ONLY 16 young businesspeople pitched for the inaugural meeting of Nemato Business Youth at Jauka Hall on Saturday.
However, organiser of the event, Thomas Walaza, was unperturbed.
“At first I was a little disappointed with the turnout,” said Walaza. “However, those that did attend were all businesspeople, and they bought into the concept of the youth doing it for themselves rather than waiting for someone to find them jobs. Quality over quantity.”
MAN ON A MISSION: Thomas Walaza presented his vision for Nemato to a small but appreciative audience at the inaugural meeting of the Nemato Business Youth on Saturday Picture: ROB KNOWLES
Walaza has a vision whereby people who already have skills could use them to benefit their communities and also help to train a new generation of entrepreneurs at the same time.
“It occurred to me that there were a lot of people in the townships who have already gained considerable experience working in the marketplace, but that these skills were not being utilised. I thought there must be a way to put these skills to good use,” he said.
Walaza set about creating a business plan for holding conferences in Nemato, using Jauka Hall as a base. He considered that many of the area’s youth have experience in food preparation, waiting-on and similar tasks, and these could be used if conferences were held in the township.
But Walaza’s vision does not stop there.
“If we hosted a conference we would need to have places for the delegates to stay. That would mean an opportunity to open guest houses. More, the visitors would require service from other areas of the market such as laundry services, food providers and so forth,” he said.
“The hall would need to be cleaned and maintained, all opportunities for new businesses. The entire township could ultimately benefit from this, and there would be no need for hand-outs or charity; the Nemato Business Youth cooperative would generate its own funding.”
Walaza said he would like to start by offering his services to government offices, both national and provincial, as he said they should be motivated by the idea of black people “doing it for themselves”.
Walaza has seven years’ experience in the hotel and service industry, and is currently a second year student at Stenden South Africa.
“I came up with the idea after speaking with people I previously worked with but who are now unemployed.
“Most have no plans for the future and are sitting doing nothing. But they have skills that can be well utilised in an enterprise such as the Nemato Business Youth, and younger people can benefit through skills transfer and on-the-job training,” he said.