Nineteen-year-old Nkosana Mafico has achieved more than what most people ten years his senior have.
Studying a Bachelor of Business Management at The University of Queensland, Nkosana has co-founded an online educational tool, received grants to further his career in business, and participated and won awards in entrepreneurial conferences overseas.
One of his recent achievements has been receiving the Brisbane Council Lord Mayor’s Budding Entrepreneurs Grant through his involvement with PeeP (Phonetic English Edutainment Platform) Digital.
This will allow him to travel to Silicon Valley on a trip organised by Gold Coast incubator Silicon Lakes.
Prior to receiving the grant, as a university student with a part time job, Nkosana said he did not have the means to travel to San Francisco.
“As a university student, I only have a part time job at Sumo Salad, so I’m making around $180 a week and I just couldn’t afford it. It wasn’t feasible.
“The grant will allow me to go to San Francisco which I think is a once in a lifetime experience. Silicon Valley is like the Mecca for entrepreneurs. It’s the place you’d want to go – it’s like home – so I’m really glad I’ll be able to go,” he said.
PeeP Digital is an intelligent platform that simplifies the international phonetics system and makes learning English pronunciation easier and faster.
This business venture is in line with Nkosana’s advocacy, Africapitalism.
“Africapitalism is a philosophy that represents the private sector’s commitment to the development of Africa through long term investments that generate both social and economic wealth."
It has guided my actions from the point I read about it onwards.”
Born in Zimbabwe, Nkosana has witnessed the advantages that being able to speak English brings.
“Coming from Zimbabwe to Australia eleven years ago, my ability to speak English well has enabled me to thrive here.”
Nkosana, together with his business partner Nicholas Jenkins, has been working on introducing PeeP Digital to the global market in the past few months.
They have recently travelled to China and Singapore, attending entrepreneurial conferences and looking for potential distributors.
“The guy we’re looking at partnering up with was actually a speaker at the conference we attended in China. We met up with him, his Chief Product Officer, and his Chief Technological Officer to show them our app.
“He said ‘look, we’re very interested. This looks fantastic and would have a big potential in China’,” Nkosana shared.
They were also able to meet a private investor from Singapore.
“We just happened to be at the right place at the right time. We were actually late to the event that we attended, but our friends were already there so we decided to just go and demo our product.
“Suddenly this short man just started looking at our product. He was on his way out but saw us and we just started talking. Now, we’re just in the process of finalising it with him,” Nkosana said.
Aside from working on PeeP Digital, Nkosana is an active member of several student organisations.
He currently holds the position of Director of Business Development at AIESEC UQ and is a Sponsorship Executive for this year’s Global Innovative Youth Conference.
Nkosana also believes that networking plays a big part in helping him achieve his goals.
“Studying Business at UQ has allowed me to network with other young individuals who I know are going to be successful in the future.
“It has allowed me to build those connections which will be mutually beneficial in the future.”