The Awethu Project is on a mission to change South Africa's business landscape through identifying talent and developing it.
When Yusuf Randera-Rees moved back to Johannesburg after studying and working overseas, he founded the Awethu Project with Ryan Pakter in 2009 to help fight against youth unemployment.
Randera-Rees says they started in Alexandra township, calling on entrepreneurs and small business to apply and prove their problem-solving skills - scrapping the conventional qualifying criteria.
We set up our own screens for how to select for entrepreneurial ability... We looked for what people can really do.— Yusuf Randera-Rees, CEO and co-founder of Awethu Project
We walked in to Alex and said we don't care about what the banks ask you for, whether you have a matric or not, or if you have a business plan or collateral - we want to know if you can problem solve, if you're a creative, know how to make money or can lead.— Yusuf Randera-Rees, CEO and co-founder of Awethu Project
The team selected six entrepreneurs from 2 000 candidates after their very first call to apply for training and equity funding.
To date, the Awethu Project has gotten over 2 000 entrepreneurs supported and has created over 2 000 jobs, Randera-Rees boasts.
We have incredible, world class talent in this country and we need to invest in them.— Yusuf Randera-Rees, CEO and co-founder of Awethu Project
The Harvard and Oxford graduate explains that the aim of the business has always been to make a systemic impact on the country's economy and elevate entrepreneurs relegated to the informal sector.
He advises that their business model has evolved over the years and reflected on some of Awethu's success stories.
Awethu will be launching an app in the next month. To learn more, visit the Awethu Project website.
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