EC student makes success of business after NSFAS funding challenges

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More young people are venturing into business to beat unemployment and poverty. Sakhe Mcetywa is a third-year Bachelor of Science and Chemistry student at Walter Sisulu University. He started his own business after battling financially when his National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding was blocked.

Mcetywa says he did not want to drop out of university but rather to use the knowledge he is acquiring as a science student to make a living.

Some graduates still face unemployment and the harsh realities of poverty. Mcetywa manufactures a product to clean sneakers. After struggling financially, he founded Omani industries and wants to grow it while still at university so that when he graduates he will be able to source funds.

“My NSFAS funding got blocked due to an error that the institution had made. NSFAS agents kept telling me this was not their problem it was the institution’s problem and they couldn’t do anything unless the institution could fix their error. I would consult offices, SRC and no one was willing to help. That lead to me sleeping on an empty stomach some days and I would tell my friends to help out. I finally got the courage to open up to my friends and tell them that I’m suffering, it’s hard,” says Mcetywa.

Mcetywa says the support he received from students empowered him to enlarge his business.

“I actually started distributing my product within campus premises and students were very supportive on social media since it’s where I conduct most of my marketing, they pushed my product on social media they pushed my posts. It got to a point where people from other provinces started to notice this product and they started taking orders as a matter of fact I’ve done deliveries to every province in South Africa except Limpopo,” says Mcetywa.

A PhD student at the university, Nwuli Odieka, applauds Mcetywa for his work.

“I wanna commend him because I see that in the future he’s going to be a production chemist. It’s good to see what you are doing in the laboratory, it’s good you see the projectile and for it to be effective is another addition,” says Odieka.

Mcetywa’s mother, Nokuthula Mcetywa, says they are supporting his idea.

“I am so happy with what he’s doing. I was not expecting him to be doing what he’s doing at this stage. We are supporting him, we are happy with what he’s doing and we wish he can grow in this,” says Nokthula.

Mcetywa says he has approached the National Youth Development Agency for funding but he was told there is no money and he should apply in the next financial year.