Nhlakanipho Ndwandwe, winner of BASA’s Debut Online competition, tells us about his journey with the programme, which aims to equip young emerging creatives with skills, funding and training to make a profitable livelihood from their talents.
This year is the second iteration of the Debut Programme, which was set up to contribute to the development and support of creative business ventures through skills exchange and knowledge sharing. Of the 137 participants – known as Artpreneurs – who successfully completed the programme, 120 have launched their business ventures online. The programme is partnered by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and is supported by Yoco.
We asked Nhlakanipho Ndwandwe more about his journey with the programme, and what the future holds for him as a young emerging artist.
Firstly, congratulations on winning the Debut Online competition. Introduce yourself to the readers – who is Nhlakanipho Ndwandwe?
I am a young emerging Artpreneur from Ceza. I am the founder of the Amanene Group, an all-format printing company and a co-founder of Greatwolf clothing company. I am a passionate young person who is willing to learn new skills and develop the art industry through innovative skill-based art.
You recently graduated from the Debut Programme. Tell us about your journey, and some of the important skills you have learnt, which will help you sustain your creative business?
It was not easy to adapt to online distance-learning but, eventually, I got used to the cycle of work. One of the tangible skills I learnt was to create websites, which has immeasurably helped with the operations of the business and improved my business profile. The marketing tools we learnt about are also helping the Amanene Group to compete with other established businesses.
Reflecting on the Debut Programme, how has it helped you as a creative, and what have been some of your personal highlights?
Firstly, I would like to extend my gratitude to the BASA and the Debut Programme team for this great opportunity to uplift my business. With the start-up grant, I was able to buy more equipment, as well as a brand-new computer and printers. I also benefitted academically. I now have the knowledge and skills to keep my business alive during this pandemic.
You can now officially be called an ‘Artpreneur’. What does this mean to you?
Yes! You can call me an Artpreneur! Being an Artpreneur means taking your creative idea and making it economically efficient and effective by bringing your uniqueness to your business and distinguishing the service to your customers. I am an Artpreneur because I am now able to contribute to the creative sector.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced as an Artpreneur during the pandemic?
The main challenge I faced during Covid-19 was how the government’s poor and inconsiderate administration excluded us from the mainstream economy. The art industry was almost victimised; many artists who rely on their works to produce an income lost customers and their monthly turnover dropped due to lockdown. My business nearly collapsed as people were unable to access places.
What advice would you give to fellow emerging artists?
I wish to tell them that it’s not only about making a profit, but it’s about providing solutions to your customers and the market at large, and that branding and the reputation of your business venture will determine the success and failure of your business. Let’s wake up and promote skill-based education through art and self-employment.
Where can people find out more about you and your business?
- Facebook: Nhlakanipho chillicy Madubula
- Instagram: Nhlaka_Madubula
- Facebook: Great Wolf Clothing
- Instagram: Great Wolf Clothing