Afrika Tikkun Services (ATS) in partnership with HSBC Bank hosted the 5th Annual Alumni Entrepreneur Network (AEN) Business Summit, on 11 November 2023, celebrating their ingenious entrepreneurs. The Summit provided young entrepreneurs with an opportunity to pitch their innovative business ideas or present their existing businesses to a panel of judges and a chance to win various prizes.
The annual AEN Business Summit serves as a platform for fostering meaningful connections and collaborations among business professionals, industry experts, and aspiring entrepreneurs. It is a competition where existing businesses and start-ups win various prizes and are provided with ongoing entrepreneur support, through masterclasses, training and mentorship. The AEN enables young people to be economically independent, pursue entrepreneurship as a career path, and create jobs for their peers.
Distinguished speakers present at the event shared their insights and testimonials on overcoming challenges, seizing opportunities, and collectively building a prosperous future for the youth of South Africa.
Former ATS Class of 2019 Alumnus, Mr. Mongezi Masombuko, delivered a powerful and inspirational testimonial where he shared his story from being a two-time University drop-out to becoming the Founder and Director of IT company, Clowdy. His was a testimonial of grit, determination, sheer genius and relentless hustle. Mongezi has also been featured in ATS’s entrepreneurship video series titled, “From Grassroots to Boardrooms: Igniting Entrepreneurial Journeys”.
Under this year’s theme, “The Time is Now”, HSBC Bank’s Head of Corporate Sustainability, Ms. Priya Surendra, imparted an invaluable message to the aspirant entrepreneurs. Part of her address underpinned the importance of acting and following through on one’s dreams and that entrepreneurs and creators have no enemy except time. She concluded in the famous words of Joel A. Barker emphasizing that, “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without Vision just passes time. Vision with Action can change the world”.
Our panel of judges included Priya Surendra (Head of Corporate Sustainability), Nico Duvenage (Head of Global Markets and Treasurer), and Caroline Smith (Head of Strategy, Governance, Risk Analytics and Control Design) from HSBC Bank. Thabo Makama (Founder and CEO of TMP Africa), and Paul Appalsamy (Senior Leadership, and Learning Specialist Enterprise Functions), at Absa Africa Group Limited together with Mongezi Masombuko, (Founder and CEO of Clowdy, Creative Director at uDarkie and Co-Founder at BuyMo).
Notably, of all the budding and aspirant entrepreneurs who presented their existing and new businesses on the day, only three winners could be selected per category respectively. In the existing business category, the third runner-up was ‘Clear Trolley’, a world-class e-commerce platform integrated with an e-hailing service. The second runner-up was ‘Dance with Sannie’, a dynamic and inclusive dance space that celebrates dance in all its forms. The ultimate winner was ‘Purposeful Beauty’’, a mobile hair and beauty bar.
In the new business category, our third runner-up was ‘KKT Babysitting’, offering a convenient babysitting service. Our second runner-up was ‘Ink Frames’, offering premier bespoke henna designs and tattoos. ‘Creative Empire’ walked away with the first prize for their exclusive and personalised crocheted fashion ware.
Afrika Tikkun Deputy Group CEO, Dr. Onyi Nwaneri, rounded off the day’s event by reiterating that our motto, vision and mission is to “Ignite, incubate and inspire the multitudes of young people that exist within the organisation and those to come. That, in essence, the key to becoming economically independent is to help young people to become entrepreneurs and create employment opportunities for their peers.”
In the end, through collaborative partnerships, like the decade-long partnership with HSBC Bank and with such critical platforms, ours is to produce not just dreamers, but visionaries, disruptors and trailblazers.