Pretoria News Weekend
Entrepreneur on long walk to offer hope
email@example.com LONG walks take many forms, and for social entrepreneur Dr Nico de Klerk, his walk – from Pretoria to Cape Town – aims to offer hope and redefine the mindsets of particularly the youth and unemployed.
He launched his Long Walk for Entrepreneurship campaign at Menlyn this week and explained that he will travel the 1 400 km over a period of 130 days, starting on Mandela Day, July 18, and plans to finish on South Africa Day.
During the walk he will stop in 100 township communities and freely share knowledge through his Street Biz Foundation with the people he meets.
His first stop will be in Olievenhoutbosch.
In this endeavour he is partnered by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) which provides advice to those wanting to start a business. This includes what one needs, how to check whether an idea will work and where to get help and information on business incubation.
De Klerk said the reason for choosing 100 townships was symbolic and in commemoration of the Mandela centenary celebration. He would keep a diary of his journey and lessons he learnt along the way.
“After my studies I thought what is something I can do to make a difference, but with my experience with grassroots entrepreneurship I became aware of the potential in the township economy,” he said.
He believes South Africa is under-performing when it comes to entrepreneurship and that workshops such as his could benefit those desperate for work.
“I know people in townships have ready mindsets for entrepreneurship if they break the mindset of powerlessness,” he said.
De Klerk is unafraid of the challenge, having competed in two Comrades Marathons, the Two Oceans and walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
“I know on the physical side it might be strenuous because it is not just about the walking. There is the spiritual, emotional and financial part.”
He looked forward to the new perspective he would get as “a white man going into townships”.
Mandela Day and the start of the Long Walk for Entrepreneurship will also be the launch of a long-term strategy for creating an alternative online educational system focused on developing the entrepreneurial mindset to build business.