Country: South Africa
Ngwenya’s journey in entrepreneurship started at the age of 10.
“I used to sell firecrackers with my aunt and when I was about 12, I borrowed money from her and started selling firecrackers for myself. It was good money during the holidays. I made money and grew to selling sunglasses to my teachers and I realized entrepreneurship was a lucrative avenue,” he says.
While he was in school, at the age of 17, he was elected CEO of the Young Entrepreneurs of Soweto, an organization that teaches people between seven and 23 years old how to start a business.
“I learned about entrepreneurship and we would also do community outreach and I noticed young people don’t have enough information reaching them that can help in their development.”
It inspired him to start School Media; a company that connects brands with schools by helping clients rent advertising space in schools, in 2010.
He didn’t stop there. He also founded Xhuma, a company that uses USSD codes to connect parents with schools.
“Some schools don’t have websites and others don’t have printing facilities to send information to parents. So in this way, a parent can dial a number from any phone and get information, like the school exam timetable, scheduled meetings and any communication the school might wish to send to parents,” says Ngwenya.
In 2012, School Media secured advertising rights in 9,000 schools; was nominated for the 702 talk radio Small Business Awards in 2013, and Ngwenya was nominated as a WEF global shaper in 2015.
Ngwenya employs eight people, turns over $375,000 a year and counts Orlando Pirates and the Gauteng Department of Education among his clients.
In 2011, Ngwenya founded a Going Green Project which has managed to educate 100 schools on environmental awareness and planted 4,500 trees in schools across South Africa. In 2016, School Media hosted an event attended by 16,000 youth and had President Jacob Zuma as a keynote speaker.