En­trepreneur on long walk to of­fer hope

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS - MATL­HATSI DIBAK­WANE

matl­hatsi.dibak­[email protected] 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.

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