Jane Nkadimang on her company that’s changing lives

Founder of Omang Training & Development Jane Nkadimang has provided thousands of people in rural communities with training and access to technology

Nkadimang founded her company in 2010 with the aim of giving people in remote communities the opportunity to learn how to use technology to improve their circumstances and gain better access to employment opportunities.

The company has established Emang Technology Centres, designed specifically for communities without infrastructure, which serve as internet cafés and training centres where students are taught work-life skills, computer literacy and entrepreneurship. They also have strategic partnerships with local community centres across the different provinces.

“Our approach is to develop a number of unemployed youth from local villages or townships into facilitators and have them facilitate training to the broader community,” says Nkadimang.  “This model ensures that not only do we bring much needed training and internet services to the community, but that we also foster employment.”

Building a business

Nkadimang started Omang with her personal savings and provident fund after years of working in corporate. The biggest challenge she faced in the early days was obtaining training accreditation status.

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“At the time the process was very convoluted and cumbersome. However, with persistence and our willingness to cooperate, people become more amiable and they naturally become part of the solution,” she says.

Today, Omang has a team of five full-time staff and six part-time facilitators and has provided training to some 5 000 people across the country.

“Obtaining a certificate verifying our learners’ computer skills renders people more employable, and for those with aspirations to become entrepreneurs, online research and the ability to type a business proposal becomes essential for their start-up. It’s these economic opportunities we hope our training interventions will open up for our learners,” says Nkadimang.

Fulfilling a dream

Nkadimang’s innate business savvy and tenacity have led her company to be appointed as one of the training providers for the Jozi@Work programme, which supports the development of informal businesses from local townships in City of Johannesburg.

“We are also proud to have had a multinational such as Barloworld Group be the first company to believe in our vision of developing local facilitators to serve within their communities. And Investec recently offered us the opportunity to visit Finland where we met other edutech entrepreneurs making change across the globe,” she says.

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Nkadimang adds that the Omang Group is 100% black female-owned, which provides the company with a competitive edge. “On a societal level, it reminds us that women can contribute significantly to the economy, and that they should be given the opportunity to realise their dreams and be part of addressing societal challenges.”

Future plans

Nkadimang plans to launch four more mobile technology centres in 2017 and she is in the process of expanding her offering to include foundational learning programmes such as literacy, numeracy and ABET in order to up-skill learners who would otherwise not qualify to apply for learnerships or be accepted into an FET college.

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“We are also on a drive to develop other social entrepreneurs who will own and run their own Emang Technology Centres in their respective villages,” concludes Nkadimang.

Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • Stay true to your cause even when faced with tough economic times. This is what leads you to being even more resourceful and it forces you to improve on your business model and service offerings.
  • Know who you truly are, live with conviction, and don’t let anyone deter you from your dream!