Kefilwe Lekabe has entrepreneurship running through her veins. As a qualified business consultant, digital skills trainer and entrepreneurship development educator, Lekabe is a triple threat.
What began as a way to assist others with their goals turned into a lifelong mission and led to the creation of her business, Kefilwe Tsela Academy, that creates more access to resources and empowers young people through education.
At an early age, Lekabe’s grandmother encouraged her to learn, saying: “If I had received an education, I would have been working in a career I want. If you get educated, you can become whatever you want.”
From that moment on, Lekabe knew that there was a great power in creating educational opportunities for others, which, in turn, uplifts communities and improves the lives of even more people.
With research showing that 41% of black women are unemployed, Lekabe’s career has been focused on decreasing this statistic by bringing digital and technological skills to young people in South Africa.
She strongly believes that if we can improve business and entrepreneurship education in schools, it could play a significant part in alleviating the socioeconomic divide and decreasing the levels of unemployment in our country.
The academy’s name is an ode to her vision and a nod to her namesake – Kefilwe Tsela, meaning “given a way”. The school exists to make opportunities accessible to the less privileged and marginalised groups, with the hope of one day establishing colleges.
After becoming a certified entrepreneurship educator at Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) last year, Lekabe was promoted as generalist mentor to entrepreneurs and small business owners through GIBS’ Entrepreneurship Development Academy.
Along with GIBS, she worked to bring entrepreneurial training and digital skills to small business owners through collaboration with HerVenture, a mobile app that helps entrepreneurs access resources and build confidence in skills when running their businesses.
Lekabe was contracted by Glencore Mine as a business coach to assist in advising their suppliers and vendors. In 2021, she became a certified digital marketing professional and digital marketing associate through Digify Africa. She’s since provided digital skills training and social media marketing courses to more than 5 000 small and medium-sized enterprises.
On 21 August, Lekabe hosted a Women in Business Celebration as part of the Kefilwe Tsela Entrepreneurship Academy.
“I envision a world where women receive the respect they deserve for their skills, abilities, contribution, creativity and innovation,” she says. “And especially respect for the impact of their work through recognition, equal pay, opportunities, promotions and growth.”
Her hope is that one day entrepreneurship and business skills will be introduced into schools so that more people are exposed to them from an early age.
The inequality, affordability and accessibility to quality resources, especially digital or technological resources, and a backward education system are not equipping young people with in-demand skills that the current and future labour force need to change.”
Our children are the future of the country, and Lekabe hopes that with this nurtured interest, they become adults with ventures of their own, where they can empower themselves and in turn uplift the South African economy.