Silver-lining for young entrepreneur amidst Covid-19 pandemic


In a few weeks time, young entrepreneur and founder of Hustlenomics, Nhlanhla Ndlovu, would have been jetting off to do battle on the global stage in the annual Chivas Venture.

The esteemed competition, now in its sixth year, gives away $1m each year to startups who blend profit with purpose in their quest to have a positive impact in the world.

Following his win in the local leg which was held earlier this year, Ndlovu earned his place at the international finals, which were set to take place in June in Toronto, Canada.

However, with the global outbreak of the coronavirus, the organisers made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s formal proceedings.

For Ndlovu, this means that he will immediately receive a share of the prize money which has been split equally between the 26 finalists from across the globe.

Hustlenomics  will now receive $40,000 (about R700,000) in funding, which can go towards creating positive change at a testing time.

“This will enable me to invest in more projects and to buy more equipment, which will mean we can take on significantly more work,” he said.

Ndlovu founded the profit social enterprise as a means of making a difference in the housing sector. The start-up is based at his residence in Soweto, and was founded in 2015.

Hustlenomics  offers solutions for low-income homeowners with informal backyard shacks, who cannot gain access to traditional home improvement financing.

The company then replaces these shacks with more durable structures using recycled bricks, applying a shared home financing model where rental income generated from the completed structure is then used to get back building costs.

Ndlovu says that winning the SA leg of Chivas Venture is a big step towards allowing him to move closer to his goal of expanding and growing the business beyond Soweto, ultimately expanding into other provinces.

The difference that the work Hustlenomics is making in low-income households has not gone unrecognised, and the business was named winner of the SAB Social Innovation Award in 2018 and more recently the 2019 SEED Low Carbon Award