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Neftaly Malatjie Of The Southern Africa Youth Project On Taking Risks

For Neftaly Malatjie of the Southern Africa Youth Project entrepreneurial zeal and a desire for change paves the way for empowerment.

Monique Verduyn

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Neftaly-Malatjie

Vital Stats

Neftaly Malatjie is impatient. His frustration is rooted in the fact that so many young South Africans struggle to break into the job market because they don’t have the right formal qualifications, or have not had the right breaks. It’s that impatience for change that has kept things moving forward for this young entrepreneur.

In 2005, aged 14, Malatjie started Diepsloot Youth Projects, now the Southern Africa Youth Project, using money he had saved from part-time work.

Based in the densely populated, impoverished township of Diepsloot, the project brings hope to young people in the community through entrepreneurship training, sewing and interior design workshops, workplace skills development and career counselling, and computer training.

The aim is to help at-risk youth to become responsible citizens, by providing them with information, support and skills that lead to their empowerment, and employment.

Malatjie says he made many mistakes in the beginning, which is understandable considering his tender age and lack of experience. But commitment and the belief of his community kept him going.

Related: 10 Dynamic Black Entrepreneurs

Spend conservatively

“Early on, I secured funding from a large corporate, and without thinking I spent the entire annual budget in a week,” he recalls.

“I had signed a contract and eventually got into personal debt to cover the expenses for the rest of that year.”

That happens when enthusiasm overrides pragmatism. “There were so many problems to be addressed, that I wanted to fix them all at once Lack of focus almost destroyed my dream. Whatever you set out to do, first allocate your budget and resources, especially with donor funds.”

Your title doesn’t matter

Southern-Africa-Youth-Project

“Like many new entrepreneurs, I gave myself the title of CEO,” Malatjie says. “I should have waited until the enterprise had achieved some credibility. It’s better to use a title that tells people what you do.”

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, but most people will be more interested in your track record and achievements than your title.

Admin is your friend

Malatjie has learnt to love documentation. “Admin needs to be your favourite thing when you set up a social business. You need evidence of everything you do and it’s important to ensure compliance and registration with all the appropriate regulatory agencies.

Review and adapt

When the project was still in its infancy, Malatjie was aiming to reach around 2 000 youths per year. He soon felt that he was floundering because the target could not be achieved. He enlisted the help of a board of directors who offer expertise from different industry sectors.

Related: Musician Concord Nkabinde On Treating Music Like A Business

“Develop a strategy, determine how often you need to review it, and do it. In our reviews, we measure what we have achieved against our goals to determine where we need to improve. We set targets for fundraising, decide on beneficiary goals and ensure that we maintain a narrow focus. Setting targets is critical. Determining what you will do and why is important, because it’s not about numbers, but impact. Today we place 70% of the youths we reach into jobs by the time they exit our programmes.”

As Malatjie’s primary purpose is to grow the impact of the organisation, he and his team are looking at franchising and partnerships to enable national reach and deeper impact.

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton

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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton

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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton

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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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