“I was investing in myself.” Andile is 21 years old and has started two of his own businesses in less than a year after enrolling in the Amy Foundation’s Hospitality programme. 

Andile grew up in Philippi, a township known for its agricultural development, and worked hard in grade school to matriculate in 2019. 27.3% of people in Western Cape are unemployed and it is incredibly difficult to find a job without years of experience or wealthy connections. A friend of Andile’s and a graduate of the Amy Foundation’s hospitality programme now employed at the Protea Hotel told Andile that if he “was looking for a job, [he] should go to the Amy Foundation.” Andile took his advice, sent in his CV, and was accepted and enrolled in the hospitality programme in January 2020. 

COVID-19 quickly forced South Africa into a complete lockdown, and Andile was only a few weeks away from completing the hospitality programme when everything shut down. Confined to his home, Andile refused to wait for something to change. He knew from his time at the Amy Foundation that in order to succeed he had to find and make his own opportunities. 

“When you do something that people don’t want to do…that’s where you make the money.” Andile looked for problems in his community that he could create profitable solutions to, and in May he started A&A Cleaning Services with his partner and friend Axolile. They wash bins and occasionally carpets, mattresses, and couches, and operate every Monday in Philippi. Despite the challenges of lockdown, Andile has defied the odds and has grown his business to include nine new employees, and washes over 70 bins every Monday. He plans to expand his business to new areas and times in 2021. 

One business isn’t enough for Andile, and in October 2020 he started his second business selling gasoline cylinders to his community. He started the business after noticing that there was nowhere in his neighborhood to buy the cylinders and people were forced to pay for transport as well as the gasoline. Andile now sells the gasoline locally and offers free transport to his clients’ homes. 

It isn’t just Andile’s life that has completely changed over the past year. With his new income, he is able to offer support to his family and buy them food, providing financial stability as well as pride in their son and his success. Andile’s nine employees can do the same, supporting their families through the COVID pandemic. 

Andile joined the YSD programme at the Amy Foundation with the expectation that he would simply be getting training in hospitality. He got that and more, receiving entrepreneurial coaching that helped him start two businesses and create a rippling positive effect throughout his community. Andile has taken the Amy Foundation’s motto to heart and is doing exactly that: changing lives. 

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