CEO of Nunnovation Africa Foundation Ngwako Lethabo Ramohlale

Jurie Potgieter
Jurie Potgieter

CEO of Nunnovation Africa Foundation Ngwako matriculated from the National School of Arts and obtained her BA degree in Graphic Design in 2009. She knew she didn’t want to work for anyone so she started her own business, Deutor, after graduating. The company specialised in design and branding, which led her to start Nunnovation.

How did you get into the ICT space?

While running Deutor, I was nominated for many awards and I was selected to be a South African G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance delegate in Moscow in 2013. I met more than 400 entrepreneurs from 20 countries who inspired my new passion for technology. Younger people were doing amazing things in the tech space. I decided I didn’t want to be just a graphic designer because there was more out there. I love the power of making your own money– you can achieve anything and do your own thing.

What inspired the business?

When I came back from Moscow, I approached Khathu Mashau, a master’s graduate in Innovation for us to start Nunnovation. We felt that global media focused only on the dark parts of Africa. So we started a free online magazine in 2014 to allow us to tell the good stories out of Africa. We focused on innovation – when researching these stories, we discovered that the solutions coming out of the continent weren’t for fun but to curb social ills. The magazine gained popularity and soon we were invited to countries like Germany and France to tell the stories ourselves.

How was it starting out?

 At first, there wasn’t a lot of money coming in. This is why we ended up delving into the training aspect of the company. We never applied for funding or start-up capital; we used our own resources to get the project off the ground. But we’ve been rewarded tenfold because we’re passionate about this.

What have been the challenges in the tech space?

There were tough times, but I call them “rich man problems”. Besides the capital, we didn’t really have proper journalist skills to write and edit the stories ourselves so we had to learn on the job. We also had to learn how to work around server crashes, the analytics, social media management and basically running a magazine.

How has the reception been like?

We got a contract from the City of Johannesburg to train digital interns for six months and find them employment. We’ve also teamed up with the Telkom Foundation to teach township kids in Pretoria and Soweto how to build mobile apps, be able to code and develop critical thinking skills. Our mission is to inform, educate and inspire the youth through the various programmes we are running.
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