Skills help for students of business


An East London foundation has set out to develop and fine-tune entrepreneurial skills in tertiary institution students at no cost.
Umnombo Foundation focuses on entrepreneurship and equipping students with business and financial management, customer relations, marketing and professional driving skills.
Hlathikazi Beni, who founded the foundation with Anda Sanda and Nwabisa Dlabathi, said they were hoping to positively impact on youths’ lives with the initiative.
“We identified what our youth was lacking, especially those who are in higher education and looking for opportunities for in-service training, and we noticed a gap within the soft skills element.
“Umnombo means DNA, or a legacy trait. We want to be that new trait, that DNA that deals with youth empowerment and does things differently to leave a legacy.”
Beni said they aimed to prepare students holistically by also grooming their skills.
“You find students with amazing talents, but they do not have customer or people skills and that cannot be formally taught.”
Umnombo, with the support of Inkwenkwezi Private College, a formalised skills training school, hopes to empower young people through their entrepreneurial programme.
“When we saw the gap with these students, we knew that we had to assist them to meet their immediate needs and have a bit of money on the side while they are studying.
“Our common goal is to develop self-sufficient and holistic young people within their careers.
“We promote entrepreneurial skills so that young people can develop another skill beyond just their formal qualification,” said Beni.
Students who are enrolled in the Umnombo entrepreneur programme are offered an array of skills including the opportunity to write the learners’ driver test.
“We want to give this opportunity to as many people as we can so our capacity is to take in 20 students every six months.
“To make sure that we communicate effectively with our students we mostly use electronic forms of communication.
“Two of our past students developed an app that allows us to communicate and for us to see how the students are developing,” she said.
“We also use the digital platform for the training we conduct with them. Those who are far from East London come into the city once a month to collect course work.”
During the practicals, the students are given grooming kits which have toiletry products to sell at their respective tertiary institutions.
The money they make is theirs, Beni said they encouraged them to use it to get their drivers’ licences.
With a rural background, the members of Umnombo say they have always been passionate about keeping young girls, especially, in school.
“They get to have that opportunity through NSFAS or other bursaries where they can start seeing that there is another world than just the situation they are in, in their villages.
“So, as Umnombo, one of our first initiatives was sanitary wear distribution,” said Beni...

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