In 2015 the Rotterdam School of Management Executive MBA students went to South Africa for a study trip. Little were we to know that this would be the start of an ambitious social enterprise endeavor.
Whilst on the program we met various entrepreneurs that we as students were asked to help accelerate their business ideas. We met some amazing people that changed our views and touched our hearts. John on the right in the photograph took us into Alexandra, a township 4 square kilometers big with 1 million people living there. Walter's student group (he is the one with the green t-shirt) were assigned Hildegard's NGO to work out a business acceleration plan. All the groups competed against each other and the winning organisation would receive price money to further their start-up.
Due to this competitive nature very few groups were talking to each-other. I overheard what Walter's group was discussing and saw potential to combine his start-up and that of our group.
The following evening as we were all wondering who was going to win Walter and I had a conversation on the balcony. I still remember Walter's remark: "No matter who wins we have to help Hildegard. What she is doing in the community makes a big difference to peoples lives every day."
Slowly but surely over the next months I have been working with friends, family and my network to build the business idea.
I realized that we could do more than just help Hilda. What if we could help all non-profits in South Africa in bringing care to the chronically ill and expanding their services? What if we could accelerate their development? How many people could be helped? Could we expand this to the world? Have I found my life's purpose?
Two months ago I finally knew that I could not do this in half measures. It is all or nothing! This allowed me to focus and I am glad to say we are making progress beyond what I had even hoped for.
The support from our families, friends, fellow students, ex-colleagues and faculty has been phenomenal. I have been blessed with amazing people in my network and that of my friends that are supporting in unexpected ways.
I have plundered bank accounts, sold investments/shares and raided savings. I am throwing everything including the kitchen sink at this venture as I believe that we can make a difference in peoples lives through partners like Hildegard and Uncedo Lwabantu.
I would like to thank everyone that is and have been helping us. I hope to share your stories here some day soon on how this venture has transformed your lives too.