Pretoria News Weekend

Entreprene­ur on long walk to offer hope

- MATLHATSI DIBAKWANE

matlhatsi.dibakwane@inl.co.za 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.

 ?? PICTURE: JACQUES NAUDE/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA) ?? Dr Nico de Klerk will be walking from the Pretoria to Cape Town over a period of 130 days, visiting and sharing his knowledge in 100 township communitie­s along the way.
PICTURE: JACQUES NAUDE/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA) Dr Nico de Klerk will be walking from the Pretoria to Cape Town over a period of 130 days, visiting and sharing his knowledge in 100 township communitie­s along the way.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa