June 18, 2024

FUTURELIFE and Afrika Tikkun Services empower young entrepreneurs

3 min read

The Futurepreneur Academy, launched in 2021, is an initiative between FUTURELIFE® and Afrika Tikkun Services (ATS) which is financially empowering young South Africans. It offers a learnership programme that equips budding entrepreneurs with the training, skills and expert guidance to build and accelerate their businesses, selling FUTURELIFE® nutritional products at affordable prices in local communities.

Prenessa Naidoo, brand manager at FUTURELIFE®, says the company’s goal is to contribute to creating thriving South African communities and fostering economic growth by investing in our youth. “We started this journey with 15 Futurepreneurs in Johannesburg. We have since expanded to Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal – and with our parent company PepsiCo’s exciting plans to expand the programme, we can develop and empower even more futurepreneurs.”

Nutrition-powered futures

The motivation for Futurepreneurs was born from FUTURELIFE®’s commitment to address the high youth unemployment rate and the lack of nutritional meals and education in underprivileged areas.

“Our company’s vision is to inspire people to live healthy and happier lives through the breakthrough innovation offered by FUTURELIFE® superior functional foods,” Naidoo explains. “Futurepreneurs delivers on this by facilitating a 12-month learnership, providing candidates aged 18 to 24 with a recognised NQF Level 4 Marketing qualification, comprised of classroom instruction and practical training. This is augmented by regular interaction with FUTURELIFE® and ATS teams,” she adds. “Marketing and salespeople as well as dieticians mentor the learners and provide business development, sales and marketing support. Two dedicated distributors, Sonke and Plan A Management, purchase and resell our products to them at a FUTURELIFE® approved rate, thus our Futurepreneurs are equipped with all the necessary tools to build a sustainable business selling FUTURELIFE® products.”

Life-changing opportunities

This direct interaction provides the academy’s learners with life-changing opportunities, and two candidates who have made the most of this are Vathiswa Mazwi and Megan Pillay.

Johannesburg-based Mazwi’s journey as a Futurepreneur has been characterised by resilience and an unwavering commitment to succeed. “I joined the Futurepreneur Academy as a sales ambassador in 2021 and, from the start, I put everything into the role because I wanted to make the most of the opportunity.”

She says this drive helped her make sales and expand the reach of FUTURELIFE® in her community. Recognising her exceptional dedication and leadership potential, Mazwi earned herself greater responsibility and today she is head of administration – a testament to her growth.

“The Futurepreneur Academy was more than just a learning opportunity; it was a transformative experience that shaped me into the leader I am today. I hope that my journey will inspire others on their own paths to success,” she adds.

Overcoming the odds

Pillay’s experience demonstrates the inclusive nature of the Futurepreneur Academy. She joined the programme in 2022, driven by a passion to contribute to the well-being of her community. Despite facing physical mobility challenges, she was determined to realise her entrepreneurial aspirations.

“Being wheelchair-bound, traditional door-to-door sales was virtually impossible, but I didn’t let that stop me,” Pillay says. “I was offered the role of admin assistant and, in this capacity, I have used my skills to assist candidates with sales and queries. This has allowed me to ensure  sales remained robust – and through digital channels and personal connections, I have also been able to make my own sales.”

She says the Futurepreneurship Academy has given her invaluable insights into entrepreneurship and has been a source of encouragement and inspiration. She now plans to scale her involvement in the programme: “I want to leverage the knowledge and experience I have gained to mentor and support aspiring entrepreneurs while continuing to grow my own business.”

Mazwi and Pillay’s success stories are testimony to the transformative impact of the Futurepreneur programme. Through the mentorship, support and hands-on training, these young women have realised their entrepreneurial dreams and delivered positive change in their communities. Their success underscores that FUTURELIFE® and ATS’ innovative approach, strategic partnership and steadfast commitment to economic empowerment are creating a more prosperous future for South Africa’s youth.

Leave a Reply