, which seeks to promote and nurture youth entrepreneurs to “create more job makers than job seekers”, Hlongwane said he was inspired by his former school's motto: “Striving for excellence.”
He said there were more than 20 young people from the greater Durban area involved in the organisation.
“In 2011 I was chosen to be the head of a delegation to the COP17 conference, after which I was chosen to be the UNICEF SA ambassador.”
He said it was then that his dream to develop job creators started to formalise.
With the tuition fees for the programme costing $3 000 (R38 470), half of which will be paid for by the scholarship administrators, Hlongwane is seeking funding for the remaining R19 235.
“I have to be in the US by July 7 because the programme starts two days later and ends on July 28,” Hlongwane said.
Having also approached the government for funding, he was told the state did not have funds for him as Stanford was a private university.
On how he would use the entrepreneurship, business and information skills he will acquire from his three week stay in the US, Hlongwane said: “My plan for when I return home is to encourage the acquiring of entrepreneurial skills among the youth so that our country won't have an economy that is surviving, but one that is flourishing.”
The letter of acceptance into the programme says it aims to “connect exceptional future entrepreneurs with the world's top innovation ecosystems, providing an exclusive environment that will challenge you to push yourself even further”.