SAINC went off to meet some of the Telkom FutureMakers participants and to learn first-hand how these interventions are changing lives and communities across the country.
The first innovator we met was Wayne Isaacs. After 30 years of dedicated service as a Telkom employee, Wayne decided to embark on his entrepreneurial journey by taking early retirement and starting Enlight Technologies, at a time when Telkom was faced with the enormous challenge of line faults occurring exponentially. His initial focus was attending to the Telkom faults that had fallen behind and were bottlenecking the support system.
With investment and assistance from the Telkom FutureMakers Independent Field Technician Program, his business grew from not only fixing faults, but providing new fibre lines into areas that previously had no internet connectivity whatsoever. With growing demand, his business had to employ new technicians, and today, Wayne, alongside Telkom, provides ongoing training and secure employment to 16 people with a multitude of beneficial consequences for their families and communities.
Khathutshelo Mufamadi is a beneficiary of the Telkom Future Makers Venture Capital IDF fund. He is the founder and CEO of Droppa, a trucking company that forms part of Telkom’s supply chain. Droppa has transformed and regenerated the truck delivery model, from a system that used to take days, to a turnaround delivery time of only 2 hours.
Khathutshelo always believed that technology could change the world, and he utilised the generous backing from Telkom Future Makers, to develop the app and system that drives Droppa. From small beginnings of less than 100 deliveries a day, today, he is the proud CEO that has grown his company into a multi-million Rand enterprise. ! With further investment, he has his sights set on expanding beyond South Africa to become Africa’s pre-eminent supplier of transport logistics.
The third entrepreneur and innovator we met was Lesedi Rannoko, a third-year BComm student from Soweto. She is part of the FutureMakers Township Innovation Incubator program. When one thinks of township entrepreneurs, it’s often the picture of an informal “spaza shop” owner who runs it as a survivalist business, but Telkom FutureMakers hopes to change this perspective to one of being able to really scale businesses, and tap into the infinite talent and potential in the townships to do this.
Lesedi was born and raised in the township of Soweto, and was acutely aware of the lack of quality affordable student accommodation available around her. She was determined to resolve this problem. With the assistance of the Township Innovation Incubator program, she is developing a platform and app to effectively connect landlords seeking vetted tenants, together with students needing clean, safe and affordable accommodation in close proximity to their learning institutions. As one of 11 candidates chosen, she is solving real social issues using technology and chasing her dreams of becoming the first millionaire in her family. The 4th industrial revolution is alive and well in South Africa today!