Solutionist Thinking with RMB is a thirteen-episode podcast series hosted by Bruce Whitfield focusing on the great South African minds who are thinking differently and going against the norm. In the sixth episode, Whitfield interviews the CEO and co-founder of The Awethu Project, Yusuf Randera-Rees.
"Introduce your ambition to opportunity" – that’s the slogan of The Awethu Project, an entrepreneurial development incubator that invests in untapped talent in developing countries to enable them to realise their full potential outside of the informal sector.
Let’s find new ways for identifying and investing in our talent.— Yusuf Randera-Rees, CEO and co-founder of The Awethu Project
In 2009, Yusuf Randera-Rees returned to South Africa with degrees from Harvard and the University of Oxford, R60 000 of seed capital in his back pocket and, a vision to transform the entrepreneurial space to further the continent’s development.
Together, he and co-founder Gareth Taylor set up their social start-up in Alexandra Township in Johannesburg and, spread the message to the community.
One week later, 2000 informal entrepreneurs had applied.
Let’s start in these communities where talent is the most overlooked.— Yusuf Randera-Rees, CEO and co-founder of The Awethu Project
Committed to developing wasted potential – to date, The Awethu Project has received over 100 000 applications, over 2000 entrepreneurs have been incubated and, over 2500 jobs have effectively been created by those entrepreneurs.
It’s an awesome career path, you just need to understand how difficult it is.— Yusuf Randera-Rees, CEO and co-founder of The Awethu Project
Whilst The Awethu Project has experienced its fair share of setbacks, its unique model and, vision to counter South Africa's growing unemployment rate has earned the backing of government, affording Randera-Rees the opportunity to break down barriers and, make an even greater impact.
Trying to separate business from doing good, is not understanding how things work.— Yusuf Randera-Rees, CEO and co-founder of The Awethu Project
Listen to him in conversation with Bruce Whitfield, as he discusses The Awethu Project, social impact and, the need for transformation in the business world.
This article first appeared on 702 : Solutionist Thinking: In Conversation with Yusuf Randera-Rees