By Maryem Sáder – Emzingo.
Meet Owen Muzambi, founder and Director of Driven Entrepreneurs, a social enterprise offering customized entrepreneurial programmes for communities and secondary schools in South Africa a clear mission in mind: to impact youth and adults across South Africa and Africa by transforming their entrepreneurial mindset and enabling them to take ownership of their future.
What was the motivation behind the project?
In 2009 I found myself in Johannesburg South Africa, with difficult living arrangements which saw me sleeping in a public park, street on some occasions. I was unemployable in the formal labour market yet I had hope I would find a employment to sustain myself.
What followed between 2009 and 2013 between was a difficult journey of attempts at economic survival which led to me starting cigarette street vending business and taking up informal job offers. The search for suitable employment in the Job market proved to be futile and self-employment unintentionally became the only way out a economic depravity. In retrospect, entrepreneurship was the only break I could have myself, and Driven is on a mission to enable similar breaks to other individuals.
Fast forward in 2014 I had the opportunity through assistance with Awethu Project ( a grassroots focused incubator) to start Driven Entrepreneurs an entrepreneurship education focused social business, delivering entrepreneurship programmes in economically marginalised regions..
Why focus on entrepreneurship?
A myriad of young and old people in South Africa are trapped difficult in socio-economic circumstances and realities due to systemic and historical inadequacies in the education system which has resulted in unemployability of youth and adults in South Africa.
The idea for Driven was motivated by the realisation, through personal experience, that entrepreneurship/ self-employment was one, if not the only, way to initiate a break out of economic exclusion into inclusion.
Are there any achievements you’d like to particularly highlight?
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in youth and Tembisa, the Johannesburg based township I live in. Both of the above have latent entrepreneurial potential that I find pleasure to unlock.
To you, what makes a responsible leader?
Four Values make a true leader: authenticity, integrity, accountability and, most importantly, passion for a purpose bigger than self.
Any good advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
The best stroke of luck is that which you have prepared for.
Never stop learning.
Get a Mentor.
Failure is inevitable, it’s what you do after that really matters.
Driven is a social business whose core business is to design, deliver, implement entrepreneurship education (EE) and entrepreneurship education training (EET) programmes in low income geographies across South Africa. (urban, peri-urban, rural)
Driven has a collaborative approach to develop and has partnered with development agencies, corporates in South Africa and Africa to expand and amplify the developmental agendas of these organisations.
To date Driven has impacted more than 2000 youth through a high school based youth entrepreneurship programmes delivered by creating ecosystems in urban areas based including the schools and the communities. In addition, Driven has also impacted 300 plus adults through a community based microenterprise programme.
As a social enterprise, is a revenue generating organisation, that aims to re-invest the majority of its surplus revenue for the purpose of advancing its social objective: to promote entrepreneurship as catalyst for economic growth and social development.