Emergent Business and Coding Academy (Ladies in Tech)

We empower youth with 21st century skills and create meaningful opportunities to enable them to become active citizens

Photo of Lusanda Magwape
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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Zipho Falakhe

Initiative's representative date of birth

19 October 1994

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • South Africa

Where are you making a difference?


Website or social media url(s)

www.dreamfactoryfoundation.org, www.facebook.com/dreamfactoryfoundation, Instagram: @dreamfactory_foundation

When was your organisation founded?

November 2011

Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Financial skills and capability
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $50k - $100k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

In 2011, I was actively involved in the community work, particularly in schools that my church in Cape Town was doing at the time. Having come from a great schooling background I was deeply touched by the lack of resources and opportunities that faced young people in these communities; yet they were hungry for change. So I asked a celebrity friend to join me on an inspirational school roadshow to inspire learners to dream beyond their circumstances. We didn't have anything tangible to give at the time, but I was moved by how her celebratory status made the message that she carried even more powerful; she inspired hope in those learners lives. I knew I couldn't stop and as we gained support from others, the organization started to take shape

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

Young black women makeup 49.1% of unemployed South Africans aged 15-34 (StatsSA). These women live in densely populated low-income communities and are the most affected by socio-economic factors such as high crime rates, youth unemployment and early-child pregnancy. We therefore seek to address the lack of skills and knowledge for employment which affects their ability to find formal jobs (Wong:2012) and/or become economically active

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The academy is a six month learnership that trains unemployed youth, particularly young women with business, personal and professional development, job-readiness, coding and digital technologies skills. Throughout the week, these young people advance their Computer Science skills such that at the end of the academy they are competent in working with Wordpress, html & CSS, and javascript. They are able to know how to develop their own website, as well as how to integrate these skills with starting their own business, problem solving and excelling academically. We also offer first-hand job experience in the form of paid internships so that participants can put their skills to work and "pay it forward". We therefore balance skills development with shifting entrepreneurial mindsets. We improve access to basic services by engaging students in innovative, hands-on-technology, skills development, job creation; as well as quality, "up-to-date" and relevant education.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Being the first of its kind in SA, our learning approach is unique and innovative because we use authentic work environments that combine a subject of academic study such as business with its real-world surroundings and activities to improve participants’ academic outcomes and also increase their employability and opportunities to become economically active. We also focus on training participants on digital and computer skills because we strongly feel that being an under-served community, they are often the ones left behind from being equipped and prepared for the 21st century, which further perpetuates unemployment in these communities. This blended approach results in at least 80% of our participants to be economically active post-academy

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

One of the employability related modules we cover on the academy is job-readiness, personal and professional development where we cover topics such as communication (incl verbal and non-verbal, formal v. non-formal), presentation, conflict resolution, to name but a few. Students are given practical simulations where they put these skills to work and are evaluated & given feedback. Business is one of our core subjects where learners tackle real life problems and are given the necessary tools to do so. Developing their entrepreneurial skills gives them adaptability to survive any in market. They are given several opportunities to work in teams to develop their team-working and leadership skills. We believe and research has shown that problem-solving and soft-skills such as people skills are one of the vital skills our participants require in order to survive in the future job market.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

Through the business, personal and professional development, coding and digital technologies courses we develop the following critical skills for the future: creativity, emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication (through constant interaction with their classmates through assignments and general class activities), critical thinking, leadership and technology skills. We measure progress through one-on-one interviews & surveys, completing a business plan where their pitch their idea to a panel of experts for feedback, they also write tests and assignment with 50% expected pass rate

6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health

Participants are responsible to pay at least 10% of the academy fees, and for those who cannot afford, they are provided with loans that are paid back once they start working. This arrangement trains them to place value and priority on their personal development through their finances. Most of them use their money first on bread and butter issues and personal development is never a priority. Yet, through this loan system we strengthen their ability to save, responsibility to pay back and invest in their personal development as a means to secure better income in the future.

6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.

The business course gives learners the opportunity to enhance their financial capabilities. They not only evaluate their business financials but also evaluate their personal finances. They have the opportunity to learn from our financial experts in this regard, where they are challenged on how to prioritize their finances especially in the relation to running and growing their business. Their business plans must include financials, a financial sustainability plan and projects of their sales and expenses. For most of them, this new experience empowers their personal financial management as well

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Most youth development efforts in SA take a one dimensional approach of focusing on either skills development or job placements. We build on this by combining skills development with actual job experience, mentorship and psycho-social support for our learners. For eg. Harambee is an organization that also addresses the issue of youth unemployment by getting youth work-ready & connect them with jobs. We take a more focused approach: reaching young women especially, by empowering them to take agency of their own lives using mentorship, entrepreneurial principles & 21st century skills as enablers

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Since 2018, the academy has trained over 132 unemployed youth, 70% of whom are young women. 80% of them have received economic opportunities in the form of employment, tertiary education and or started their own entrepreneurial initiative. For e.g During the academy, worked on her idea of starting a mobile toilet business. During the academy she developed her business plan which she used to successfully apply for funding to start her business. This video is of one of our students who has become a changemaker: https://bit.ly/2UtGHm9. We have trained over 15 500 youth with coding & digital skills and as such was awarded the 2019 Daily Dispatch Local Heroes Award: https://drive.google.com/open?id=103dsXnlM-tKzMDHD31mJg13DTCtBT-nx. We evaluate impact by the no. of students who complete the curriculum with at least 50% pass rate, submit a business plan & receive an economic opportunity.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Before 2019, 80% of funding was from multi-year donors such as the Learning Trust. However, we recognized that this was not sustainable in the long-term so we implemented the following plan in 2019: a.Charging our students a fee of $25 to cover admin costs. b. Started a social enterprise, Dream Factory Enterprises (DFE) that helps businesses to implement their products in township communities. For eg. we have confirmed a $10 000 contract with Ayoba to market their new App in Cape Town for a 2 month pilot with the potential to be an on-going & national contract. These contracts will fund the project in the long term. c. In the short-medium term our goal is secure another 3 multi-year grants (so far we have secured 2) as DFE grows.

10. Team

Lusanda Magwape, Founder and Executive Director, qualified attorney by profession. Full time Nomfundo Dlangisa, Chief Operating Officer, Qualified Chartered Account. Full time Zipho Falakhe, Projects Manager, Public health behaviourist. Full time Tatenda Ruswa, ICT Officer, Software Programmer. Full time Christelle Atibia, Financial Officer, Bookkeeping. Full time We also have a six member board team. The team will evolve as we include two program facilitators, an M & E and an HR officer

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Race
  • Ethnic group
  • Gender

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

When the apartheid laws which prohibited "blacks" from attending “white” schools were removed, I distinctly remember how my interviewer laughed at my inability to speak English. 5 years later, I would win the English award at that school. My father was convinced that if he could provide me with the best education, it would set me on a successful course in life. I therefore regard it as my moral obligation to play my part in improving the education that the black child esp. young girls receive.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Email

11. Bring it to life: Please walk us through a concrete example of how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address

Pamela is an unemployed 20 year old rape survivor & mother of two who didn't complete her high school. Despite not having any work experience, or a grade 12 certificate, she still qualified to join our academy, which being located in the townships, allowed her to walk to class everyday. Even when no one is available to look after her children, she is able to bring them to class. Through a blended learning approach students learn the basic teachings of each course which made it possible for her to progress and complete the program having been out of school for 3 years. In 3 months, she acquired computer skills without having any prior experience and went from being computer illiterate to being accepted to a paid internship where she is teaching others how to code. She also took advantage of the one-on-one counselling sessions with the social workers where she began her healing journey.

12. Skills Matching: HSBC Employees will have the opportunity to offer skilled-volunteering. If matched, which of the following skills would you be most interested in receiving?

  • Legal Services
  • HR Management
  • Marketing Strategy, Design
  • Brand Development

13. Financial Sustainability – funding breakdown: please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating an estimated percentage that comes from each source.

Individual donations: 1%

Foundation grants: 57%

Corporate contributions: 5%

Earned Income: 37%

14. Financial Sustainability – please tell us more about how you plan to fund and scale your project over the next 12 months.

Our 2020 yearly budget is R3 500 000 and 28% of these funds are committed to the Academy. Another 48% is committed to other projects and the remaining 24% is committed to operations. In terms of the Academy's programmatic costs: 32% are personnel costs, 23% are operational costs, 9% are overhead costs and 36% are capital expenditure based on our efforts to raise funds to purchase a vehicle in 2020. We have secured two multi-year grants with the Allan Gray Philanthropy Initiative and Lemonaid Foundation to the tune of R 1 733 000 from 2020-2022. We have secured a further R150 000 through our contract with Ayoba and have pending applications with Google, the Facebook Accelerator Program, Vodacom, Motorola Foundation and the SAGE Fund to not only cover the remaining R220 000 required for 2020 but to also scale the project by opening the Academy in the Eastern Cape over the next 12 months

15. Growth Strategy: What are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

Through support from the Allan Gray Philanthropy Initiative, we are developing an online platform for the project so that we make our curriculum & parts of our program offering such as access to opportunities freely available to a wider audience beyond those who physically attend classes. Over the next 3 years, our goal is to reach 10 000 youth through the platform, with the first pilot taking place in 2021. Our second strategy is to spread geographically by opening a second branch in the Eastern Cape where we have a team & have identified a physical space where we can run the academy. 

16. Activating changemakers: How are you giving people the power to control their own destiny and support other people to become changemakers in their communities?

The academy develops in them the consciousness to create social enterprises or work with the purpose of improving their communities. For eg a student developed a mobile library in her community which has no library; whilst Aviwe went on to work for an NGO: https://southafrica.inspiringfifty.org/aviwe-funani. The internships provide them the opportunity to "pay it forward' by teaching kids in their communities the computer skills they have learnt. These internships are paid, making it possible to provide financially for themselves & their families; restoring their dignity & self-worth. 

17. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

Awarded the 2018 USAID Young Women Transform Prize & invited as panelists at the GYEO Summit (USA); Daily Dispatch Local Heroes Award; the Facebook Community Leaders Program Fellowship; (in partnership with Global Shapers) the #WeSeeEqual Challenge: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1B5YGyFsXctRQjuEYvZvVyzJn1pUvaaoC; and selected to attend the WISE Summit and won the Pitch it! Competition.


18. Tell us about how collaborations and partnerships would enhance the scalability and impact of your project

In-kind donations (venues, expertise etc,) through partners such as Allan Gray have reduced our programmatic costs. In 2019 we successfully collaborated with fhi360 to train 40 youth in KZN & JHB; which enabled us to scale to other regions without having to do the ground work ourselves.  Through collaborations & partnerships we would therefore grow geographically, reduce costs & improve the quality of our project

Finally - Your Selfie Elevator Pitch: Share a 1-minute video that shares a quick summary of the problem you would like to solve, how you’ve chosen to solve it, and the impact you hope to see.

Selfie Elevator Pitch video link: https://youtu.be/5DeStOy8-io

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation:

Yes, absolutely! - 100%

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2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

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No - 0%

3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

Yes, absolutely! - 100%

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No - 0%

4. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

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Yes, absolutely! - 100%

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6. FEEDBACK: Highlights

IMPACT POTENTIAL: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) – and you have a concrete plan for future impact. You have specific tools for measuring impact. - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful solutions - 50%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work operationally and financially in the present and future; your plan is specific and you value sustainability. - 50%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You have a good plan on how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 100%

Other option - 50%

7. FEEDBACK: Areas for Improvement

IMPACT POTENTIAL: make sure to provide specific instances of your social impact (or how you plan to measure impact) – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, the main activities/products, and provide evidence of (or plan for) impact evaluation - 0%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: make sure to describe how your solution is unique and innovative – it is helpful to include the research you have done on past solutions and how your solution is different from (and/or builds upon) these. - 0%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 100%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: make sure you describe your plan for how to empower others to become changemakers through your programming, service, or product - 0%

WRITING STYLE. Try to be concise, descriptive, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 100%

Other option - 0%


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