Ayanda Maqoma - one of 18 finalists
A young emerging entrepreneur, 24-year-old Ayanda Maqoma, appears to be destined for success. He is one of 18 finalists who have been invited to the Awethu Project’s prize giving in Johannesburg on 24 – 25 January 2018. ABSA Bank, in partnership with the Awethu Project, established a virtual incubator that assists South African youth to start and develop their own businesses. The project is specifically aimed for TVET college students. Maqoma heard about it when representatives visited Lovedale TVET College’s King Campus in 2017.
Because of his keen interest in business, he downloaded the Awethu Project mobile application for use. Maqoma says his attraction to the app was the fact that it was free to use. He furthermore states that the app has improved his entrepreneurial skills: “Sometimes I used my profit, to be quite honest, but now I am accountable to my business. I am now more disciplined to save a portion of my profit for emergencies, like when I need to buy more stock.” The youngster operates a simple business of selling sweets, chips and other small items. He says that he is grateful to his mother who assisted him with the capital to buy his first stock. Although he took the money as a loan, she has refused to accept his repayment, stating that she sees it as an investment.
Maqoma comments: “I am anxious, yet so excited to go to the event, as it is my first time to board a flight. I hope that I will not be overwhelmed and cry.” The finalists will not only attend the prize giving, but will be visiting top corporates, entrepreneurs and the ABSA Entrepreneurship Centre. Maqoma, who is representing Lovedale TVET College and the Eastern Cape, hopes to make his family and community proud by being the grand prize winner, who will take home a prize of R25 000.