Cancer survivor wins business challenge prize

#Youthstart 2019 first prize winner, Jade Wyngaardt.

A Woodstock mother and cancer survivor, won first prize in the City’s YouthStartCT 2019 Entrepreneurial Challenge, for her initiative which teaches unemployed graduates, matriculants and people with functional disabilities to code, design websites and run marketing campaigns.

Jade Wyngaardt started her digital journey in 2011 and after honing her skills, she started her own company, Click Africa Digital, which mobilises and assists small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the digital sector.

Ms Wyngaardt said she realised there was a digital skills gap with not enough trained people to service the need – and many SMEs did not have the funds to make use of the bigger agencies.

Her project, Afriversity, which she submitted to the competition, seeks to equip individuals with the skills to deliver online marketing services to small businesses, while giving them first-hand experience of working on campaigns.

The skills range from website development, content creation, search engine optimisation, to paid media management. She said these were all tools used to accelerate businesses online.

“We understand that youth unemployment is skyrocketing and as entrepreneurs, we try to solve problems with our ideas,” she said.

“By teaching these groups how to use these tools, we can offer businesses a more cost effective service and in turn, businesses have an opportunity to employ these individuals. “

The annual #YouthStartCT Entrepreneurial Challenge aims to provide young Cape Town entrepreneurs, aged between 18 and 35, with an opportunity to start up or grow their business. The programme supports entrepreneurs in commercialising, expanding as well as monetising their businesses through their practical training and mentorship programme.

Eligible, candidates were required to have a start-up idea that is already creating, or has the potential to create, sustainable jobs. Competitors were offered support to help them commercialise their solutions through a dynamic training and mentorship programme, which is focused on developing both the entrepreneur and their business idea.

Mayoral committee member for community services and health, Dr Zahid Badroodien, said the main aim of the initiative was to encourage entrepreneurship and contribute to skills development and innovation in Cape Town.

“The winners will now have a chance to partner with the City on projects that will uplift job seekers and provide sustainable employment opportunities,” he added.

Ms Wyngaardt said she had entered the competition to win the prize money which she would use to buy new computers but she never imagined the networking doors it would open.

“The competition gave me an opportunity to network with my client base and has opened a whole new network.

“The coaches helped to refine my idea and the recognition the competition has given me is invaluable.”

Ms Wyngaardt is no stranger to struggles, having twice battled cancer. Last year, she had to decide between terminating her pregnancy or putting her twins’ lives at risk, after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2016, after she felt a pea-sized lump on her breast.

She gave birth to her twins in February 2017 and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

Her advice to young entrepreneurs is this: “Just start and apply yourself daily. Consistency breeds success. Don’t be scared to reach out to other entrepreneurs or to collaborate – lean on your network. But the most important thing is passion, you need to be passionate about what you are doing if you want to be successful.”