Alumni feature: Skhulile “SK” Ndlovu
Meet, team player and business leader Skhulile “SK” Ndlovu, Alumnus from Enactus University of KwaZulu-Natal. He enrolled at UKZN for a B.Com. Degree at the age of 16 and knew that his entrepreneurship aspirations were bigger than obtaining a qualification. According to him, winning alone is not winning. He defines a won battle as championing issues together as a team. Skhulile is a full-time entrepreneur and founder of Encore Real Estate.
Motto: “We must live a purpose-driven life. Success is not reserved for certain individuals, everyone has greatness instilled within them and sometimes it may require you to risk-it-all to have-it-all.”
Skhulile was born in KwaZulu-Natal from a family that is very much involved in agriculture, and is farming with sugarcane, maize and other crops. SK tells: “My grandparents had deep respect for the soil that translated to the respect extended to the workers they hired.” This is where he learnt the concept of “sowing, having patience for growth, and harvesting” as well as the importance of understanding seasons in every aspect of one’s life. It is during these humble beginnings where he got exposed to entrepreneurship as he took on several administrative responsibilities. Some of these included helping them placing orders, counting stock and assisting in the fields. All this contributed to him developing a heart for community development.
SK enrolled at the University of KwaZulu-Natal for a B.Com degree at the age of 16. From the first class he attended, he knew that he was not cut to just attend lectures, read and write exams, but that he had much bigger entrepreneurship aspirations. As an avid reader, he was mostly interested in reading about people who crafted their success stories at university level – from the business ideas that started in the university residences to business partners that met through group assignments. That’s what kept him going.
However, he was actively looking for an organization that would help him fulfill his dreams. He was introduced to Enactus in 2007 by a lady who sat next to him in a bus to campus. Since Enactus combined business and community development activities, it didn’t ask for much persuasion for him to join Enactus.
He became an Assistant Project Manager in the “Learn Entrepreneurship Challenge (LEC)” Project which was focusing on entrepreneurship at High School level. In 2009, he advanced to join the Executive Team as Head of Research. SK was a dedicated and exemplary leader. This ensured his position and he was appointed to be the International Relations Manager during the 2010 program year. It was during this period that he helped to establish a partnership with the Enactus Swaziland Team where he coordinated a successful entrepreneurship project.
LESSONS AND SKILLS GAINED THROUGH ENACTUS:
He has a passion for the work Enactus does because of the practical component if offered to him to enhance his studies. In the Enactus programme he faced many challenges which was one of the reasons that made him excited to be part of the organization.
SK took on many different roles during his student years that were interlinked with the effective functioning of teams. As a student, Enactus taught him to level up with his peers and excel in his studies. Secondly, he gained good people, social and communication skills as he was working with community members. He had to be humble and reliable because beneficiaries are transferring their hopes into the hands of the team.
Additionally, he mentions gaining leadership, professionalism skills and the ability to be attentive to detail through networking with CEO’s and Executives from big sponsoring companies. Lastly, he was a leader to his fellow team members where he had to be in a position to be easily accessible and clearly channel the organization’s vision. Other skills he acquired are the ability to work under pressure and being solution-orientated.
MEMORABLE ENACTUS MOMENTS:
One of his most significant memories is the unity his team possessed. “We used to live like a family and we were super close to each other”, says SK. He fondly remembers how the team used to love singing. They would sing in the taxi to project sites, during their preparatory camps and national competitions. He treasures how Ubuntu naturally unfolded itself during an Agriculture project site visit in uMbumbulu. His team started singing with the women who were part of the Cooperative, and before they knew, the whole community joint in, singing along and it became a huge celebration. “We were very connected with the beneficiaries of the projects and community members,” he said.
He mentions having countless memorable Enactus moments including travel opportunities and networking platforms which were overwhelming. In 2010, the KZN Minister of Finance: Ms Ina Cronje honoured the teams’ invitation with her presence at their fundraising seminar themed “2010 and beyond.”
SK highlights that Enactus has been very instrumental in his career from the first job after his graduation. As he worked for HSBC Bank which was sponsoring the organization. He met with CEO of the bank in 2011 at the Enactus World Cup in Malaysia when Enactus UKZN was representing South Africa. And that paved a way for him to join another global investment bank, UBS Investment Bank until the day he decided to end his corporate career and focus on building his own venture.
LIFE AFTER ENACTUS:
SK is an Entrepreneur and founder of Encore Real Estate which is a leading boutique real estate brokerage firm. His company provides property solutions for buyers, sellers, rentals, property management to name a few.
Furthermore, he is involved in various other ventures: Ilitha Agricultural Engineering and Business which is a joint venture he started with his friends. It focuses on agricultural equipment supplies and the advisory services on the Agribusiness. Additionally, SK facilitates international trade transactions (imports and exports) at Africa Trade Advisory. Lastly, he also assists his friend Sethu Sidzamba (also an Enactus UKZN Alumnus) to service Gauteng market with Wa Azania Aroma.
“Enactus gave me endless opportunities. E.g. I am currently advising in committees for prestigious organizations. And even in my business, I still apply some of the principles learnt and networks that I made through Enactus.” says Skhulile.
Website : http://encorerealestate.kwsa.co.za
Facebook: Encore Real Estate – KW
Offices: Sandton, Johannesburg (but operate all over SA)