Elevation

Yonela entreprene­urial journey – BUDDING ENTREPRENE­UR

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My name is Yonela Ndabankulu and I’m the Managing Director of Kaomi Communicat­ions. I started my company in October 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, after seven years in corporate. I have always had a passion for marketing from a young age and I decided to study towards an IMM degree. During my varsity years I started doing promotions as a way to make extra cash whilst studying and that’s when I really fell in love with marketing communicat­ions.

I had a dream of one day owning my own agency, but I always thought it would be something I could only achieve in my 40s, after years of experience. I had a dream of working for big companies like Unilever or SAB as a brand manager first, and then work my way up and only start pursuing my longterm dream much later on in life.

As a student, I always yearned for an opportunit­y to work on real brands to gain practical experience. I also struggled to pay for my fees, as IMM Graduate School of Marketing was quite expensive. That’s when my vision of one day running a creative hub for students was born. I wanted to open a marketing communicat­ion agency that utilized the skills of young people in tertiary studies, giving them an opportunit­y to start gaining work experience, build their work portfolio and earn money.

My vision was born out of my own struggles as a young South African. Youth unemployme­nt in South Africa is sitting at 46.3% and it is 9.3% among university students. These are shocking stats for a country faced with so much poverty. I believe that it is up to those that who have entreprene­urial capabiliti­es to create employment opportunit­ies for our youth, our leaders of tomorrow. Being part of the solution has been a passion of mine that I have carried with me for many years.

My own unemployme­nt led me to start working for an insurance call centre years ago, just to make a living, but I was very vocal from the beginning that I wanted to work in their marketing department. There were no available vacancies at that time so I was an agent for three full years

My vision was born out of my own struggles as a young South African. Youth unemployme­nt in South Africa is sitting at 46.3% and it is 9.3% among university students. These are shocking stats for a country faced with so much poverty.

whilst paying off my studies. I never lost hope and I excelled in my role during those years. I put my hand up for any opportunit­ies outside of my department and I immersed myself fully in the company. I enquired with the marketing department to see if I could get involved in any activities that they were running for no extra salary. I was just hungry to learn as much as I could and to make sure that I was known by everyone.

Eventually, my hard work and determinat­ion paid off when a small marketing co-ordinator role opened up and I got the job. It was a minor role and I knew that I had a long way to go but I was finally in the door and out of the call centre and I never looked back. I worked my way up and I got a promotion almost every single year. My big break came when I got a role as a digital customer manager and I looked after a social media team of eight people. I was in my element and that’s when I knew that I was ready to fulfil my vision.

I learned a lot being part of a new brand team that was responsibl­e for shifting from a salesled business to a brand-led business. That was a turning point in my life and my vision was becoming clearer. My love for the digital world was ignited and I upskilled myself very quickly. By the end of 2019, I felt that my journey with the company needed to come to an end and I was ready to pursue my own path. I was still unclear exactly what that path looked like but the fire in me had been ignited and I could no longer ignore it. In March 2020, I left my job not knowing that by the end of the month we would be in full lockdown but there was no turning back.

I registered my company in September and I partnered with Kaomi Marketing as a brother company. They assisted me in setting up and getting me up and running. My agency specialize­s in marketing communicat­ions and our main pillars are social media management, public relations, events and marketing strategy. I was never prepared for the entreprene­urial journey but I have never felt closer to my purpose.

On the 10th of June, I won R230 000 worth of advertisin­g with East Coat Radio, which is sponsored by Hollywoodb­ets. This opportunit­y will allow me to scale my business and take me one step closer towards the big vision of employing young marketing students and giving them the opportunit­ies I lacked as a student. My business is only eight months old and at 35 years old, I am confident that I am living my purpose. I want to make an impact in my country and I am certain I am well on my way.

I was never prepared for the entreprene­urial journey but I have never felt closer to my purpose. On the 10th of June, I won R230 000 worth of advertisin­g with East Coat Radio, which is sponsored by Hollywoodb­ets. This opportunit­y will allow me to scale my business and take me one step closer towards the big vision of employing young marketing students and giving them the opportunit­ies I lacked as a student.

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 ??  ?? Photo by Christina @ wocintechc­hat.com o
Photo by Christina @ wocintechc­hat.com o

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