Forbes listed Liswati re­jected by own coun­try

Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS - By Mbono Md­luli Mbabane

PHIWA Nkam­bule, the first Liswati to make it into Forbes list, was re­jected by his own coun­try be­fore he crossed the bor­ders to neigh­bour­ing South Africa.

Nkam­bule was first re­jected by Manzini Li­brary, where he had gone to present a pro­posal for an idea of an on­line li­brary sys­tem. He was later re­jected by the Manzini branch of the Re­gional Ed­u­ca­tion Of­fice (REO), which also did not give a re­sponse to him.

In 2013, he ap­proached Manzini Li­brary to pro­pose a dig­i­tal li­brary sys­tem and he never got a re­sponse.

He also pro­posed an on­line ex­am­i­na­tion sys­tem to the Manzini Re­gional Ed­u­ca­tion Of­fice (REO). He also never got a re­sponse. These two oc­ca­sions made him re­alise that young Emaswati in­no­va­tors could not be taken se­ri­ously be­cause the coun­try did not have a suc­cess story. “I de­cided to be that story to be a ref­er­ence and open up doors for other in­no­va­tors,” he said.

The tech­nol­o­gist then went to South Africa to make use of his tech­no­log­i­cal skills. Nkam­bule opened a com­pany called Cy­batar, a soft­ware de­vel­op­ment house now based in Kenya.

He founded this com­pany in 2014. He then launched a tu­ition fee crowd fund­ing plat­form through the Cy­batar dur­ing the first #fees must fall protest in 2015.

The sec­ond com­pany he founded was the Fi­nan­cial Tech­nol­ogy (Fin­Tech) known as Riovic, which is backed by Rand Mer­chant Bank’s Al­pha Code. This com­pany was founded in 2015 and it has been mak­ing waves in the in­sur­ance in­dus­try.

The Sand­ton-based tech­nol­o­gist now wants to bring all the skills, which earned him a place in the Forbes list, to the coun­try. “I have plans to come and es­tab­lish a tech­nol­ogy com­pany, with the goal of en­abling a dig­i­tal econ­omy since there is no un­der­ly­ing in­fra­struc­ture that al­lows Emaswati busi­nesses to trade on­line,” Nkam­bule said.

He re­vealed this yes­ter­day, a few days af­ter he was an­nounced as the ninth per­son in the list of 30 young Africans to make it to the Forbes Un­der 30 list. He said he had planned to launch his tech­nol­ogy busi­ness here in Eswa­tini this month.

Nkam­bule men­tioned that he planned to start a small busi­ness that would em­ploy at least 10 peo­ple. “I want to start with a small team of de­vel­op­ers and mar­keters of just 10 in the first year of start­ing up. I will then scale up as the busi­ness grows,” he said. He said he had been bring­ing to­gether a team and would spend most of the month of June es­tab­lish­ing the busi­ness on the ground.

He said he did not think he would have dif­fi­culty start­ing a busi­ness in the coun­try be­cause he had al­ready made a name for him­self. For him, it did not make sense not to do any­thing in this coun­try yet there was so much op­por­tu­nity.

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