Just like feedback, reflection is the breakfast of champions! It enables one to track the steps they took towards the success they have achieved, and it helps them to identify gaps that they overlooked on their way to success. Thus, helping them to plan better for the future so they can replicate the success. Catching-up with previous Eurydice Acceleration programme participants who are also Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) students, Mr Aphiwe Sogiba and Siphiwe Mkwanazi reflected on their lives post the acceleration programme that took place at Limmasol, in Cyprus. They shared their learnings, observations and successes post the programme that made them traverse Europe.
Now employed as a Process Controller at the Coca Cola Beverages water processing plant, Mr Aphiwe Sogiba testifies that he landed the appointment as a result of his participation in the Eurydice Acceleration program. Coca Cola Beverages head-hunted him upon seeing his participation in a BRICS youth programme whereby he received an invitation because of the product idea he presented in the Eurydice Acceleration Programme. He shares that his life after the Eurydice Acceleration has changed drastically, because he now views business and product development in a different light as he interacted with various experts within the renewable energy sector whilst a participant in the programme. Moreso, he now understands the importance of collaboration for business and product growth, as he has identified that he requires extra hands to make his Solar Chlorinator product a success. Similarly, he emphasizes how much his views on product development and renewable energy have been enhanced and his business acumen sharpened. He expresses the importance of honing the skill to pitch ideas to investors and various stakeholders who show interest in a product or idea. Also, he pontificates how crucial it is for entrepreneurs to be relevant in their own contexts by ensuring that they sell solutions that solve problems within their communities – as his deals with water processing using renewable energy such as solar power.
With Mr Siphiwe Mkwanazi, enterprise development activities and networking with several business leaders who shared their start-up experiences is an embedded memory that continues to fuel his drive for entrepreneurship to date. As a result, he continues to participate in entrepreneurship training programs that promote collaboration with students from other universities such as a Technological Higher Education Network South Africa (THENSA) training he recently attended in Cape Town. Since his participation in the acceleration programme, Siphiwe has continued to live a busy life that includes pitching his business ideas to various stakeholders around the world as he recently did for a multinational corporation based in Poland. His medium-term plan for his business in the South African economy includes but is not to driving job creation, innovation, international trade partnerships and skills development or transfer for those entrepreneurs who have not had a similar privilege of travelling the world like he has. Like Aphiwe, Siphiwe states that his communication of ideas has changed, and he can adapt to entrepreneurial environments like his fellow colleagues he participated in the programme with. As expected, Siphiwe points out that in the next five years he plans to run a sustainable renewable energy enterprise that will contribute immensely to the lives of young people in South Africa and their families. He expresses his gratitude to the Centre for Global Engagements (CGE) for disseminating information about the Eurydice competition that exposed him to multiple opportunities to grow and sustain his business.