by Staff Reporter on 31/10/12 at 8:00 am
A 21-year-old Khayelitsha entrepreneur is single-handedly on his way to unclog major overcrowding at local public health facilities without costing the state a cent. In fact, his venture is saving the economy thousands of lost man-hours.
Ilitha Park resident Sizwe Nzima’s Iyeza Express is a small business that picks up chronic medication from local clinics and delivers them by bicycle to the doorsteps of Khayelitsha residents. The simple solution to a long-standing problem not only saves time and money for his clients, but creates wealth for his family and jobs for young men who have few skills other than cycling and the ability to navigate the township’s maze of streets and footpaths.
Sizwe’s story is one of many that will be showcased at the Youth Entrepreneurship Conference and Expo, taking place on 9 and 10 November on the Bellville Campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Booking is now open for the conference, which is the launch event of this year’s Telkom Cape Town Entrepreneurship Week that will focus on youth entrepreneurship in all its guises, from cocky hi-tech start-ups to low-tech yet innovative and life-changing ventures like Sizwe’s.
The oldest of five siblings raised by their grandmother, Sizwe read a newspaper article about clinics struggling to cope with patients queuing for hours to pick up their chronic medication.
He had been aware of non-profit charity services that collected medicine on behalf of bed-ridden patients, but it was when he realised that by far the majority of the people in the clinic queues were able-bodied but frustrated working folk who were wasting valuable work hours and money in queues that the vision of a sustainable business formed in his mind.
These were people who would happily pay for affordable delivery of their medicine, allowing them to save their sick leave – if they get any – for days when they are really ill.
Sizwe’s newly formed Iyeza Express signed up dozens of clients in its first few weeks and currently collects from Michael Mapongwane Hospital and the Site B District Hospital.
“It is early days yet”, says Sizwe. The community still needs to build up trust in his service, and he is working hard to get official sanction from the authorities at Khayelitsha clinics.
Sizwe, a matriculant with a diploma in paralegal studies, honed his business idea in a six-month intensive business training course at the Raymond Ackerman Academy, and is currently studying a B.Com through Unisa while building his business. Among other activities, he will form part of a panel discussion about business training at the Youth Entrepreneurship Conference.
And that’s not the only reason he’ll be there. “There are just so many things happening at the conference – networking, mentorship discussions, where to get finance. I’m going because businesses like mine need events like these,” he says.
Students and scholars are invited to attend this year’s conference and expo at a special entry fee of only R20. Booking forms are available online at www.ctew.co.za.
The Telkom Cape Town Entrepreneurship Week, hosted by the City of Cape Town, is now in its third year. It is aligned to the Global Entrepreneurship Week from 12 to 18 November. Following the Youth Entrepreneurship Conference and Expo, local business support organisations throughout Cape Town will hold local events celebrating entrepreneurship during the week. Organisations are able to post their own entrepreneurship events on the crowd-sourced calendar at www.ctew.co.za.
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