Creating a Pathway to Success - from Unemployed to Entrepreneur

"I felt like I was at a place where I not only belonged, but I was surrounded by people who just wanted to see me succeed!"

Ibraaheem Garda from Johannesburg, South Africa is 25 and lives with epilepsy. Earlier this year, he found himself let go from his job due to his condition leaving him feeling frustrated and powerless.

Around this time, his sister told him about the Z Zurich Foundation and JA Africa entrepreneurship training and support program. The timing couldn’t have been better. He immediately applied and was accepted. While further researching the program and what it entailed, his excitement only grew.

A mix of nerves on his first day of training, Ibraaheem found himself being challenged and taken out of his comfort zone during the sessions. The energy and vibe from the program and the facilitators themselves left him in awe. He says, “I felt like I was at a place where I not only belonged, but I was surrounded by people who just wanted to see me succeed!”

Life today looks and feels very different for Ibraaheem. He’s moving forward with his future plans, empowered by what he’s learned. Working to address the country’s energy crisis, he’s proposed an innovative solution which uses movement to produce kinetic energy. Whenever you move, you produce energy. “As we speak, Energy On The Move (Pty) Ltd is an official company! Now we continue the phases of the business/product which is design, create, market, fund and finally launch”.

Where previously Ibraaheem felt it seemed impossible that he could ever have his own business, his experiences with JA have helped him to recognize that he has the capability, courage and will power to achieve whatever he sets his mind to.

Ibraaheem is one of more than 3,000 young people currently enrolled in JA Africa’s entrepreneurship and training program, which has three stages:

  • Bootcamps - three-day intensive face-to-face entrepreneurship training
  • JA Deep - three-month virtual business development and support training, where teams and individuals further develop their business ideas
  • Social enterprise development and business mentorship.

These programs are crucial to bridging the unemployment gap by preparing young people with the resilience, problem-solving and critical social skills needed to develop their ideas into successful employment opportunities for themselves and others. Over the next three years, the Z Zurich Foundation, together with JA Africa aims to positively impact the lives of 550,000 young people in nine countries.